Jailed and Treated like an Alien Just for Being a Punk; GILLIAN CHANGES FROM TEENAGE REBEL TO SCI-FI SEX SYMBOL

By Carey, Tanith | The Mirror (London, England), May 20, 1996 | Go to article overview

Jailed and Treated like an Alien Just for Being a Punk; GILLIAN CHANGES FROM TEENAGE REBEL TO SCI-FI SEX SYMBOL


Carey, Tanith, The Mirror (London, England)


As FBI agent Dana Scully in cult show The X Files, Gillian Anderson is cool, chic and sophisticated.

Yet there was a time Gillian looked more like a visitor from outer space than the aliens she investigates in the spooky series.

Gillian's punk looks and outrageous behaviour scandalised the sleepy American town where she grew up. Now the Mirror can reveal how the 27- year-old sci-fi sex symbol:

Was voted Most Bizarre Girl, Class Clown and Most Likely To Go Bald at school because of her weird hairstyles.

Found herself in a police cell for vandalising her school.

Sang with a punk band while blindfolded and decked out in a wedding dress.

Used to swear at passers-by.

Terrorised teachers by putting worms in their shoes.

Fell for a 21-year-old punk singer when she was just 14.

Got her first acting break in an acne-cream commercial.

Gillian - who presents the nine-part, BBC science series Future Fantastic next month - and her X Files partner Mulder (David Duchovny) are always on the right side of the law.

But it was a different story the night she ended up behind bars when a high school graduation prank backfired.

Old pal Joe Krider says: "We decided to glue all the doors shut and watch the kids get locked out the next morning. We were pouring in the glue when a police car drove by and spotted us. Everyone scattered, but Gillian was wearing high heels and the cops got hold of her.

"Later we got a call from her in jail saying she needed bailing out. She was pretty shaken."

Gillian got off this time, but her drama teacher reveals the stunt almost cost her a place at a prestigious drama school.

Jo Anne Peterson says: "I found Gillian sobbing her heart out outside my class. The principal told her that he would take away her diploma if she did not snitch on her friends.

"But she refused because she had such strength of character." Gillian shocked the town of Grand Rapids, Michigan with her scruffy clothes, nose stud and punk hairstyles. Her image was so outlandish that ex-school pals later failed to recognise her on television.

Joe Krider says: "I could hardly believe it was her - she'd been cleaned up so much."

Another school pal, Greg Metz, 28, says: "Gillian was a rebel. In an ultra right-wing town like Grand Rapids, she was picked out as a trouble- maker. She had a hard image and she gave the teachers sh**. She could be a bitch and she had a bad attitude. If she didn't like a teacher's dress, she came right out and said it. She really had balls."

Gillian was born in Chicago on August 9, 1969. When she was two, her hippy-style parents Ed and Rosemary moved to England.

There she went to primary school in Crouch End, North London while her mum worked as a computer operator for the Mirror and her dad went to film school. At 11, Gillian moved back to the US with her parents.

Bullied for her English accent, she felt like an outsider in the town she dubbed "Bland Rapids".

On a return visit to London two years later, Gillian found a way to challenge the system after falling in love with the New Wave music scene. When she returned, she had been transformed into a punk princess complete with black lipstick. She also experimented by dying her ash-blonde locks purple. Later she stopped washing it and grew dreadlocks.

One pal says: "It was quite a transformation in a town where if you wore ripped jeans, rednecks were likely to shout out abuse at you from a passing truck. Grand Rapids is full of churches and not much else. …

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