She is the newest character on Star Trek Voyager.
She was born Jeri Lynn Zimmermann on Feb 22, 1968 to Jerry and Sharon Zimmermann.
Ryan has lived all over the U.S., an Army brat born in Munich, Germany,
and raised on military bases from Kentucky to Hawaii. While in college,
she won the sixth annual Miss Northwestern Alpha Delta Phi Pageant in 1989.
A junior majoring in Speech, Jeri also won the talent contest singing "On
My Own" from "Les Miserables" and co-won the swimsuit contest. Later on
that year she won the Miss Illinois Pageant and went on to place fourth
in the 1990 Miss America Pageant. But if you think she's all looks and
no brains, you're wrong; while in school Jeri was also a National Merit
Scholar. These days she is married to a 37 year old investment banker from
Chicago named Jack Ryan and they have a four year old son named Alex. Her
husband doesn't want to move to Los Angeles since all of his clients are
in the Windy City, so she flies back home most weekends and has her mother
bring Alex to the set as often as possible. Although an accomplished actress,
Ryan considers her greatest role to be that of mother to Alex. "As a mom,
I'm more patient and feel more complete," she says. "Nobody could have
convinced me while I was pregnant of how magical it would be to be a mother."
|A world-class commuter, Ryan usually spends weekends flying from her home
in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley back to Wilmette to reunite with her
husband which she has done for about eight years. In her spare time, she
enjoys snow skiing as well as cooking and baking, "I make some mean pies!"
Ryan states proudly. Jeri is naturally 5' 8" and at 6'2" in her Borg-heels,
she is more than statuesque. TV Guide referred to her "whiplash-inducing
presence." Syndicated columnist Ron Miller said, "One gets the impression
she's going to shiver the timbers of the Voyager males." Her character's
name is Seven of Nine which is short for Seven of Nine Tertiary Adjunct
of Unimatrix Zero-One, or something like that," says Ryan. "We've streamlined
it to Seven, which isn't so bad." Voyager executive producer Rick Berman
described Seven as "a sensual creature neither fully Borg nor fully human."
She's dressed to look like an extraterrestrial version of Catwoman, encased
in an ultratight catsuit, bearing a few remaining Borg markings on her
face and hands. Co-star Ethan Phillips says those tight costumes make working
with Ryan a little "complicated." Ryan says, "For the first costume, if
I would do anything other than have my head straight ahead, it cut off
my carotid artery. It was so tight that I passed out four times," says
Ryan, interviewed on the Voyager set in a new costume that she says is
looser but still takes an hour to climb into. The old suit forced her to
lie down between scenes to regain her composure. But she didn't complain.
"That was my nice Midwestern girl upbringing," she says. "They would bring
nurses to the set with oxygen, and I wouldn't say anything. But after the
fourth time passing out, I spoke up." Producers quickly refitted the suit.
But the new costume has problems of its own. "Forget vanity, throw vanity
to the wind! And you can forget anything about privacy, because it ain't
gonna happen. Anytime I have to go to the bathroom, everybody has to know
about it. It's announced over the P.A. system, because production stops
for a half-hour. 'We can't roll a shot. Jeri's not here.' 'Why not, where's
Jeri?' 'Jeri has to go 10-100.' It's just a whole procedure." And now to
confuse matters even more there is a third costume which premiered in "The
Raven." Prior to Trek, she's appeared in episodes of "Melrose Place," "The
Flash," "Time Trax," "Matlock," and "Murder, She Wrote" as well as several
TV movies and the unreleased independent feature, "The Last Man." " 'The
Last Man' is about the last three people on Earth, and I'm the last woman,"
says Ryan. "I know it sounds like sci-fi, but it's really not. I hope they
get the film released. It's a small, but very good film." She was also
in the final seven episodes of last season's "Dark Skies." Looking back
on "Dark Skies," Ryan notes that she liked the people and the premise,
but that NBC had given up on the series by the time she arrived on the
scene. " 'Dark Skies' had a lot of potential," Ryan says. "The show was
just finding its footing when it got canceled. "I did a complete 180,"
says Jeri Ryan, "I was fighting the collective, the (alien) Hive on 'Dark
Skies.' Now I'm part of the collective, the Borg. It's very funny." On
those shows, she was billed as Jeri Lynn Ryan. A new manager hired before
her Voyager job convinced her to drop the "Lynn." "He didn't think it would
sound like a name that would grow with me," Ryan says. "He didn't see me
at 44 years old as Jeri Lynn. "Personally, I miss the Lynn. I've been Jeri
Lynn all my life, and my husband always calls me Lynn, which causes confusion
around the set." To help Ryan achieve Borg perfection, the makeup department
made a plaster cast of her face, a 45-minute process that involved breathing
through two straws pushed up into her nose. That was followed by a four-hour
cast of her entire body. "You have to suffer for art," she quips. But she
has no problem with being sold as the new sex symbol of Voyager. "There
are worse things you could be called than 'whiplash-inducing,' " she says.
"But as long as the character is intelligently written and gets challenging
stories for me to play, I'm fine with it . . . as long as I can breathe."