Thursday, September 20, 2012
Who's a Diva?
So I've been lucking around and some of the comments I've seen directed at Marina Sirtis for how she behaves at conventions are... preposterous. Let me preface this this with a little disclaimer. I don't know Marina Sirtis personally. I have spent maybe four hours of my life in her company, total. I'll relay the total of my experience with her in a bit. For now, I want to talk about some of the reactions I've seen to her at conventions and on the internet, and why it's a terrible idea to expect actors, when you meet them, to be their characters.
Let's face it, for as much as I love and adore the character of Demona, the vast majority of the people who go to see Marina Sirtis at a convention are going there to see the actor who played Deanna Troi. As we all know, Troi was, for all intents and purposes, written as the nicest character in the universe. She was the ship's councelor, the one people went to with their problems, the empath, the one with a bottomless well of compassion and understanding. I tend to suspect that some fans expect Marina Sirtis to be this person, but no real life human being is that person.
Let's take a look at the video that inspired some of these comments:
As you can see, in real life, Marina Sirtis is very outspoken and opinionated, very fiery. There are a lot of words you can use to describe her now iconic character, but "fiery" is not one of them. But, being a very outspoken and opinionated guy myself, I find her attitude at conventions to be refreshing, charming and a hell of a lot of fun. She speaks her mind and she doesn't take crap. I admire that in a woman. Hell, I admire that in anyone. And really, what has she said or done that is wrong? I can think of only one answer: she did not act like Troi. But that makes me happy, I've found the real Marina to be far more interesting than the iconic character she played. But, I like spitfires.
I've met her twice, and... if you go in expecting her to be Deanna Troi, you're going to be in for disappointment, or a shock, or both. She has a quick wit, and a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor. She is also very opinionated and outspoken. I have heard her admit that she has much more in common with Demona, the villain she voiced on "Gargoyles" than she does with Troi (but notice that I never assumed she was a genocidal lunatic who spreads her massive amounts of guilt to everybody else in the world). That being said, being someone with a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor myself... we both got along quite well and chatted for a good five minutes while the line kept forming behind me. Eventually, I was the one who said "good-bye" ... mostly because I didn't want to get lynched by the people behind me. But we got along very well. That was the first time I met her.
The second time I met her was at the final Gathering of the Gargoyles. Without getting into specifics, we were a small convention. Much smaller than the ones she usually goes to, as such our war chest was less opulent. But, she was still nice enough to make the trip out to spend her day with us. She didn't have to do that, and we had a great time at our little soiree and had what I've heard was one of her few convention experiences where she could walk the floor into the art gallery without being mobbed by fans who don't understand the definition of boundaries. Another con-staffer and I volunteered to be her security while she was at the con, and we both got to chat with her. I even had the chance to eat lunch with her that day, and yeah... sarcastic, sharp, opinionated. But always with the purpose of being funny and entertaining. Not for ruining anyone's day. And never, not once, did she ever give a look or impression that she did not want to be there. In fact, when she left, her only regret was that she didn't come to our convention sooner. I thought she was a lovely woman. A lot of fun to spend time with, and never boring. She's someone I could easily see myself being close friends with if given the chance.
So, when you meet an actor. When you have a chance to see an actor live, keep this in mind... they are not their character. They will never be their character. You are getting a glimpse at who they really are. Don't act shocked when they are different. If they have a sense of humor that you don't share, do not assume they are being mean. Yes, like every other human being on the planet, they can have their bad days... but I doubt they go to these things to ruin anyone's day. If they hated interacting with fans, they flat out wouldn't go... plenty of people don't go and won't go. But if your problem is that she is an outspoken an opinionated woman then you are the one with terrible issues, not her.
Marina, if by any chance you ever stumble across this. You're a class act. Keep being yourself, because you're a fun, lively and lovely individual.