INTERVIEW: Loren Lott opens up about joining Renegades: Ominara alongside fellow The Young and the Restless alum Nichelle Nichols

Posted Monday, February 08, 2021 11:14:34 AM

Renegades: Ominara is shaping up to be one hell of a can't-miss Trekkie experience, thanks to the addition of Loren Lott (ex-Ana Hamilton, The Young and the Restless), who tells Soap Central that she can't wait for fans to see her feisty new alter ego come to life on screen alongside Nichelle Nichols (ex-Lucinda Winters, Y&R).

The blessed life of actress Loren Lott has been filled to the brim with "pinch me" moments, from getting the chance to compete on American Idol in 2015 to being cast as The Young and the Restless' Ana Hamilton in 2018. Her latest "pinch me" moment has been joining the Star Trek world in the franchise's upcoming film, Renegades: Ominara, an origin story in which she plays the title character. As Soap Central previously reported, she shares the role with actress Nichelle Nichols -- who Star Trek fans know as Lt. Uhura but Y&R fans know as Lucinda Winters -- which means that the film will be an awesome and (literally) out-of-this-world experience for soap fans.

In a new interview with Soap Central, Loren Lott opens up about what it's been like for her to step into the shoes of "witty, slick, and cunning" Ominara; how it feels to share the screen with a legend like Nichols; and the surprise hidden talent that she's already had to call upon to play the dream role. She also shares why the cast members of Y&R mean so much to her and why her time on the CBS soap opera will always be close to her heart.

Soap Central: Congratulations on landing Ominara! You're officially part of the Star Trek world now, which must feel pretty surreal.

Loren Lott: Thank you very much! Yes, it's wild. It's definitely crazy to know that I'm now in Star Trek.

Soap Central: What was your previous experience with the Star Trek world? Were you a fan before you landed this role?

Lott: My introduction to Star Trek was in the movie Daddy Day Care, where they had a nerdy dude that was one of the day care dads. He was super into Star Trek and could speak Klingon, the language of Star Trek. And I was like, "Oh, this is a whole world!" And then, in other movies, I was introduced to the fans and how obsessive the fans are. So, I was like, "Oh, this thing is big!" [Laughs] Everybody has been warning me about how wild it's going to get once the Star Trek fans enter my life. I can't wait.

Soap Central: How did your part in this film come about, actually? Did they reach out to you?

Lott: What happened was, I got an audition, just like everybody else, and they said that they were looking for someone with a strong bone structure, someone with a specific face. And when I saw that, I was like, "Psh, I ain't getting that!" But I was like, "Okay, I'll audition, anyway, and try it out." So, I sent in a regular audition tape, and I didn't think it was that good, but one thing that I did do is I put on a waist trainer because they said they wanted her to be in great shape! [Laughs] So, I put on a waist trainer, and I put my clothes over the waist trainer, and it just snapped me in! I never thought that I'd get the role but then, one day, I was out by my pool, and they called me, and they were like, "So, Loren, how would you feel about being in Star Trek?" And I was like, "I think that would be cool." And they were like, "You got the role of Ominara in Renegades: Ominara," and I was like, "No, I didn't! There is no possible way! What do they want with me?!" [Laughs] I was freaked out. I was very excited.

Soap Central: What can you tease about the film and your character of Young Ominara?

Lott: She is kind of like the mom of her group -- it's her and her two best friends, and it's just the origin of how Ominara became Ominara. She's super brave, super determined, and very fearless. She's not afraid to stand up for herself, which I absolutely love. She's a boss already! Like, from the get-go. I mean, we watch her become more of that. We watch her go crazy! She's everything that I wish I could be.

Soap Central: You look so fierce in the promotional photos that you've shot.

Lott: Eeeeeeee! Yes! [Laughs] Ominara is witty and slick and cunning. She loves to outsmart people. She's very smart.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Loren Lott (@lorensharice)

Soap Central: Do you feel like it'll be a challenge at all to bring Ominara to life on-screen?

Lott: Not at all! I really feel like I was made for this particular role, and I love that I just get to completely become somebody that I'm not at all. She's a lot more serious than me; I'm super bubbly and I'm totally a goofball, and she's not, really. And I didn't even want to add that side to her. She's very fierce and she's grounded, and I love to bring that side to life, and I feel like I'm not struggling to bring that side to life because I've always wanted to be that person, anyway. I love that I get to become this whole other person and embody who I believe this character is. I also watched a lot of video of Ms. Nichols and how she portrayed the role and just how smooth she was and put together. So, I said, "Ooh, let me add sprinkles of that!"

Soap Central: Have you guys already started filming the movie?

Lott: We've only filmed a little bit so far, but we're coming back in March. So, we did start, and I did get to meet some of the other cast. I haven't met Ms. Nichols yet, but I got to meet some of the others.

Soap Central: Have you seen any of Nichelle's work on The Young and the Restless?

Lott: No, actually! When I got the role, [the publicist] from The Young and the Restless, Matt Kane, he hit me up and said, "So, you know, Nichelle Nichols was also on The Young and the Restless, so when this film comes out, this is going to be a thing, because you guys were both on the show." And I was like, "What?" [Laughs] This Young and the Restless world is so, well, not small, but it's so tight! I feel like with everybody, I'm like, "Oh, you were on a soap? Which one?" And they say, "The Young and the Restless," and I'm like, "What?!" [Laughs] So, I love that I'm going from one big world to the next big world. Both have cult followings, and I think that's so weird.

Soap Central: A lot of people compare Star Trek fans and soap opera fans, because there are so many similarities -- especially their level of passion!

Lott: I definitely agree. I've already been getting people sending me pictures of them in their Ominara outfits and in their Ohura outfits. It's very interesting already, so I want to make sure that I know everything that I'm supposed to know [about the history and the character] so that I don't let anybody down. And I'm going to try to make sure that I do my crunches! [Laughs]

Soap Central: I know your time on The Young and the Restless was cut a little bit short, but did you enjoy your time on the show and what you were able to do with the character of Ana?

Lott: I was, but I was definitely devastated when it was over. As any actor, when you sign a deal for three years, one year, six months, whatever it is, it's like, "Yay! I can work for some amount of time." So, for me to have to end my contract so early, I was like, "Daaang." But I was also excited because I knew that it meant that God had something else for me. So, I was ready to see what else he was going to lay out for my life.

Soap Central: Did you bond with any of your Y&R costars while you were on the show?

Lott: Oh, yes! Look, the whole Black storyline, listen, you know it's only a few of us... so, we got super close. We had a secret handshake and everything.

Soap Central: Really?

Lott: Yeah! [Laughs] It was really, really cool. It was exciting. We really did become family, and I think we're still family now. They reached out to me to congratulate me on Star Trek and were excited for me. Every so often, I get to see them. Of course, during COVID, not as much, but we did all come together with some of the other Y&R cast members to protest [as part of the Black Lives Matter movement]. They came to hear me sing, because I was singing at a few protests, and they came to support any protest that I was singing at. They've really been family to me.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Loren Lott (@lorensharice)

Soap Central: Would you ever go back to Y&R or do another soap opera if the opportunity arose?

Lott: Would I go back to The Young and the Restless?! Of course, I'd go! They're family. I love them. I had such a great time, and I really do love the soap fans. It's such an exclusive world full of millions of people [laughs]. They love so hard, so, yeah, I would do that again.

Soap Central: You've now done a singing competition show, a soap opera, films, stage work -- so much! Which of those experiences turned out exactly as you had imagined, and which were different than you imagined?

Lott: You know, when you spit my résumé back to me like that, you make me sound way cooler than I am, and I really appreciate you! [Laughs]

Soap Central: You've done a lot of great stuff! It's amazing.

Lott: I would say all of it [is what I expected], really. Being on Broadway, that is a dream come true for any theater kid, so that one was amazing. I prayed every day, and I thanked God every day for the opportunity to be able to be on Broadway. There aren't going to be many people who get to say that they've been on Broadway in their lifetime, but there are going to be a lot of people who dream of that, so, I was just grateful that I was able to make it within those few blocks of Broadway -- twice!... With Broadway, you can't just be pretty and be in shape and think that that is going to get you there; you have to put in the work. You have to be talented. You have to be able to sing and act and dance, and you have to have stamina. It's such a small world of those who will ever make it there, so, that makes me feel really good that years of working actually did lead me to Broadway. But Ominara made me feel amazing, too, because we were doing fighting scenes, and the fight scenes look so cool! And watching them back after we did them, I couldn't believe that it was me. I reached out to all my personal friends and was like, "Just so you know, I'm different now!" [Laughs]

Soap Central: Have you or will you do any fight training for Ominara?

Lott: You're supposed to, but they just kind of threw me out there, and they were grateful that it worked out. They said that usually it would take them hours of training [to get an actor ready for those shots], and we only had 20 minutes. Luckily, though, I grew up doing Tae Kwon Do and stuff, so I was able to just pull that out of my bag and do what needed to be done!

Soap Central: That's the perfect example of never knowing when you're going to be called on for one of your skills!

Lott: Right! Look, don't lie on your résumé and say you can skateboard if you can't skateboard, because one day, you will get a job, and they'll be like, "Great, now it's time!" [Laughs]

Soap Central: You posted on Instagram that you recently filmed a movie called Favorite Son. Did this Star Trek project come after you'd already filmed that?

Lott: No, actually, and that was such a thing. I almost wasn't able to do that movie because of Star Trek and because of COVID and stuff. Favorite Son was filming in Atlanta and Star Trek was filming in Burbank, at the studio, in their spaceship, and I almost wasn't able to work it out. But by the grace of God, I was able to do both. So, I filmed most of the movie and then went to film some of Star Trek and then came back to finish out the movie.

Soap Central: Wow, so you really were meant to play Ominara!

Lott: I'm telling you, Ominara was made for me. I'm telling you!

Soap Central: Favorite Son was directed by Robin Givens, who is another soap fave [ex-Dr. Phillips, The Bold and the Beautiful]. What was it like working with her?

Lott: Robin and I actually have a really deep history. She actually did a play a long time ago when I was in college called Joy in the Morning. She cast it all throughout Atlanta and was going to different schools to cast it, and she came to Clark Atlanta, which is where I went to school, and... I went to the audition, and I got the lead role in her show! So, that started our relationship of working together for I think like another two years -- as she was doing this show, she would call me to come back and play this role. She even took me to Bermuda for this show! We had a wild ride, and I just fell in love with her, and we definitely became family. So, of course, when this opportunity came up to work with her in this movie, I was like, "I have to do it." And, of course, behind the scenes, she was like, "Loren, you better work this out with Star Trek!" [Laughs] We had a lot of drama with trying to get this to work out, but literally, it was all God that it did.

Soap Central: Once you're done filming Ominara, do you have a plan of the next thing that you want to do?

Lott: Look, the world is my oyster! Literally, I don't even worry about stuff like that anymore. Ominara is the next thing I'm doing, and I just know that God is going to work everything out. He has a plan for me every single time -- even if it's been awhile since I've had a job, one comes at the perfect time, every single time. So, I just never have to worry. It's always going to work out, and I'm excited now, because with these credits under my belt, I know it opens even more doors. I'm really excited to see where God is placing me next and what these jobs are going to lead to. So, who knows! It's only the beginning of the year, and I'm getting to shoot on two films, and of course, I'm still doing auditions.

Soap Central: Your positive attitude helps, I'm sure! Positivity brings positivity, they say.

Lott: Oh, thank you! I love to be positive. You know how there is a chemical imbalance in people's brains when they have depression that makes you see the glass half empty? I think I have a chemical imbalance that makes me always see the glass half full. Because I have a lot of hope, always. I always have.

For more information about Renegades: Ominara and to find out how you can help support the project, check out the film's Kickstarter page. You can also watch a preview trailer featuring both Lott and Nichols below.

What do you think about our interview with Loren Lott? Are you looking forward to seeing her play Ominara alongside Star Trek legend/Y&R alum Nichelle Nichols? Would you like to see Lott's Ana come back to Y&R? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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