Interview: Adele Pomerenke Is One Of Star Trek’s Newest Stars, And She’s Hoping To Join Keanu Reeve’s Best Franchise
Most of the first season of Star Trek: Picard takes place divorced from the usual Trek setting of the Federation’s starships, but the season 2 premiere not only brought fans back to the bridge of a Starfleet vessel, but to one with a legendary name — the USS Stargazer. The Next Generation fans will no doubt recognize the name of the first ship Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) commanded. The updated version is commanded by the cigar-chomping Cristóbal Rios (Santiago Cabrera). Operating the helm of the Stargazer is Ensign Kemi, played by Adele Pomerenke. Kemi is a Haliian — a telepathic species introduced in the season 6 TNG episode “Aquiel.”
While Pomerenke wasn’t too familiar with Trek, she has family who are much bigger fans of the franchise, including her grandmother who, according to an interview with Heavy, had a bit of a crush on Patrick Stewart. Landing the role of Kemi prompted Adele Pomerenke to watch The Next Generation and become a fan. Unfortunately because of the events of the season 2 premiere — which, among other things, include Kemi and most of the Stargazer crew being overpowered by the Borg Queen — she can’t say whether or not we’ll be seeing her character again.
According to the bio on her website, Pomerenke’s career began not in front of the camera, but on the stage as a ballet dancer. The granddaughter of a retired New York Dancer, Adele Pomerenke began her ballet training when she was only 3-years-old. She landed her first contract with a ballet company in 2012, with the Dance Theatre of Tennessee. Living in Nashville plugged her into the music scene and helped her to land multiple parts in music videos, including a controversial turn as a stripper in Frankie Ballard’s “Cigarette.” She got her first speaking role in Michael Butts’ short film Hair of the Dog, which put her on the path to pursuing an acting career.
GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT was fortunate enough to get an interview with one of Star Trek‘s newest stars to talk about her experience on the set of Picard, the transition from ballet to acting, some of her hilarious social media posts, and her hopes to be a part of the upcoming John Wick spin-off Ballerina.
GFR: I read another interview you gave about how your grandfather and grandmother, I believe were big fans of Star Trek… And also that you got a chance to actually talk for a bit with Patrick Stewart. And my big question is, did you tell him your grandma had the hots for him?
ADELE POMERENKE: Oh no. No. No, I didn’t, I didn’t bring that up at all. I don’t know if my grandpa was as big as a fan of Star Trek, but my grandmother and my father, definitely were… I didn’t tell Patrick Stewart. We we mostly talked about ballet because he had asked me what I was going on to do afterwards and I was–actually at the time on set for Star Trek, I was getting back in shape after covid-19 lockdown down to do Nutcracker tour. So I was like, ‘Well I’m going on to do The Nutcracker tour.’… But I did think about [my grandmother’s infatuation], like, ‘oh maybe I should tell him.’ I was like, ‘No, that’s a weird first conversation. We’ll just stick to ballet. (Laughter)
GFR: What was he like?
ADELE POMERENKE: He’s very nice… I think he’s everything people imagine him to be. Polite, kind, just charming, just very friendly. I’ve had somebody once say that he reminded him of like a friendly grandpa. Very wise, just easy to talk to. And really good at this job. Of course.
GFR: Now clearly you’ve got plenty of geek cred… you’re into anime. I saw the video (below) where Sailor Moon was making you very emotional.
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@ampomerenke I legit cry EVERY. TIME.😭🌙 #anime #weeb #fypシ #foryou #sailormoon #emotional #mentalhealth #girlssupportgirls #imokay #feels #usagi ♬ original sound – Adele Pomerenke
ADELE POMERENKE: I’m really into Sailor Moon. I have been ever since I was a little kid. (laughter)
GFR: But I guess you were kind of new to Trek and you said that you watched it to prepare for the role. And I was a kid. I was curious about what you watched.
ADELE POMERENKE: I watched The Next Generation. I started right at the beginning, just watched through the show, as you know, I haven’t finished it. And I kind of remembered some of the episodes because I was real little when my dad was watching it, and my grandmother. And so, I would catch little glimpses of it… but I was like, ‘well, I need to watch this by myself and create my own thoughts about it.’… I’ve seen the newer Star Trek movies that came out recently within the past ten years, and I really like those a lot. I thought those were really well done. But… I felt like out of respect, you gotta know the old stuff, you know, you gotta appreciate it because that’s the foundation of it. And I was like, I’m not going to go into this character and not know my stuff because that’s just rude to the fans.
GFR: Absolutely. I’m curious if there was anything while you were watching… any character or any species that you saw and you were like, ‘oh, I want to play that’?
ADELE POMERENKE: Oh, that’s a good question. I’ve always liked the Orion personally. Oh, yeah, somebody mentioned that character to me before I got on Star Trek… I’m a dancer, right? So, of course, I want to be a character that dances and is painted entirely green. Like how fun is that?
GFR: Speaking of the dancing, I saw in another interview, you mentioned how like you worked out all of Kemi’s hand motions for the helm station, and you credited the dancer and choreographer in you for that. I was wondering if there were other more prominent ways that you feel like your dancing and choreography experience informed your role in the show.
ADELE POMERENKE: Yeah. I think it does on most sets I’m on, too. Well, Starfleet’s military, right? In a sense. I always say ballet is the military art form, you know, because it’s it’s very strict like that. There’s quite a regiment about ballet. I think just kind of being very proper and standing up tall, and having that good posture — ballet gave me and that seriousness… I was able to use that for a Starfleet… It’s kind of always been there for continuity. It’s helpful too, if I can just know which foot I start with when I step, or which way I look — left or right or up or down or tilt my head — and that comes naturally as a dancer. I’m lucky for that, because I can only imagine not having that foundation and having to constantly thinking about those little details.
GFR: I know you can’t say whether or not you’re going to be back because the big Borg scene at the end of the first episode was a big Cliffhanger. Do you want to be in more Star Trek?
ADELE POMERENKE: I do. I think I do. I I had a lot of fun with it and just it’s space. Space is so cool… I mean that’s just a little kid in me… Space is so cool… Of course I’d love to do more Star Trek and it was a really nice set to work on. I really enjoyed everybody that was involved… Even down to like the backgrounds that they cast, those people are big Trek fans. When everybody is just kind of geeking out on this thing that we all get to be a part of, that’s a really cool and fun environment to work in. I would love to do Star Trek again.
GFR: I watched an interview with Jeri Ryan and she was talking about how, for the production of Picard that there were more women — not just walk in front of the camera, but behind the camera. I think she said it was the very first time she’s actually worked with a female camera operator was on Star Trek card. I was wondering if that was your experience too.
ADELE POMERENKE: I saw that interview! It wasn’t the first time I worked with a female camera operator. I’ve been in a lot of female backed projects — where the director was female, the producer was female, the camera operator was female, the AD was female. So I was really shocked at that. It’s taken this long for there to be that many women and I’m so glad that it was on Star Trek. Cuz after I watched the interview too and I was like, ‘hey, I think she’s right. There was a lot of were a lot of women. A good amount.’ I’d say yeah, it was pretty equal grounds. There was lots of ladies involved and most of the people I dealt with all day long were the women. Yeah. Just getting stuff done.
GFR: I was even thinking after I watched that interview there seem to be as many if not more women in the cast than men. I mean, obviously the main character is a man but still there’s a lot of great women characters and actors in Picard.
ADELE POMERENKE: Yeah, and what do they say? Behind every great man is a strong woman. So no wonder Picard is so great. He has all these strong women… I noticed that as well, and I feel like I meet a lot of Trekkies lately and it’s the girls that fan out the hardest. Like, the hardest. I was shocked by that. Like, wow, there’s a lot of lot of chicks that really like Star Trek.
GFR: I’ve got to tell you at your TikTok (below) when you started going nuts about the squirrels during the self-taped auditions had me dying.
@ampomerenke gunna start sharing self tape fails #actor #FriendsReunion #onset #behindthescene #animals #foryou #fypシ #weird #audition #acting #rude #dead #wtf #k ♬ original sound – Adele Pomerenke
ADELE POMERENKE: Oh my God, it was crazy. I had never seen so many and I was renting a room from my friend at the time. It was almost a year ago. And there were just like a crazy amount of squirrels like and it’s not like there were giant oak trees or anything for them. It was like, what are what are you all doing here… And it’s funny because that audition — the character was kind of like this trailer trash girl, right? So, I already looked disgruntled a little bit and I’m in a flannel. Then I’m freaking out over squirrels, and I really just should have sent that in for the audition. (laughter)
GFR: How does it feel? Now that you’ve moved from the world of dancing to the world of acting? Do you feel like, I don’t know if the word comfortable fits, but you do, you feel like this is where you belong?
ADELE POMERENKE: That’s a good question. I do actually. I never thought about it… I was just going to be in the ballet the rest of my life and I — yeah, I feel very at home on set. I feel appreciated and I enjoy it a lot and I enjoy the work of it… t’s definitely, like I said, not anything I imagined I would be doing at all. But II still dance as much as I possibly can. It keeps me in shape and I love it. I’ll never be able to stop doing ballet and different dance forms. But yeah, I definitely feel at home on set. Sometimes I feel maybe a little more home at home on set now in a ballet company.
GFR: That’s great. Yeah, and by the way, I’m not fishing but the first thing I thought of when I learned about your ballet background was the group of ballet dancers in John Wick 3. And I believe there’s a spin-off on the way for the ballet dancer assassins.
ADELE POMERENKE: Yes. It’s called Ballerina. I have been following that since the announcement. If there was a dream role I just wanted an attempt at getting, that would definitely be it. It would be so cool. There were a couple of things in John Wick: Chapter 3 that I — I was like, ‘Come on. Come on.’ Somebody didn’t do their homework with ballet. It was a littlest things too, but I was like, ‘Come on, come on,’ you know? But I would love to. Just, you know — it’s a movie titled Ballerina. With assassins! Just give me something. You know, just something I’ll stand in the back. (laughter) I want to be in it so bad, and I’ve tried to reach out to them and get a hold of them, and I’m going to keep trying trying and we’ll see. Maybe I’m just being annoying and they’ve had enough of me. I don’t know. Maybe they don’t see my stuff at all. But yeah. That I’m actually really excited for.
We want to thank Adele Poemerenke for giving us the time and we hope the folks behind the John Wick spinoff take a look at her impressive body of work. In the meantime, if you want to find out whether or not she’ll make a return as Ensign Kemi, you can watch Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+. The second season’s seventh episode streams this Thursday.