An Interview With
the woman who plays Mara Jade, and please relax. She didnít really marry
Luke Skywalker. Why not? Because Luke is a fictional character. You
did know that, right?
started off the convention interviews by meeting Michonne Bourriage,
the face (and hopefully someday, voice) of Aurra Sing in the Star Wars
Universe. But Ultarama wasnít through bringing conventioneers
the ladies of Lucasí dreams. Also signing was Shannon Baksa, the model
hired to portray the ďExpanded UniverseĒ character Mara Jade for cards
a nice bookend to our convention experience, Shannon asked us to keep
her company at the autograph tables on a pleasant San Diego Saturday
evening. With most of the fans preparing for the Masquerade, it was
a lonely place. But hopefully, we made it a little more entertaining
How long have you been cast as Mara Jade?
I was hired in August of í98, but we only shot the pictures then. I
didnít start doing appearances until I think, gosh, December of that
year? So Iíll say two years. Itís been two years.
DM: You go
from show to show. Do you do other work besides playing Mara? Are you
an actress as well?
Iím not an actress. I model. I do runway, fashion, commercials, small
speaking things, but no, Iím not an actress. I donít have any large
speaking roles. Iím also a make-up artist, so I can fill in the blanks
with that. And Iím a full-time mom.
DM: How many
one. Sheís three. Her nameís Willow, and people think thatís really
interesting that I have a daughter named Willow, another science-fiction
theme, so everybody knows.
DM: Did Lucas
himself have to approve of you?
Actually, Decipher (cards) met
me, talked to me, got pictures, and they discussed it. And then everything
had to go to George. It literally had to be sat in front of him, you
know, ďwhat do you think? This is the girl?Ē And he had to say yes or
you got this job, were you prepared for fandom and the way that it is?
Iím not sure if Decipher didnít want to tell me or if they could have
been smart in doing that or if they didnít know. It was presented to
me like a modeling job. I would do this one card and maybe somewhere
down the line I would have to sign a few of them but that was it. There
was really no mention of anything beyond that.
DM: No offense,
but neither of us knew your name, though I saw you here last year. But
everybody we talked to at Ultarama acted like we really should know
who you are. Do you feel like you have a huge fan following as a result
of being Mara Jade?
SB: Oh, my
gosh. The reason they did this, the reason Decipher and Lucas did this,
was because Mara is really the most popular character from the books
and the comics and all of that. Star Wars Insider did an article
a couple of years ago called ďWho Needs a Movie Anyway?Ē and it was
about Mara, because sheís got this tremendous following. That has nothing
to do with me, and I think that what people like is that they actually
finally put a face to her. Now thereís a person that they can talk to.
So thatís where it is. And it was all there before I got the job.
DM: You say
that youíre a face for them to talk to. Would you care to share the
most bizarre convention experience that youíve had as a result of someone
talking to Mara?
SB: I donít
think thereís one in particular. Iíve had a couple of stalkers, which
I think is really odd. I have people come up all the time who really
live these stories. They donítÖit doesnít click with them sometimes
that Iím not Mara. Itís not reality. I had a guy come up to me a couple
of conventions ago and say, ďwell, if youíre really Mara let me see
you levitate this table.Ē But he was very serious. He wasnít joking.
You know you look for that ďha, ha, whereís the punchline?Ē and people
come up and say things like that all the time. You know itís not a joke.
Thatís kind of scary.
DM: Are you
afraid that you might mistreat Luke in a book and have people come after
I said Iíve had three stalkers. Iíve changed my phone number three times,
my e-mail, my cell phone. Iíve had a guy follow me to the gym every
day. It makes you wonder. Iím just Shannon.
repeat that: JUST SHANNON. We can look around here at the convention
and see people who did some science fiction thing thirty, forty years
ago, padding their income by appearing at these things. Do you see yourself
as Mara in twenty years?
SB: Yes and
no. If they keep my face, if they keep Shannon as Mara. As long as stuff
is coming out, and Iím representing her, Iíll always keep up with it
and sign autographs and do everything that I can do. Will I do the convention
circuit for the next thirty years? Oh, gosh, no. Thatís justÖitís hard.
A different city every other week through the convention season, and
then overseas travel is crazy. I donít think that I can raise a three-year-old
and live like that.
do you want for yourself in the near future, your dream?
SB: Oh, gosh,
this isnít going to go over really well. Iíd like to be re-married one
day and have more children. Iíd like to be a stay at home mom. And I
know that does not sound exciting, but thatís what Iíd like.