Carrying an extensive list of successes, Katee Sackhoff sees no stopping point in her career. She is perhaps originally known for her role as Captain Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on Battlestar Galactica, but has since associated her name with more varying works.
Dabbling in both the film and television industries has proved healthy for her career, but it comes with many differing challenges from both fields. A slight sense of stability can be found in working with a television series, but with that hope comes a better understanding of what it means to deliver a better show with each passing season. The show’s future is dependent on its ability to keep and gain followers each season. That is certainly the case with Sackhoff’s latest series, A&E’s Longmire, which is currently in its second season.
“It’s a bit scary because you’ve got some big shoes from the first season to fill and you’re trying to up the bar, so you know it’s exciting, but I think that to make a successful show you have to make a phenomenal second season or you’ll lose fans and you won’t have a third,” says Sackhoff. “I think it’s kind of like an artist coming out with their second album.”
Sackhoff understands that the pressure to do better is all across the board in the world of arts. She notes the importance of recognizing creativity from those around her, even outside of her own practice.
“Music has been a part of my life since I was a little kid and I love music. I love new artists, I love supporting new artists, I love supporting local artists,” she explains. “I’m obsessed with music, so it’s something I really enjoy.”
Adding to her lists of favorites, she dives into her childhood pleasures, giving insight to her career choice.
“My dad kind of raised me on science fiction and action movies, so it’s just been a part of my soul since I was really little,” she admits. “Nothing gets me going like a good action movie still to this day.”
And while her personal preference includes watching, as well as acting in, the more lively films that rush the adrenaline, expanding the types of roles she plays is something she finds equally as exciting.
“I try to change it up every once in a while and try to do something that nobody would expect just to challenge myself.”
Looking into the list of her many projects throughout the years makes it evident that Sackhoff is a concrete professional in the entertainment business. From film to television to video games, she maintains a blossoming career. Many of her roles have been for aggressive, more masculine characters, prompting fans to connect these less-than-feminine attributes to her personal life. Fans are taken aback when they find this assumption untrue.
“I think the thing that I’ve known from very early on in my career is that what you think someone’s going to be is the opposite and completely different,” she explains. “It’s interesting because I’m used to people having preconceived notions about me and it’s always interesting to see people’s reactions when they meet me for the first time or talk to me because they think, and it’s been said to me numerous times, that people are shocked that I’m a girl, that I wear heels and wear dresses, and that I’m really girly.”
Being surprised by your favorite celebrities’ real life stature may not always be a pleasant experience. Sackhoff is no stranger to being rudely awakened to this reality and has since learned that personal interaction is the only way to judge, while also pointing to her newest co-star, Vin Diesel, with whom she shares the big screen in the new Riddick film, which is slated to arrive later this summer.
“I have these ideas of celebrities and think they’re going to be the nicest people in the world and you meet them and you’re like, 'You’re an asshole!' But as for Diesel, she says that having worked with the blockbuster actor-producer has proven he’s definitely one of the good guys. “So you never know what you’re going to get.”
Whether it’s the industry and lifestyle that’s to blame for these sometimes unfortunate truths is hard to tell. Sackhoff has managed to keep true to herself and prioritize the things that are most important to her. Balancing opportunity and personal life is something that she has begun to master.
Sackhoff shares the secret to staying sane with such a hectic work life and how to feel normal while under the spotlight: Have a healthy private life. She is currently engaged to her longtime boyfriend and film producer, Scott Niemeyer, making schedules even more complicated. Making time for the people that really matter is her number one focus.
“When you spend too long away from the people that you love, you start to— or at least I start to—retreat into my own self and I start to get depressed at work because you work long hours and you get tired,” she states. “And when you don’t connect with the people that matter to you, everything seems to get magnified. You get a little bit more tired, a little bit more stressed, a little bit more everything.”
Naturally, during her time away from the cameras, she likes to mellow out and be with her family and loved ones. Sackhoff admits that the only thing on her mind after spending so much time away from home is actually being home.
“My sheets seem to be crisper and colder and my room seems to be a little bit warmer than every place else I’ve ever been,” she says. “I love being home with my dog and actually being able to have time to take him to the park and not have it be a babysitter taking him to the park.”
Fans can rest assured knowing that Sackhoff’s desire to be a homebody when given the chance is in no way a permanent plan for her anytime soon.
“When I moved to California I never dreamed—I prayed that this would be my life—but I never actually dreamed that I’d have the opportunities that I have, and every job since that first job is just the icing on the cake.”
Sackhoff will continue to live the life she always wanted, just with a healthy amount of dog and nap time at home.
The season finale of Longmire airs July 29 on A&E.
**Editor's note: This is a portion of the article featured in the new issue of Variance. Read the full interview here.