The Biking Life of Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia HelferThe Sci-Fi bombshell talks on the love of fans and her addiction of the open road.
Before a modeling scout discovered her in a movie theater in her native Alberta; before she played the sexy Cylon Number Six on Battlestar Galactica, Tricia Helfer was a farm girl who rode ATVs and tractors.
The love for motorized things never waned as she built a TV and film career that includes the new series Powers, on the Playstation Network. When she met her motorcycle nut husband, she quickly wanted to move from riding on the back to controlling the bike.
Helfer found a kindred spirit in Battlestar co-star and friend Katee Sackhoff, and the two have been riding ever since, often together for their charity organization, Acting Outlaws. Their 2,500-mile adventure on a pair of BMW R1200GS motorcycles from Los Angeles to Louisiana in 2010 to raise money for the Gulf Restoration Network was turned into a documentary film, Acting Outlaws: The LA La Ride.
THE RED BULLETIN: What do you like about riding?
TRICIA HELFER: The freedom of it; of course, you can just get in the car and go as well, but there’s a very visceral feeling to riding. Because when you’re driving in a car you have to have the window open or whatever, but you feel much more connected when you’re on a bike and openly riding with friends. It’s like you all have your shared experience, but you also have your own unique experience. If you’re riding in the car with a friend and you stop to have lunch somewhere, you generally don’t talk about the ride really that much.
But when you’re riding, half the lunch you spend, “Did you see that, did you feel that, did you have that bump in the road?” It’s something that you have to be hyper aware of because obviously it’s something quite dangerous. So you have to be focused, but yet you can let your mind just sort of drift in one way. I find it very therapeutic in a way because it’s a bit of a de-stresser. You can think about things, you can take in the beauty of where you’re riding, but you have to also be hyper-focused. It’s a hard feeling to describe, but it is addictive. And most people that ride find it addictive.
What’s it been like interacting with other riders on the open road?
What Katee and I were taken in by when we started riding—which was part of what started Acting Outlaws—was how motorcycle enthusiasts get a bad rap. But at the same time, they come from all walks of life. So it’s a grouping of people—especially at any motorcycle stop-off place or restaurant where a lot of bikers go—from all different walks of life sharing the experience. You get to talk to people that you might not necessarily get to meet. And it also tends to be a very charitable group of people. There’s a lot of motorcycle rides for charities and toy drives and things like that. And that’s how Acting Outlaws got started. We were inspired by the motorcycle culture and the giving culture of motorcyclists.
What’s your bucket list must-ride motorcycle route that you haven’t done yet?
I would like to go all the way across Canada. I think it would be an exceptional ride, a very long ride, but an exceptional ride.
What do you like about playing strong female characters like Powers FBI Special Agent Lange?
It’s not just playing strong female characters; it’s playing a character. And the fun part of being an actor is getting to play all different types of characters. But of course you tend to get the ones that fall into your lap that maybe suit your type or thing. Because I’m tall and fairly strong myself, I gravitate to those types of roles. Of course, I enjoy playing them because it’s important to show something of role models, especially for young girls.
How have you seen playing characters in shows such as Powers and Battlestar Gallactica help generate awareness the Acting Outlaws over the years?
With Powers and Battlestar, they’re making crossover fans of the genres. There are some very loyal fans who appreciate people trying to do good, and that’s what Acting Outlaws is all about. What Katee Sackoff and myself do with Acting Outlaws is just try and help out and do what we can, and also do something that we love while doing it. It’s just very nice for Katee and I to see that people have followed us and paid attention and donate when they can. For example, we were just in Seattle in a booth in the middle of April benefiting the Seattle Humane Society and there were so many Battlestar fans that had came out to support and help make the event a success. It’s a really heartwarming thing to see, and you very much appreciate it.