Martha Quinn: back where she began at MTV, but still pursuing acting career

LET'S DO LUNCH

December 08, 1991|By Ryan Murphy | Ryan Murphy,Knight-Ridder News Service

Most young women look at baby-sitting as a part-time job. Martha Quinn has made it a full-time profession.

As one of the original VJs on MTV, Ms. Quinn helped usher in the video age, while entertaining millions of youngsters who devour the network along with their milk and cookies after school.

But MTV has grown up, and so has Ms. Quinn. After a short absence from introducing video clips and interviewing metalheads, Martha recently returned to the network in time to help blow out its 10 birthday candles. The spunkiest gal this side of Mary Hart, Ms. Quinn seems determined to do it all. Now she's juggling MTV duties with an acting career. Last year, she appeared in a revamped version of "The Brady Bunch."

Just before bounding out the door for acting class, Ms. Quinn talked about her changing image and Gandhi's eating habits, and revealed what Ann B. Davis does when she's not serving up the Bradys' chow.

Q: I judge, by looking at your new publicity shot, that we are seeing the emergence of a new, more glamorous Martha Quinn.

A: (Laughs.) Well, the whole thinking behind that is I've got the perky thing down. I have been America's girl next door for 10 years. But I can't do that forever. I mean, nothing against Bob Denver, God love him, because we all love Gilligan, but there's something kind of sad about the sight of seeing Bob Denver at 50 wearing that same old hat. And I don't want that.

Q: Does it bother you that most guys would rather play a game of catch with you than sleep with you?

A: No, 'cause that's always been my life! I say all the time, "I want to be silky, sensuous and alluring. Why aren't I?" I always get "perky and spunky." But I guess you gotta go with what you've got.

Q: What are your favorite and least favorite MTV videos?

A: They both change constantly. Like, you know how your favorite song always changes? One minute I'll say my favorite song of all time is "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band, and sometimes I'll say AC/DC's "Back in Black." So my favorite video of all time -- right now

least -- is probably Van Halen's "Jump," because it's real simple, it's just them onstage having a good time, they're really charismatic, and it's a cool little song. And the worst would have to be this one by Joan Armatrading. I can't remember what the title was. She did the whole thing on a revolving ride in a playground. It was nauseating, and if you watched it you got sick because the camera was constantly spinning in circles. I love Joan Armatrading, so it was a double whammy of disappointment.

Q: Would you slither on your belly on all fours toward a bowl of cream, as Madonna did in the "Express Yourself" video?

A: Sure, I'd do it if I could have Madonna's millions. But remember, nobody made her do that -- she was crawling on her belly because she wanted to, not because a man was making her. You've gotta admire that!

Q: How has MTV, in your opinion, changed the world?

A: MTV is in 77 countries and 201 million homes. It's an amazing testament to the universal power of music. I think in a way that that singular factor -- that it's a common thread around the world -- will help unite the world. It's a peace pacifier for sure.

Q: Weren't you fired at one point, along with MTV's other original VJs?

A: No, none of us were fired. After five years our contracts were up, and we looked at each other and said, "Well, it's time to move on." No move was made on either side to renew. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my acting career, and got the Brady show, and did a Domino's Pizza commercial and a Sprite commercial. And they said around a year ago, "Why don't you come back?" So I said sure.

Q: Why are you the only one of the original crew to be asked back?

A: I don't know how to explain it. I guess it just goes to show that spunk has longevity.

Q: You are a vegetarian, and an animal rights activist?

A: Right.

Q: Can you pinpoint the moment you decided to give up the meat life?

A: Well, I was on Santa Monica pier, and I saw this guy catch a fish, about 10 inches long. And he reeled it up, and it was struggling and flipping and flapping and was so miserable. And I said to myself, "That's it. I just don't want to do it anymore." I just decided I didn't want to partake in the eating of any more dead animals. And I used to go to In and Out Burger like everybody else.

Q: Do you feel healthier?

A: Not necessarily, because I'm a terrible vegetarian. A vegetarian dinner for me is a bag of potato chips and a glass of lemonade. So I'm not killing any animals, just myself!

Q: Would you eat a pork chop for peace?

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