Vroom on the move

Vancouver actress Fiona Vroom goes green (again) for ‘Star Trek Beyond’

Fiona Vroom didn’t grow up watching Star Trek. She’s not a Trekkie or a Trekker. She isn’t on Team Kirk or Team Picard.

Regardless, Star Trek has played a major role in Vroom’s life and career.

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In 2013, there was Lolani: the Vancouver actress portrayed the green-skinned Orion slave girl in the “Lolani” episode of the fan-financed Star Trek Continues web series. Lou Ferrigno of The Incredible Hulk fame played a nefarious slave trader in that same episode.

Vroom parlayed this Trek role into a second one: again as an Orion, but this time in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond feature film.

Trek’s impact on Vroom’s life is even evident in her early childhood, when young Vroom devoured reruns of I Love Lucy and yearned to be Lucille Ball – and Trekkies know that Ball’s production company Desilu greenlit the original Star Trek television series.

“I was not a fan of Star Trek,” Vroom tells Reel People in a recent interview. “I wanted to be Lucille Ball. She’s the big inspiration for my entire career. But I keep coming back to Star Trek.”

Vroom’s journey to Star Trek began on a boat. She describes her parents as “big hippies," and her childhood – the first few years of which she spent sailing around the Gulf Islands – as “very unique.”

It was on the boat that Vroom initially discovered the joy that could be derived from making her parents and two sisters laugh. This feeling only increased in elementary school, when she played Mrs. Claus in a holiday play.

“I got up on stage, and I made the audience laugh, and that was even better than making my family laugh,” chuckles Vroom. “I was hooked.”

At first, Vroom wanted to be a musical theatre star. She honed her skills at Canadian College of Performing Arts, and took those skills on the road, erm, high seas as a cruise ship performer.

“I would never recommend for anyone to go on a cruise ship for a vacation, but as a performer, it was awesome,” says Vroom. She visited dozens of countries as she performed in various on-ship Broadway revues and cirque shows. “It was fun, but at the end of three years, I wanted to try film and TV.”

Since docking in the film and television sphere in 2005, Vroom has racked up a lengthy and eclectic filmography. Highlights include a guest starring gig on Hell on Wheels; a scene-stealing turn in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes; a 1950s housewife with superpowers on the way-ahead-of-its-time web series The True Heroines; Kindergarten Cop 2; Supernatural; and, currently, a meaty recurring role on Bates Motel.

The Georgia-shot Star Trek Continues – which seeks to finish the original five-year mission of the 1960s TV series – introduced Vroom to the wild world of diehard Trekkies (full disclosure: Reel People lives in this particular wild world).

Her Twitter numbers doubled the day “Lolani” went live. Nearly three years later, Vroom continues to receive letters and artwork from Star Trek Continues fans. “They’re so loyal,” raves Vroom.

Vroom’s work on the web series opened the door for her to participate in the big budget feature, in which she’s credited as Green Girl.

Vroom brought a picture of herself from Star Trek Continues to her Star Trek Beyond audition.

“I said, ‘look, I’ve been in this series before, here’s my headshot from it, I played an Orion,’ and that got me a callback,” she says.

Vroom worked 21 days on Star Trek Beyond last summer. It took three hours each day to apply the green make-up. She can’t disclose much of anything about her Star Trek Beyond character, save that she’s an Orion – but she does call it the “craziest experience” of her career.

The bulk of Vroom’s Star Trek shooting days occurred in a Pitt Meadows rock quarry, where the production enhanced the otherworldliness of the landscape with props and more than a dozen green screens. “I’ve never been part of something so big, and seen so many people involved in making something so magical and massive,” says Vroom.

Even though Star Trek Beyond is the biggest film Vroom’s ever worked on, the lead actors were as down to Earth as their indie counterparts, she says.

“Watching Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine work, they’re so relaxed, and they goof off all of the time,” says Vroom. “This is the third film, so they’re so comfortable with each other.”

Star Trek might have been written in Vroom’s stars, but it’s equally arguable that performing is in the building blocks of her DNA. Her great-grandmother was an opera singer, and her great-great-grandfather was involved in the construction of the Orpheum Theatre, notably painting details on the gold ceiling.  

That would be her great-great-grandfather on the Vroom side – which, incidentally, is her actual last name. “People always think I’ve made it up,” laughs Vroom. “It’s a great conversation starter.”

Star Trek Beyond hits theatre nationwide this July. Bates Motel airs Mondays at 9pm on A&E. Follow Fiona Vroom on Twitter @fionavroom

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