Chase Masterson will be one of the guests at Starbase Indy this weekend in part because this is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and one of her characters eventually became the first lady of the Ferengi Alliance. She also will be bringing her social consciousness.
Masterson’s career has been about more than Star Trek including being the current star of a Big Finish, Doctor Who-related audio series, a jazz singing career and her Pop Culture Hero Coalition, which is working to end bullying. She’s also an author, a producer and has sung on USO tours for the Navy and the Marine Corps. She is a former Indiana resident.
According to IMDB, Masterson appeared as Leeta in 17 episodes of “Star Trek: Deep Space 9,” which ran for seven seasons. The new ”Star Trek Encyclopedia” describes that character as beginning as a Bajoran dabo (game of chance) girl in a bar on Deep Space 9 before eventually becoming the first lady of the Ferengi Alliance.
In addition to Masterson, actors who’ve been involved with Star Trek the Original Series, Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek Enterprise are scheduled to be among the guests at the three-day event, which begins Friday.
Masterson has been described as one of “the hot leading ladies” in 2008 by a film magazine, one of the world’s “50 sexiest women” by Femme Fatales magazine, the “Number 1 Favorite Science Fiction Actress on Television” in a TV Guide online poll, one of the “Top 50 People to Watch in Hollywood” by Sci-Fi Universe Magazine and the “Best Feature Film Producer” by the LA Femme Film Festival.
Masterson says the descriptions don’t bother her.
“I just see those things as a tool to do the work I want to do on-screen or off,” she said in an interview. “The word sexy is a pretty meaningless word.
“What’s really important is what’s on the inside and the heart of the work we do in the short time we’re on this planet. If people say those things and it helps me get another great project off the ground for charity or entertainment, that’s fine with me.”
Masterson founded the Pop Culture Hero Coalition “to take a stand against bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBT bullying, cyber bullying and other forms of hate using pop culture in film and television,” she said. “We make parallels between on-screen heroes and heroes in real life.
“Our motto is, ‘We love super heroes, why not be one.’ We are currently creating an incredible curriculum for schools and we also work in common cause and communities.”
Masterson said she’s seen so much oppression and wanted to do something about using the tremendous power of popular culture fandom.
“It’s really a phenomenon,” she said. “I want to harness that energy for doing good, that’s what the stories are about.”
Masterson’s charitable work also has involved the United Nations, hospice organizations, and the World Health Organization.
The philosophy Masterson espouses is reflected in her feelings about Star Trek.
“I think that Star Trek has a really, really neat message,” she said. “The whole infinite diversity in infinite combinations is something that’s very attractive to all of us. And it’s something that I wish the world would grasp onto as beautifully as the Star Trek fans have. …
”The fans are mostly lovely, truly some of the loveliest people I’ve met. Occasionally there have been ones that crossed the line, but I never let that stop me from being genuine with everyone I meet. …I think Star Trek attracts really lovely people because of what Star Trek’s message is, the message of the show. “
Unfortunately, she said, with this year’s election, there have been many negative actions, contrary to that spirit.
“White supremacy is once again rearing its ugly head and growing in both numbers and in the press,” Masterson said. “There has been a rise in hate crimes to African-Americans and Muslims and the LGBTQ communities and other people since the election by those who feel empowered by (president-elect Donald) Trump. …
“I think they’ve been empowered by his hate speech. …. We have to come to our senses as a country and see that this is not what America was born to be. We were born to be a place of diversity and inclusivity.”
The lack of empathy that not just white supremacists, but everyday people employ in everyday racism and in everyday bias is “disgusting and it’s unChristian, it’s unJesus like, and it’s really embarrassing that our country is being seen this way,” Masterson said.
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s future tenant of infinite diversity in infinite combinations is the way the world is supposed to be.
In some ways, Masterson’s Deep Space 9 character reflected her passion about issues related to racism, misogyny and bullying. Her character married a person, Rom, from another world and that led to her becoming the first lady of the Ferengi Federation. Max Grodenchik, a previous guest at Starbase Indy, played Rom.
“He was really so truly lovely as Rom and made me fall in love with him, he was so gentle and sensitive,” Masterson said. “I just appreciated all of that in him as an actor and as a character. …
“I had such a great time working with this extremely talented cast, but the memories that are the ones I cherish the most are ones that happened off-screen. Many times, I’ve had someone who served in the military, particularly oversees, come up to say how much the show meant to them while they were in the service and for those in the Gulf War it was a little piece of home and it reminded them of what they were striving for, which was peace.”
Deep Space Nine has been underrated, she said.
“I don’t think Deep Space 9 gets the respect it deserves,” Masterson said. “It was the Number 1 syndicated show in the world when we went off the air and yet it is seen as the little, runt brother of Star Trek.
“It was difficult for us, not having been the mainstream show that Next Generation was, frankly we feel the stories and characters deserved. A lot of people feel Deep Space 9 was their favorite over any of the other Star Trek.
Chase Masterson’s acting career also led her into “Vienna,” a Doctor Who spinoff. audio series. She had previously worked on audio projects with former Doctors Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy.
Vienna is going into Season 4. Vienna is “an intergalactic mercenary assassin with a heart of gold who always lands on the side of good,” Masterson said. “If I’m hired by a bad guy I will turn that around on him and make it his own undoing.”