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Tricia Helfer Geek Icon

From video games to TV, Tricia Helfer has become a geek icon.

By Stephen HamiltonPublished 8 years ago 4 min read

Tricia Helfer has made quite a name for herself in the industry, modeling since 1992 and acting since 2000. But it's her wealth of experience that has gained her recognition within geek entertainment, bringing her to icon status in the world of science fiction. Helfer had a normal upbringing away from the spotlight—until, that is, she turned seventeen and was discovered by a modeling agency at her local movie theatre.

Just one year later at eighteen, she won the 1992 Ford Models Supermodel of the World competition and was swiftly signed to Elite Model Management—one of the world's most prominent modeling agencies. Although she walked in runway shows for some of the fashion industry's most prestigious brands, including Christian Dior and Givenchy, and starred in ad campaigns for the likes of Chanel, Helfer retired from modeling in 2002 and moved to Los Angeles with hopes of pursuing a career in acting full time. Although no longer a full time model, Helfer has appeared in photoshoots for Maxim and was on the February 2007 cover of Playboy.

Photo via Zeman Celeb Legs

From Model to Movie Star

Helfer's first role as an actress was a co-starring role as Sarah on Jeremiah, although she later scored a role on CSI. Her first film role was playing Eva in the movie White Rush. Later that same year, Helfer landed the role that would launch her to geek stardomNumber Six on Battlestar Galactica. In 2004 she played Farrah Fawcett in the made for TV movie The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels. She also went on to produce and host Canada's Next Top Model in 2005, although she did not return for the second season due to her commitment to Battlestar Galactica.

Battlestar Galactica

Perhaps Helfer's most prominent role to date (especially within geek culture) was her role in Battlestar Galacticathe seductive humanoid cylon Number Six of the Significant Seven. She was cast after showing her abilities at the audition stage, although the director (Michael Rymer) was originally concerned about her lack of experience. Reflecting on her strong audition, he is quoted as saying:

“It wasn't just the way she looked; She just has this vibe about her. Nobody gets how hard that role is, to bring the depth, the vulnerability, and the mystery to essentially a robot chick.”

Number Six was the first of the Cyclons to be capable of showing human form and emotion. Her first appearance was in the miniseries which ran in 2003, although she appeared throughout the entire Battlestar Galactica series which ended in 2009.

Photo via TV Series Finale


Another important role for Helfer was the science fiction miniseries Ascension in 2014. Consisting of six episodes that aired two episodes for three consecutive nights, the drama is based on the real life Project Orion. In an alternate 1963, volunteers are led to believe that the destruction of earth is imminent, resulting in a space mission upon the USS Ascension. Men, women, and children are to be transported to Proxima Centauri to colonize the planet and ensure the future of the human race. But 51 years into their 100 year journey, a mysterious murder occurs as the ship passes the point of no return and the volunteers begin to question the truth behind the mission. Tricia Helfer plays Viondra Denningerthe wife of the captain. She is a beautiful yet manipulative power broker, leading to her role as the Chief Steward of the Ascension.

Image via YouTube user ariodb

Behind the Scenes

It's not just on-screen that Helfer found success. She's also found herself behind the microphone as a voice actress. She has voice acted in both TV and video games, appealing to a wide range of audiences in the process.

  • Halo 3: ODST (2009)In Halo 3, part of one of the biggest game franchises to date, Helfer played Captain Veronica Dare—an integral character to the game's main storyline. Through the role, she gained recognition within a wider range of the gaming community.
  • StarCraft II (2010, 2013, 2015)Helfer voiced Sarah Kerrigan in the StarCraft II trilogy, also known as the Primal Queen of Blades. She is frequently featured in top lists of video game enemies and top female characters due to her popularity. In 2010, GameSpot awarded her the title of "Greatest Gaming Villain," while she was noted as "The Most Evil Woman in Gaming" by Complex in 2012. In particular, Helfer won the Spike Video Game award for "Best Performance by a Human Female" for the voice role in 2010.
  • Spectacular Spider Man (2008 – 2009)Helfer's role as the voice of Black Cat in The Spectacular Spider Man TV series made her a hit with comic fans. In season one, Black Cat is an enemy who has a crush on Spider Man. The show aired on The CW, Disney XD and Cartoon Network.
  • Marvel Heroes (2013)Helfer played Black Cat once again in 2013 in Marvel Heroes, a free to play MMORPG set within the Marvel Universe and featuring over 100 of the famous characters. Black Cat is a resident boss of Hell's Kitchen who can be defeated to gain XP and items. In January 2016, the game was re-branded as Marvel Heroes 2016, however the existing content remains available.
  • Falling Skies (2015)Falling Skies is a sci-fi post apocalyptic drama series that aired in 2015. Although not seen physically on screen, Helfer played the Espheni Queen—the leader of an alien race that invaded earth to destroy humanity.

Photo via Zimbio

The Supermodel of Nerd Culture

Tricia Helfer's unique ensemble of modeling and acting experience has made her truly the supermodel of nerd culture. Whilst an icon of the fashion industry in her own right, she has also been warmly accepted and embraced by the world of genre entertainment. While Helfer has not yet taken on any roles in 2016, she is still a VIP of geek culture thanks to her important roles in the past. We'll just have to see what the future holds!

celebritiespop culture

About the Creator

Stephen Hamilton

Definitive movie buff. Quickly realized that it was more financially prudent to write about film than trying to beg for millions of dollars to make his own.

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    Stephen HamiltonWritten by Stephen Hamilton

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