Jennifer Beals

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jennifer-Beals-223x300 Beals originally came to fame as the welder-turned-dancer in 1983’s hit movie Flashdance, a role she landed as an undergraduate at Yale University. She has starred in several movies since then, but most have been small roles in large studio films, like Denzel Washington’s Devil in a Blue Dress and the recent John Cusack/Gene Hackman film Runaway Jury, or roles in small independent films, like Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, The Last Days of Disco, Twilight of the Golds, and The Anniversary Party.

Then last year, she was cast in The L Word as Bette, a lesbian museum director trying to have a baby with her partner, Tina (Laurel Holloman), and the rest is about to become history.

Beals is not a lesbian in real life (she was married for 10 years to director Alexandre Rockwell before they divorced in 1996, and she is now married to Ken Dixon, a Canadian film technician), but she finds it easier to play one on TV because she’s biracial, so she has “always lived sort-of on the outside,” she told Curve Magazine last December. “The idea of being the other in society is not foreign to me.”

With an African-American father and an Irish mother, Beals belongs to the growing group of Americans–seven million, in fact, according to the 2000 census data–who have a racially mixed heritage, but she did not publicly identify as biracial until recently. Prior to taking this role on The L Word, in fact, only two of the dozens of characters Beals played over the years have been biracial; the rest have been white women or women whose race was unspecified but assumed to be white. This likely has less to do with Beals, however, than with the fact that there have been almost no explicitly biracial characters on film or television.more info


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