The Real Reason Marina Sirtis Was Humiliated By Her Star Trek: TNG Uniform

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

There are many reasons we recommend new fans beginning Star Trek: The Next Generation with season three, but one of the biggest ones is that the costumes for earlier seasons were a bit embarrassing. This was especially true for Marina Sirtis, as her Deanna Troi character often seemed like she was dressed more for a cheerleading competition (she even called it her “cosmic cheerleader” outfit) than interstellar exploration. In a tweet deleted once she left Twitter, the actor explained that her Star Trek uniform was humiliating because it forced her to keep her “knees glued together” so she didn’t accidentally flash the fans.

Humiliated By The Short Dress

Perhaps the only thing funnier about the way Marina Sirtis described her discomfort with this costume is the full context of why she mentioned it. Back when Paramount+ was still called CBS All Access, the official Twitter account for the network celebrated the anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation and they asked fans to shout out their favorite episode.

Chances are they never expected Marina Sirtis herself to respond, but the screenshot that CBS included ended up perfectly portraying how short her outfit really was.

The Skant Outfit

As hardcore Star Trek fans and cosplayers already know, this particular outfit is known as a “skant.” In the earlier seasons of The Next Generation, this outfit was an alternative to the traditional uniform. Nominally, this is a unisex uniform: we sometimes see male crewmembers wearing it, but they are typically background extras or minor characters; for the most part, if you saw a skant in an episode, it was Marina Sirtis who was wearing it.

The Many Outfits Of Deanna Troi

Weirdly enough, this was just one of many nonstandard uniforms that she wore across seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. There are plenty of narrative reasons Deanna Troi might eschew a normal uniform, including the fact that, as the ship’s counselor, she needed to put the crew at ease. Offscreen, the real reason she wore these outfits is that they were more revealing, giving the geeky sci-fi show some much-needed sex appeal.

The Actress Hated The Revealing Clothes

Marina Sirtis was never happy about wearing all of these revealing outfits in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but things were very nearly much, much worse. Franchise creator Gene Roddenberry originally wanted her Betazoid abilities to give her an insane libido, and he had to be talked down from giving the character three breasts. Later in the show, after Roddenberry died, Sirtis was able to get her dignity back via an unexpected plot development.

Marina Sirtis Gets Her Much-Deserved Starfleet Uniform

In the excellent two-part episode “Chain of Command,” we are introduced to a new temporary captain of the Enterprise: Edward Jellico. This feisty captain clashed with several members of the crew, most especially Commander Riker. At one point, though, he explicitly asks Troi to wear “a standard uniform” simply because he expects “a certain formality on the Bridge.”

Even after this episode, Marina Sirtis continued to sport her proper Star Trek uniform, and she later told the BBC that it changed how her character was written. Cheekily, she noted how the new uniform “covered up my cleavage and, consequently, I got all my brains back,” resulting in her being able “to do things that I hadn’t been allowed to do for five or six years” such as commanding crew members and using a phaser.

Mercifully, the cosmic cheerleader was no more, and anyone wanting to know what Deanna Troi had eaten for breakfast would have no choice but to check out her replicator history.

Spoilers: it’s mostly chocolate.

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