Tricia Helfer is a Canadian model turned actress who has developed her resume beyond the catwalk to include a diverse array of roles, highlighting her versatile and natural screen presence. Best known as the face of the series, and for her Leo award-winning lead performance as the humanoid, Cylon ‘Number Six’ in the critically acclaimed SyFy series, “Battlestar Galactica,” written and produced by Ronald D. Moore, Helfer has gone on to book leading and guest roles on a wide variety of networks.
On the horizon, Helfer will soon play the lead in the Syfy channel’s new original miniseries “Ascension.” Created by Smallville’s Phillip Levens and produced by Blumhouse Productions in conjunction with Lionsgate, the series centers on a US Government covert space mission to populate a new world. Helfer will play Viondra Denniger, a manipulative and dangerous power broker aboard the Ascension. The series is set to premiere on December 15, 2015.
Most recently Helfer was the lead in executive producer Sofia Vergara’s ABC series, “Killer Women,” which debuted in January 2014. The series follows beautiful badass Molly Parker (Helfer), in the notorious Texas Rangers frontier patrol, as she pursues justice despite being embroiled in a continuous fight for her peers’ respect.
Born in Donalda, Alberta, Canada, Helfer launched her modeling career at age 17, and erupted into an international superstar after winning the Ford Models’ Supermodel of the World Contest in 1992. Her modeling credits include appearances in high-end ad campaigns for Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Givenchy, and Dolce & Gabbana as well as covers for national publications such as ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Flare and Vogue.
In 2002, Helfer turned her focus to acting, moving to Los Angeles and quickly earning a guest star spot on the second season finale of “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation.” The following year she earned her break with “Battlestar Galactica,” achieving a remarkably fast and successful transition into acting. During her hiatus from “Battlestar Galactica,” Helfer portrayed the legendary Farrah Fawcett in NBC’s film, “Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie’s Angels.” She furthered expanded her portfolio by starring as ‘Stephanie Jacobs’ opposite Dennis Hopper and Billy Zane in the independent feature “Memory,” and later starred alongside LeeLee Sobieski in another independent, “Walk All Over Me,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Her upcoming film “Authors Anonymous” is pending release information.
Helfer returned to the small-screen in 2008, joining the cast of the USA Network’s hit series, “Burn Notice” for a multi-episode arc. The next year she filmed recurring guest spots on the award-winning CBS comedy, “Two and a Half Men,” while appearing on Fox’s crime shows “Chuck,” and “Lie to Me.” In 2010, Helfer booked a ten-episode arc on Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Dark Blue,” starring opposite Dylan McDermott and appeared again at the Toronto International Film Festival in the film, “A Beginner’s Guide to Endings,” with Harvey Keitel, Scott Caan, and JK Simmons.
During this period, Helfer also did prolific voiceover work in mega-hit video game franchises, playing the roles of Commander Veronica Dare in Halo: ODST, EDI in Mass Effect 2 and 3, Sarah Kerrigan in Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, for which she won the 2010 VGA for Best Performance by a Human Female, as well as in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. She also showcased her voice talent in animated productions, “Green Lantern: First Flight,” a Cartoon Network TV movie, on Disney XD’s “The Spectacular Spiderman”, and on Disney XD’s TRON: Uprising.
Currently, in addition to filming “Ascension,” Helfer continues to support as many causes as she can, as she believes in giving back. Currently she has worked with the Humane Society of United States, Best Friends Animal Society, AmFAR, PETA, Kitten Rescue and Richmond Animal Protection Society.
Tricia, who has dual citizenship in the US and Canada, currently resides in Los Angeles.
How did you get involved in Acting?
I was living in NYC and I had been modeling for about 8 1/2 years. I loved the experience and the opportunities but I was definitely getting restless and wanted to challenge myself more. I decided to take an acting class and fell in love with it from the first night. I was terrified and shy, but felt exhilarated after. I realized that I wanted to do this, so I continued to take classes in the evening while still modeling, and after about a year and a half, I sold my apartment, moved to LA, quit modeling and starting acting.
Are you working on any current projects?
My new show Ascension is premiering December 15th. It’s a 6 hour miniseries that is airing the 15th, 16th and 17th. Just shot a couple episodes of Suits and voiced a video game, although I can’t mention the name just yet. Lately, I’ve been working on pitching a project that I’m dying to do. I would be a very happy camper if I manage to get this one going, but it’s so hard to get a project off the ground.
What kind of roles have you performed throughout your career?
I’ve done all kinds of roles, from a robot, a serial killer, an attorney, a spy, a mother, etc. It’s funny because I find people often think I haven’t done much besides Battlestar Galactica, which is my most identifiable role for sure, but I’ve worked steadily over the 12 years I’ve been acting. I think it’s because I’m kind of a chameleon and people often times don’t recognize me. I change my hair color or cut, different makeup styles, and even friends will walk by me on the street. I honestly don’t know what it is about my face that changes so much with different looks, but it apparently does. I’ve actually been at events sitting at a table under a banner with my picture and name, and on multiple occasions people have walked up to me and asked when Tricia was going to be back. It makes me laugh. But, I take it as a compliment because it shows that I’m more of a character actor and not one that just looks and does the same role all the time. I would find that boring.
What has been your biggest achievement as an actress?
That I continue to work and have a good reputation in the business as a hard worker and a kind person.
What kind of roles do you prefer?
I don’t necessarily prefer one type of role over another. It’s fun to mix things up and play all sorts of roles because you then get to explore different facets of yourself and you also get to learn new things. Anything from stunts to studying different jobs and types of personalities. I do tend to really enjoy dark psychological roles, or physical roles though. I had so much fun playing Molly Parker in Killer Women that I’d love to do something like that again. The show didn’t do very well, but the character was a ton of fun to play. And I’m trying to get a serial killer project going, and I would love to play her, Gretchen Lowell, badly.
You have worked in very well-known Movies and TV Series, which one was your favorite and which one was more demanding?
I really don’t have favorites. Battlestar Galactica is at the top of the list, of course, because it was 5 years of my life and it was with wonderful people. We became a family and I am still very close to everyone. I think physically, Killer Women was one of the most demanding because it was on location in Albuquerque which is a very harsh climate (high desert), I was in practically every scene and it was very physical with a lot of stunts. Extremely long hours and an immense amount of work, but I loved it.
What do you prefer doing Movies or TV Series?
Again, I don’t really prefer one over the other. I do like the steady routine of a series, but so little is shot in LA anymore that being on location for the length of a TV series is really hard. A lot of actors end up with partners that follow them everywhere and the family stays intact. Nomads, but intact. I have a lot of animals and a husband with a demanding job in LA, so being away on location all the time is hard. I’d love a series that shoots in LA!
What would you be if you were not famous?
What kind of music do you like? And don’t like?
I have an eclectic taste, just depends on my mood. I can definitely sing along to the top 40, but I tend lean more towards blues and jazz. I’m not someone who can name titles and artists, I’m more someone that just puts on a channel on Pandora, depending on my mood, and just lets it play.
Do you have any hobbies?
Riding motorbikes, hiking, being with my animals.
What if you could correct one mistake in your life? What would it be?
Can’t really think of one. Of course I’m made them, but I’ve learned and grown because of them.
Do you ever eat fast food?
Not really. I’ll eat french fries once in awhile.
What exercise do you like to do?
I generally work out 6 days a week. Alternating between running and weights, pilates, hiking and yoga.
Describe your life in 3 words?
Busy, happy, loved.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully exactly as I am now…just five years older.
Where we can follow you?
Favorite Quote: I don’t have favorite quotes, but I remember this one distinctly.
From my Grandpa – “You better find something you enjoy doing for work, because you’re going to be working the rest of your life.“
Favorite Holiday Destination: Nope, no favorites of anything. How can you choose a favorite place when there are so many great places?
Photo Credits: Russell Baer, Marc Cartwright & Dennys Ilic.