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Julie Strain:
Queen of the "B" Flix

Hollywood's reigning "Queen of 'B' Movies" Julie Strain was calling from her cell phone, as she wove in and out of the infamous LA traffic at 8 a.m., and the connection left much to be desired. Over static the former Penthouse "Pet of the Year" struggled to respond to questions--only to be unceremoniously disconnected. Three times. 

Had this been one of her films--like "Toxik Avenger 4" or "Return to Savage Beach" (in which she costarred with former YourMVP cover-girl Shae Marks) Strain would have kicked somebody's ass for sure. If we'd been presenting a case on her Playboy channel TV show, "Sex Court," where Strain presides as "Judge Julie," somebody would have done hard time. Instead, Strain tried as graciously as possible to "move her car into a better position" for our conversation and called back . . . again and again. 

For lack of a better word, the interview was somewhat . . . strained.  

Given the traffic and our bad connection, however, Strain seemed in a much better mood than many might have been. Especially given the fact that she had been up for hours already--confessing that she's often up as early as 3:30 a.m. answering her fan mail. In this revealing YourMVP exclusive, Strain discusses everything from her status as the face of "F.A.K.K. 2" in the "Heavy Metal" animated movie and the cover model for the "Vampirella" comic books to the benefits of marrying the man that co-created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In-between she gives us insight into how to save the world and why she plans to take her clothes off until she's at least 50! 

YourMVP: Julie Strain, why is calling you "The Queen of 'B' Movies" OK--but calling you a "Scream Queen" isn't?

JS: Well, you know, I don't mind being called "The Queen of 'B' Movies"--and you can call me a "Scream Queen" if you want. But I'm the one that makes other people scream. I kill people in these types of movies. I'm a demolitionist, I'm a sorceress, I'm a witch, I'm the "bare wench." I've played all these characters. I think the "scream queens" are the chicks that get killed.

You seem to relish being the "Queen of 'B' Movies." Why is that?

I enjoy being the "Queen of 'B' Movies" because it's all about independent film making, independent thought, and things you can do quickly. I can do a lot of projects in a short period of time rather than being stuck on an "A" movie for six months. I just like the freedom I have to wear my stupid little costumes and my six-inch heeled boots and big hair and I can ad lib lines like, "Milk! Milk! Lemonade. In the back, fudge is made!" for Troma and they don't cut it. That's why I love it. I get to be campy, and meet all the girls and be kind of "Mama" to everybody. 

What do you say to people that feel you should aspire to move beyond the "B" Movie genres?

You know, I would like to dabble in "A" movies just a little bit here and there, but I'm not one for traveling or going to like Romania for movies and so forth. I like the comfort of my own home in Beverly Hills and milk I can buy in a grocery store and all that stuff. And, you know, I don't know that my acting is all that "A"-quality. I don't think I could get away with it for a whole movie. I think for a week or a really strong character part, I could slide in and steal the day. But that's hard work. These people have to cry, and grieve deaths, and go after their kidnapped child with a vengeance. I'm just so spoiled by being a "bad guy." It just comes natural. I don't want to work that hard, really. That's probably one reason I stay where I'm at.

You've had roles in more than 90 films and videos. Tell us about your favorite.

At the moment, I'm enjoying all the success of the "Heavy Metal" project including the game, the soundtrack, the movie, the dolls, the toys, the coffee cups, the lighters, the shirts . . . so that was probably my all-time favorite since there was so much gratification involved. I collect Julie Strain, so that gives me a lot of stuff to do, to run around and collect. Believe it or not, we weren't given one free DVD of the movie, so I have to go out and go to different video stores to buy it for my family and friends.

You've stated that doing the voice-work of an animated character in "Heavy Metal 2000" was a challenge. How did you prepare yourself for that?

Well, you know, I studied for a year. I had an acting coach. I worked really, really hard. I just lived the character, and the character was me, but I had to go into a different world where I'm flying spaceships and doing control panels. So I had to sit there and really pretend I was asking for the "incoming docking flight coordinates"--and those are tongue-twisters--but you have to be able to say things like that like they're part of your everyday vocabulary. I just familiarized myself so much that it just enmeshed in my real life.

You said that the character was largely based on yourself. Is that because of your husband's influence in developing it?

You know, I think, even without me in the picture I think the character would have ended up looking something like me anyway. Spawn or any other toy is exactly my body with different face and hair. They make a big, tall, powerful woman with a "Barbie Doll" body, and I'm just lucky enough to fit the mold where it should have fallen anyway. I just added a little extra to it because I had the long, dark, curly hair and that I was somewhat known in the entertainment business. It

was just kind of a natural thing. For anybody else to play the part at this point would be ridiculous if you see the character that is F.A.K.K. 2.

How big of an advantage is being married to Kevin Eastman, the man that co-created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and publishes, writes, and produces everything from low-budget movies to "Heavy Metal" magazine?

It's a great advantage for me business-wise because before I was scrambling and taking every single job to keep a roof over my head. I took some "C" movies, which I didn't really need to but I did them any way just so I could pay the rent and keep the food long enough to survive to get a big job. But you know that's every actor's thing. It's not like a regular job where people have it. You're auditioning for a new job every other day. You're singing for your dinner. Kevin made it possible to put a big roof over my head, and hot meals and a maid so I don't have to cook, I don't have to do dishes, I don't have to do laundry. I just have to get up and keep myself in shape, my skin nice, not get any bruises. I have the freedom to run around Hollywood and pick and choose the jobs I want and play with my friends and do photography and publish books. It's really a dream-come-true lifestyle. I couldn't have even dreamed of all this.

Is he active in helping you achieve your goal of becoming "The Queen of All Media"?

I had everything set in motion, Kevin just set it in high gear with being able to afford things like a publicist, who gets your name out there, and publish a couple books for me. I think I would have done it all on my own. I would just be a little more ragged, beat-up and hungry at the moment, not sporting two cars and car phones. I would have probably only had one car.

In addition to the string of horror films you've done, you're frequently found on the cover of such dark comic books as "Vampirella"--for which you're the current cover model. Do you think people misinterpret the kind of person you are in day-to-day life?

Well, I don't really care how people interpret me. I'm an entertainer, and however they see me that is hopefully fulfilling in their day-to-day life is fine. If someone wants to see me as a nasty "Penthouse" chick that spread her legs to make a living, then that's how they see me. If someone sees me as a G-rated "Vampirella" character, and that's their favorite vision of me, that's great. Some people only know me from the HBO movies, and some people see me on the VH1 Lists show with my top on. So, you know, I don't really care what people think of me--as long as they think of me and have a soft spot for me in their heart somewhere.

What's the best part of being 6'1"?

Just being able to walk down the street and be powerful and be strong. Knowing that the person walking next to me that is going to attack somebody is probably going to pass me by because I'm probably going to kick his ass! I feel like when the dinosaurs ruled the world, there were big ones and this one and that one--I'm the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Nobody messes with me, and I can call my own shots. Being tall kind of makes me special, but at the same time, it's another thing that has to do with me not working in "A" movies. "A" movies are a lot reflective with real life and in real life people are in relationships, and actors are 5'8". It's kind of hard to cheat me playing the wife, the vindictive little bitches. I see poor Geena Davis and they've always got her in a pair of ballet slippers--even if she's got a nice dress on--because she's 6' tall. You know what I mean? She doesn't get to be the full character. Like, what would that character really have worn? I like that freedom, because I wear a lot of six- and eight-inch heels, boots and hair and hats and wigs and so on. That would kind of put me in a box--but whatever.

So when you're all done up, you're almost 7' tall. 


How did your height affect you as you broke into the industry and earned the title of "Penthouse Pet of the Year"?

I think it made me special just because I had an athletic body from being that tall and being involved in sports. I made my claim to fame by doing body work and being a dead body in the Steven Segal movie and "The Body" in Penthouse and all this different stuff. So the height is how that helped. I was 28-years-old and I think if I was 28-years-old and was 5'6," there's no way I would look as lean and lithe and muscular as I do, and it would have completely changed the face of my career.

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