The Reiko Aylesworth Interview

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Bitchelle Speaks

Not exactly. I did a marathon. My aunt is a huge fan and she taped all of the episodes, so when I got the part, she lent me her tapes.

She must have been thrilled!

Oh yeah. She certainly was. So I stayed up for a couple of days and watched the whole thing. It was like candy.

In my mind, or at least in the minds of the viewers, you're this year's Nina. It's not that you're evil or sleeping with Kiefer, but you're the dark and mysterious office babe, if you know what I mean. Is that something that crosses your mind while you're playing Michelle?

Actually the very first thing I was worried about when I got the part was being compared to Nina. You know, Sarah Clarke did such a great job. We're different actresses and our characters are supposed to be different. I wouldn't even try to do what she did last season.

But is it hard not to be Nina?

Yeah, kinda. I mean, I'm sure it's difficult to pioneer something when you don't know where you're going or what the tone of the show is -- that's what Sarah had to deal with. But I came in having seen the show, and that was definitely an advantage. But, yeah, you can't help but have people compare you. Everyone in this season's cast is being compared to everyone in last season's cast. Sarah [Wynter] gets compared to Leslie [Hope]. Even Lourdes [Benedicto] gets compared to Tamara Tunie. There's no way to avoid it.

But that's the thing about being a part of something culty. People were so in love with the original characters and there's something about being part of the first year of a maverick show. In some sense there's nothing you can really do, because it's been done. So of course people are going to draw comparisons.

I guess it's a way for the viewers to make sense of everything. I do it, myself. Every time there's a new character, my first thought is, "Who is she supposed to be from last year?"

I hoped that maybe I could escape the comparison because my outfit is so different from Nina's.

And so is your hair. Plus you're more professional looking. Nina really looked like the office skag.

[laughs] But that's what I loved about her!

[laughs] Yeah. Like, she always looked a little damp. I loved that!

But you know, in actuality, I have Tony's old job. He's got Nina's job this year.

Wow, I didn't realize that. I guess it was a sexist reflex on my part to assume that you have Nina's job because…you're the "girl." But, yeah, when you think about it, Tony is your superior just like Nina was his superior last year.

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