Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Erin Daniels on Life after the L Word: Fans Are Mourning Dana Fairbanks-But We Still Have Erin Daniels, the Actress Who Made the L Word's Dana Come Alive. an Advocate Exclusive Interview

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Erin Daniels on Life after the L Word: Fans Are Mourning Dana Fairbanks-But We Still Have Erin Daniels, the Actress Who Made the L Word's Dana Come Alive. an Advocate Exclusive Interview

Article excerpt

From the moment she first exchanged sardonic quips with Alice and Shane in the Planet, tennis player Dana Fairbanks emerged as one of the most beloved characters on The L Word, in no small part due to the courage, intelligence, and impeccable comic timing of actress Erin Daniels. Dana's death from breast cancer on March 12--in one of TV's most honest depictions ever felt as shockingly real and devastating as losing a best friend. Daniels spoke to The Advocate about the poignant experience of being Dana Fairbanks and the heart-wrenching process of saying goodbye.

What is it like for you, Erin Daniels, to say goodbye to Dana Fairbanks, after inhabiting her tennis shoes for three seasons?

When Ilene [Chaiken] told me that Dana was going to die of breast cancer [back in March 2005], it was like going to the doctor with your best friend and hearing the doctor tell you she has nine months to live. So I knew that I had a time limit to get everything that I could out of it. Dana is a part of me. It felt like I was experiencing the slow death of a best friend, and of course that was really painful because I'd become so attached to her. I knew her better than anybody else, and I still do and always will.

Seeing Dana bald and sick was a shock. What was it like for you?

It was absolutely bizarre. It was a long process to put on the bald cap and the prosthetics, so I had time to get used to it. I think it was most surreal for the cast and crew, who stared and gasped when they saw me in my bald cap and makeup. It was very interesting to see how people treated me, even though they knew it was fake: They treated me as if I were sick.

We've witnessed Dana come out to her conservative Republican parents, fall in and out of love with a soup chef, a publicist, and even her best friend. And soon after she wins a national tennis championship, she loses her battle with breast cancer. What was the hardest part about being Dana?

Having her have breast cancer has been the biggest challenge I've ever had as an actor but also one of the most rewarding, because it was so hard on many levels and I was so proud to be doing it. I hope I did it justice. As the episodes were airing, my parents would actually call afterward and say, "We just needed to hear your voice." But when I was working on it, I definitely felt like I was in character, researching and living that cancer research for a long time. And because it was tied in with my leaving, there were moments on set when I would be reflective and look around me and take it in because I knew my time there wasn't going to last much longer, and it would kick up the sadness a notch.

I can imagine.

The coming-out-of-the-closet story line was my favorite, however, because it was also incredibly challenging in a different way. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.