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Rachel True, Big Witch on Campus

The actress on bulimia, playing WONDER WOMAN and THE CRAFT

By Paul Zimmerman     May 03, 2002

Rachel True
© 2002 WireImage.com

In THE CRAFT, Rachel True played one of four teenage witches that made high school quite literally hell on earth. In the new thriller NEW BEST FRIEND, True plays one of four bitches that makes college hell on campus. At least she's getting an education.

As Julianne, a pill popping, bi-sexual bulimic, who divides her studies between drugs, puking and lip locking with Dominique Swain, True gets the kind of university education you'd expect goes on in today's WILD ON generation.

Rachel True

Along with her nasty, albeit beautiful and popular, partners Hadley (DAWSON'S CREEK's Meredith Monroe) and Sidney (LOLITA's Dominique Swain), these three campus coeds make new girl in town Alicia (CROW: CITY OF ANGELS' Mia Kirshner) first part of their elite group and then their enemy. But what starts as a frantic episode of DAWSON'S CREEK grows deadly when Alicia turns the tables on the three fictitious Carolina University vixens.

Being an outsider looking in is a role True once played in real life not that she was rich and privileged like the characters in NEW BEST FRIEND.

"I was mixed up middle class," explains True who was raised by a white father and a black mother. "A middle class upbringing and then my parents moved to upstate New York when I was about 11. So I ended going to an all white kindergarten through 12th grade high school that was all white. In fact, the whole tri-county area was white except for my brother, my step mom, and me. We were the first."

Being a pioneer in any area can be rough. For True it was also mildly funny.

"My brother sucked at basketball, I was awful at track, so they were really disappointed in us," True laughs. "And I think it freaked them out on another level because we were really smart. I got the highest SAT scores the school had ever got and they weren't that high. I think they were kind of annoyed that this sort of interloper had come in and outdone them."

Fortunately, acting was in her genes.

Dominique Swain leads the cast of NEW BEST FRIEND

"My stepmother was an actress and when I was younger and we lived in NY City, I would be in the back of theaters running around," True explains. "I was always around it and didn't know I was going to necessarily do it because I was a really shy kid and really quiet and just sort of read books and played with my horses. When I went upstate and got into high school, I tried to start a theater company and not make it all about race because nobody talks about it at all anymore. It seems like I'm on a soapbox and I'm not; it's just my reality."

Unfortunately some stereotypes die hard, especially out in rural areas.

"I tried to start a theater company and we were going to do THE MIRACLE WORKER and they wouldn't let me be a blind kid. They said I had to be the maid! (Laughs) I didn't want to be Helen [Keller]; I just wanted to be a blind girl. And they wouldn't so in the end I kind of scraped it, the whole idea. And I remember, I came home and said, 'I guess I'm going to have to write my own parts.' And I still think that's true."

Now, having stared in a number of genre films, True finds different groups recognize her, a fact that clearly cracks her up.

"I've always been in these weird kind of culty movies," she says appreciatively. "All kind of specific and culty and they all have their big fan base. One of the last ones I had out was GROOVE, which was a rave movie, and so little ravers come up with their little glow in the dark sticks and talk to me. And I did a pot movie called HALF-BAKED and I can't tell you how many stoner boys try and hug me. And then with THE CRAFT quite a few young Wiccans have given me hemp bracelets. They're all silly off the center projects, but I like that they've sort of garnered their own little base."


To play the troubled Julianne, True spent most of her time and scenes with her on screen lover played by Swain.

"We're kind of sidekicks and I loved it," True says of her co-star. "She's great. Fabulous girl. I didn't know what to expect because I'd done a movie [THE CRAFT] before with four other girls and had been really excited because I thought it was going to be really fun. And sometimes it is and sometimes it's not. So I was a little more cautious coming into this one having had that experience."

And what of her research playing a mentally unstable bulimic?

"I feel [the best research was] just being an American girl," True laughs. "All you really have to do is talk to yourself, your friends; I'd say 99% of the girls I know have been through something along those lines whether it's anorexia or bulimia. And I thought it was kind of neat that they had someone like me playing the bulimic who isn't anorexic who's kind of a curvy girl because being bulimic is a separate thing from anorexic. A lot of bulimics are a 'normal weight' and don't look like they're running to the bathroom to throw up. But they are because it's a control issue. So, did I do any deep research? No. Just growing up American pretty much did it for me."

So having traveled across genres, sexual preferences, religions and campuses the actress now has her sights set on some dream roles.

"I think every girl says this now," she says laughing harder before drawing a deep breath. "But I would love to run around and save the world. I was talking to a Canadian friend about the WONDER WOMAN movie going, 'I'd love to be Wonder Woman,' and she didn't have the American perspective on it that I do. It's Wonder Woman! Woman of Wonder!! That would be really exciting to me to be Wonder Woman. Plus, I love mythology. I loved MISTS OF AVALON thought it was a great book and a pretty good [television mini series] adaptation, thought the lead girl [Julianna Margulies] was really good. I want to be in that! In costumes running around!"


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