Star Trek: Voyager's Kate Mulgrew on Inspiring New Generation of Female Leaders Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Since Star Trek: Voyager debuted in 1995, Kate Mulgrew has inspired fans worldwide as Capt. Kathryn Janeway. Many of the fans who were children in the 1990s are now taking over leadership positions in the world. For example, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when Voyager premiered. Now she’s the congresswoman representing New York’s 14th District. Ocasio-Cortez is a fan of Voyager and Janeway and was as surprised as anyone when Kate Mulgrew showed up to speak on her behalf at a campaign rally in 2018. Speaking to Trek Movie while on tour to promote her new memoir, How to Forget, Mulgrew recalled what that moment was like.

“Well, I’m a great fan of hers, and she of me,” Mulgrew says. “So I went out to her at one of her rallies in Queens, and I surprised her. Whoever was introducing her said, ‘And now, a person who Alexandria has known since she was a little girl, Captain Kathryn Janeway, Kate Mulgrew.’ And she gasped, she turned. And when I approached her, I think she kind of fell. It was one of those moments. And then when she said that when they lost their screen—they had bad reception in their house, and often the television was just black and white—she’d listen to it, like a radio show. And that was enough. I mean, the whole thing is marvelous.

“And look what she’s doing. I doubt that I had anything to do with that spirit, which is a remarkable one. But there is something about her confidence, the way she is scorching that indifferent earth that makes me think, ‘I wonder… I wonder if she plucked some of this from Voyager?’ And I hope she did.”

Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only one inspired by Mulgrew’s time playing Janeway. Former Georgia state representative Stacey Abrams is also on the record as being a Voyager fan and Janeway has long been held up as fictional inspiration for women entering STEM fields. But Janeway wasn’t the only female lead in the 1990s. Mulgrew also spoke to why she believes so many women latch onto Janeway over any of the other TV women of the era.

“You know why,” Mulgrew says. “Lost in space, alone. Got to get ’em home. Got to get ’em home. It’s the epic journey of the single female. And look what she’s doing in the House. It’s unprecedented, we have not seen this before in a woman of her youth. She’s untried, and she is stomping at the ground. I am electrified by this performance. May she maintain it. And she’s giving energy to a lot of the others, the Katie Porters, and the Abby Finkenauers of Iowa, she’s giving energy, she’s giving courage, she’s inspiring all of them. I think she’s probably even getting under Pelosi’s skin, do you know?


"Time to show everybody what we’ve got. And it’s so extravagant, isn’t it? I mean, I love men. I love them, and I wouldn’t want to live without them, but we have more than they have. Once we open that door and we admit that, and we let that stuff go, watch out!”

What do you think of Janeway as an inspiration for new leaders? Are you inspired by here? Let us know in the comments.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.