Daniela Sea - punk musician, performance artist and former juggler with a Polish traveling circus - will add TV star to her list when Showtime's lesbian-themed drama launches its third season Jan. 8.
"I've done a lot of crazy things in my life," says Sea, who grew up with hippie artist parents on the beach in Malibu, Calif. "This one ranks pretty high." On "L Word," Sea plays Moira, a mucho-macho computer techie from the Midwest and new girlfriend to Mia Kirshner's Jenny. Over the season's 12 episodes, Moira gradually morphs into Max. (Not a big stretch.) Androgyny is nothing new to Sea, 29. As a punk rocker, she and her band cross-dressed. At one point in her world travels, she lived in India for eight months ... as a man. "It wasn't something I planned," says the 5-foot-10, 130-pound champion surfer. "It evolved quickly when I realized what freedom I'd have. As a man, I could ask questions and walk around at night. I felt it would give me better access to the culture." She bound her breasts, oiled her cropped hair, and wore men's traditional clothing.
"I don't feel anyone suspected anything. I never felt threatened, like I do here. If I want to, people think I'm a boy. I'm a tomboy. I always wear boys' clothes. I don't have to try very hard one way or the other." When she decided to give acting a shot 18 months ago, Sea changed her surname to reflect her love of the ocean. She won't reveal her birth name, nor that of her partner, a female musician who goes by one word that rhymes with "itch." [L-word.com note: Her name is Bitch.]
"L Word" came together quickly for Sea. In April, her homemade audition tape was given to a producer by a friend of Sea's on the writing staff. She was asked to fly to L.A. for an audition. The next morning. After borrowing money from her roommate for the ticket and getting friends to cover her waitressing shifts, Sea got to the coast and nailed her audition. Production began in June. Sea and Leisha Hailey (Alice) are the only out lesbians in the ensemble cast. [L-word.com note: Kate Moenning has been out and about, literally and figuratively, with several girfriends over the past year, including Francesca Gregorini, Portia De Rossi's (now with Ellen DeGeneres) ex-. Both Mia Kirshner and Laurel Holloman have made comments about being bi-sexual.]
"This whole thing is unbelievable," Sea says. "Eighteen months ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to pursue acting. "I've observed all kinds of people for years. Now I'm using that toward acting."
Before India, she lived in Poland, where she hooked up with a traveling circus as a fire juggler. A TV series feels pretty tame by comparison, Sea says, "but it has its own kind of challenges. I may be sleeping in the same place every night, but I'm learning a craft. It's a different kind of adventure."
- "The L Word" (2004) TV Series .... Moia / Max (2006)