In a way, the first episode of “Star Trek: Picard,” Season 2, was the beginning of the end. Those very first scenes aboard the new U.S.S. Stargazer were a disaster for Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). The admiral watched the crew of the ship get picked off one by one by the Borg standing on the bridge.
As Captain Cristóbal Rios (Santiago Cabrera), Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), and Picard looked on, members of the Stargazer crew fought the Borg Queen as she took over the ship. This included the young Haliian helmsman, Ensign Kemi, who bravely used her phaser to defend the ship.
Ensign Kemi, billed as one of the youngest members of Captain Rios’ crew, was portrayed by actress Adele Pomerenke. Heavy was able to talk with Pomerenke about her experiences on “Picard” and how she became part of the crew of a Starfleet vessel.
Pomerenke is a native of Washington State, and her first love is ballet. As she started in show business, she intended to perform in ballet full time. But circumstances changed for Pomerenke, and she found her way into acting.
The Borg Queen takes the Stargazer
While working in ballet in Nashville, she was finding work but wanted something more permanent. She met an agent, who she thought, would be able to connect her with more dance jobs or modeling gigs.
“But then, I wound up getting cast in a movie in Los Angeles with Kevin Sorbo… and I flew here to do it,” said Pomerenke. “And then I thought… I was going to take this as a sign that maybe I should try the L.A./Hollywood thing for a bit.”
She said that it’s a thrill to get to work on a show like “Star Trek” and especially on “Picard” because her father and grandmother were diehard fans of “The Next Generation.” Pomerenke’s grandmother, who also was a professionally trained dancer, was a huge fan of Stewart.
“She really had the hots for Patrick Stewart,” said Pomerenke with a laugh. “It was on [TV when I was growing up], and I was around it a lot. My dad also really liked the movies. I knew about [Trek].”
“So when I got the role, I thought, ‘I am going to watch this show,’” said Pomerenke. “I decided that I was going to watch this show because I didn’t want to go into the role and not know anything. I wanted to be respectful of the big Trekkies out there. But then I got really into it!”
Pomerenke admitted that she also likes “Star Wars” and other science fiction shows and movies involving space travel. So it was special for her to start her Trek career on the very realistic set for the Stargazer. She said fans might be surprised at how many practical effects there actually were. Not everything was added later with computer graphics.
Ensign Kemi the Dancer
“This set did not make [getting into the scene] difficult,” said Pomerenke. “They built a real, giant, frikking ship! And I walked onto it, and I gasped. ‘Holy crap!’ So I’m the helmsman, and I’m flying the ship, and instead of making it a green screen, they put a whole computer monitor [in the console]. Someone was changing the screen around backstage, and things flash at certain times.”
“So, that helped a lot,” said Pomerenke. “This set had a lot going on. With the Borg Queen, she did have all her tentacles flying out everywhere. They made a couple in FX and props… and that looked pretty cool and realistic.”
Pomerenke said that while she was at the helm, she created the button patterns for Rios’s various commands during the scene. They were thought out and not random moves.
“I guess that’s the dancer in me,” said Pomerenke. “I choreographed what I was going to do when Rios or Seven of Nine said something.”
The Penitent Thief
Pomerenke said that Cabrera was quiet when he was not portraying Captain Rios, but Stewart was very friendly as they shared a few moments.
“It was awesome [working with Stewart],” said Pomerenke. “He gave me a compliment when I did my little stunt… when I threw myself on the ground. So that was nice.”
Pomerenke said that she and Stewart talked about ballet when the cameras were not rolling.
“He’s quite the fan of [ballet],” said Pomerenke. “His wife, I believe, in the past, she was a ballerina. It was nice to get to talk to him — not even about acting or work. My grandmother would have appreciated that conversation. He just kicks so much ass on set!”
While Pomerenke is impressed by the actors on set and the crew she worked alongside, there was one other person who helped set the tone for her on “Picard.” That was co-showrunner Terry Matalas. Pomerenke said that he welcomed her onto the set and took the time to introduce her to Stewart.
“We both have the same horrible, dry sense of humor,” Pomerenke said of Matalas, who she jokingly called “The King of the Nerds.”
Dance Mix: Adele Pomerenke
“He’s super cool and really down to earth,” said Pomerenke. She won’t say one way or the other if fans will see Ensign Kemi on “Star Trek” in the future, as the character was one of the many who the Borg Queen shot.
For now, Pomerenke said that she’s involved in a few non-Trek projects, for which she can’t reveal much. She did say that she frequently posts on her Instagram feed and often hints at what she’s working on there. One of those things she’s always working on is her ballet. Job or no, she tries to dance every single day.
“Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to play a ballerina in a movie or a show,” Pomerenke said.
“I still take a class and practice five days a week — keeping myself in shape,” said Pomerenke. “I can’t just stop doing it.