Jennifer Lien
The Power Behind Kes

By Kevin Dilmore

Jennifer Lien as Kes     So fragile a race - but so strong a young woman.
    As the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager faced the challenges of the Delta Quadrant, the Ocampan girl Kes embodied their exploratory spirit. Merely an infant among her people, she exhibeted a quiet inner strength and, at times, appeared almost maternal in her instinctive nurturing ways.
    The meek became the mother, the feminine became the fighter, the wondrous became the wearied - all through the performance of Jennifer Lien.
    "In a way, I can see some qualities of the character that the writers have attributed to her that I can identify with as a woman, that may make a female feel more complete when thinking about Kes," says Lien, who enjoys being on of the woman of Voyager. "I never really thought about it that way, but there's something about that that I can understand. If I played Kes differently because I have changed over the years, it wasn't consciously."

Jennifer Lien as Kes     Kes went through a number of personal transformations during her three years of traveling with the Voyager crew; years that represented a third of the character's short lifetime. She experienced separation from her family, love, motherhood, metaphysical growth and, ultimately, the wonder of the universe seemingly as a being of energy.
    The character also sought and was granted a personal redemption from the ship's commander, Captain Kathryn Janeway, in her latest appearance on the sixth-season episode "Fury", which aired earlier this year. Lien cites Janeway's character as one of the strongest factors in Star Trek's appeal, issues of gender aside.
    "The captain is a thoughtful, courageous woman and that is appealing, regardless of sex," she says. "I am a woman, and that plays a part in my performance. But I don't think about my role in a male/female sort of way. I just act."
    "Because it's an intelligent show with a lot of imagination," Lien says of Star Trek, "there's a certain appeal regardless of sex."


Text from Star Trek Communicator - Issue #131 - December/January 2000 - Page 58
Article used without permission.