Soap Opera Digest - 3/11/97

Brown-ie Points
A former Power Ranger scores big as General Hospital's resident vixen

By Alan Carter

[note: this article incorrectly identified Sarah as Kimberly on Power Rangers, instead of Kaitlin on VR Troopers; it was corrected in a later issue]

Long before playing manipulative sex kitten Carly Roberts on General Hospital, actress Sarah Brown was widely known to kids as the goody-two-shoes Pink Ranger, Kimberly, on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. "That role was very far from who I am," says Brown, laughing. "I mean, I'm a much darker person. I have a dark soul. My mother wanted me to play with dolls and frilly stuff and wear bonnets, but that's not me. She had to read Dracula and put me to bed. I was always more into Edgar Allan Poe than Barbie. My mother would give me Barbies and I would cut their heads off."

Is it any wonder that this 22-year-old dark soul would end up as an actress who is quickly becoming one of soap's most-talked-about young leading ladies and one of daytime's best bad girls? TV Guide columnist Michael Logan called her one of the soap finds of 1996. And the audience clearly agrees.

Last April, Carly arrived in Port Charles with the not-so-well-kept secret that she's Bobbie's daughter. She proceeded to wreck a few lives (not to mention bedding Bobbie's hubby, Tony) and make more than a few of the people at the hospital ill. Still, Brown thinks Carly is simply misunderstood. "I don't' think she's bad. I think she's human," defends the actress, before pausing. "Okay, when you think about some of the things she's done, she bad. She's a slut and she's feisty. But she's a fighter like me."

That's not where the similarities end. "We're both survivors. We speak our minds. And while I'm not manipulative, I understand about standing up for yourself," she laughs mischeviously. "And I also need it three times a day. My poor boyfriend."

Brown makes jokes, but she clearly takes her craft very seriously. She even carries a journal around with her in which she jots down ideas on who Carly is. "It helped me connect innately to where this woman was coming from," Brown explains. Acting, she is good at. Knowing where Carly is now? No problem. But attention to detail? Knowing where Sarah is going? Not her strong suit. Brown suggested we meet over breakfast at Los Angeles's Joe's Cafe...only she meant Art's Deli. "Well, I knew it was a man's name," she offers sheepishly. From anyone else, that faux pas might not be so endearing, but Brown has a way of charming and disarming. And unlike many Hollywood types who eat like birds, Brown orders a bagel, oatmeal, and pancakes. Her workout regimen- she is a devoted gymnast who goes to the gym several times a week- keeps her in fighting shape. "I'm not one of those actresses who's into starving myself," she says matter-of-factly, "or into fake boobs and things. Please. I grew up in a hippie commune. I have a life."

That's something of an understatement. Classically trained in performing arts schools, Brown found herself after graduation going from performing Antigone to kids' shows like VR Troopers, the aforementioned Power Rangers, and Sweet Valley High. "Hey, I'd put on a chicken outfit to pay the bills," she shrugs. Raised in California by what she calls "rather bohemian parents," Brown attended no fewer than 13 schools before high school. She moved so much that a friend from one of the four high schools she attended spread the rumor that she was "in the witness protection program." A smiling Brown says, "To a kid, all that moving around is awful. But I credit all of that with making me a good actress. It made me a chameleon. Just jump in and go with the situation. It's been said, but it's true: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I've always felt that way."

That philosophy came in most handy last May 11, when an apartment fire destroyed everything she owned, save for the cross she now wears around her neck. "Before the fire," says Brown, "I was like, 'God who?' Now I never take it off." The apartment was in trendy and largely gay West Hollywood. ("Do you know how depressing it was to sit by the pool for three hours and all these great-looking guys would be there and not one of them would notice?" she jokes.) Brown now lives with her mom up in the equally trendy but more single-straight-woman-friendly San Fernando Valley.

Brown's dad is also supportive. "He goes into the supermarket and finds the soap magazines and shows people my picture and says, 'That's my little girl,'" she smirks, slightly embarrassed. "And he goes into Toys 'R' Us and points at the Rangers and says, 'That's my daughter.' It's so sweet. But I tell him, 'Dad, you just have to stop doing that.' He's my biggest fan."

Actually, he's just one of many.

Not a Friendly Fire

In addition to losing everything she owned- including some of her hair- in the fire (attributed to a wiring problem), Brown was worried about her dog (he's fine now, but was severely burned) and possibly losing her job, too. "I was on the show a little more than a month. The fire happened on a Saturday and I had to work on Monday. And all my scripts burned. I called Wendy [Riche, GH's executive producer] and said, 'What do I do?' She was so great to me. I didn't miss one day of work. And the fire taught me a valuable lesson. All the stuff you own, it really doesn't matter. Life is a lot more important."

Just the Facts

Birthday: February 18
Name that Tune: "I play the guitar, but I've smoked for 11 years, so I can't carry a tune to save my life."
Tune that Name: "A lot of agents said, 'Sarah Brown? Can you come up with something more starlike?' But it's who I am."
I'm Not Carly: "I'm this overly friendly person. It took a while to get used to waitresses calling me 'bitch.'"
Lights, Camera, Action: "From the time I was 8, I wanted to direct."

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