Woman of Interest: Kate Mulgrew

The OITNB actress opens up about her writing, her fantasy talent and giving back

by David Hutchings
kate mulgrew
Photograph: Eric Guillemais

She plays Red in Netflix’s hit Orange Is the New Black (season two debuted June 6). Red is like me in that she has a real need to survive in a world that has presented her with a crooked path.

The Star Trek: Voyager star is writing a memoir. I’ve always been a closet writer and kept copious journals. My life’s been rich in drama and trauma since an early age.

Dream team: I grew up the eldest daughter of parents who were creative, eccentric and ambitious in a fascinating way. I knew from an early age that I was expected to head out into an artistic world. When I look back at photos of me, I’m not smiling. I’m scheming every inch of the way.

Captain’s crunch: Playing the first female captain of a starship in Star Trek: Voyager was life changing. But there was a catch-22: I was divorced with two young sons, and I just wasn’t there for them. I’m glad I helped break the glass ceiling for women, but I did it at a price.

Finding Mr. Right again: My mother introduced me to my second husband, Timothy Hagan. It was instant love. One look at this guy made me know there really is a God.

Giving back: After my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she lived for nine harrowing years. She wanted me to help her “put out the light,” but that was something I couldn’t do. Now I volunteer my time speaking about the disease and raising money for research.

Her fantasy talent: If someone said to me, “You’ll wake up tomorrow and be able to play the piano, but in exchange you have to give me all your money,” I’d happily give up every cent I have.

Next: Woman of Interest: Alicia Silverstone

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First published in the June 2014 issue

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