Why did Virginia Hey leave Farscape?


Frelling Wicked
Oct 8, 2000
I don't really know the "down and dirty" as to why Virginia Hey left Farscape. There was much gossip (and crying :crying:) when she left, but I thought you'd be interested in her own words when asked why she left (I don't know how long ago this was written):

WHY DID I LEAVE FARSCAPE? Now to address the most important questions on Farscape fan's minds... Am I coming back to the TV series? "I don't know" is the short answer. Please don't take any notice of rumours on the bboard or anywhere else, the only accuracy will be from me, NO ONE ELSE! Its astonishing to read all the suppositions.. Rule of thumb = If it is about me and not from my mouth, then don't necessarily believe it!!

No, it has nothing to do with the contact lenses No, I don't have cancer (GOD FORBID!!) OK.. Here we go.. As you know I shaved off my long blonde hair AND my eyebrows to bring Zhaan to life, it was a huge sacrifice that was like a religious initiation to me. The way I justified it was to see this dedication as part of the spiritual discipline. I DID give my outward femininity up to devote my inner spirit to this beautiful and enlightened creation, "Zhaan".

Nobody but me could ever imagine what that was like, many friends and work associates presumed that it was a simple superficial thing to do, it was an acting job requirement and that it was of absolutely no consequence whatsoever. LOL! I beg to differ. LOL! I challenge them to do the same for 3 years!! Hee Hee. Actually it was the hardest thing I've done in my life to sacrifice my human femininity permanently for years on end. But the great news is, now I feel I've paid my dues, I have strengthened as an actress as a result of the complexities of playing "Zhaan", and I have strengthened as a person as a result of the strict discipline. I feel now I belong to the acting profession as an equal to all those who are very serious about their craft.

Yes it was difficult every day, but Zhaan was a glorious gift, a lesson and a challenge! As Zhaan grew, I grew! Zhaan was a very complicated character, not only majestically pure, beautiful and regal, but also complex in her alien reasoning and motivation. She delighted in stimulating all her senses; her spiritual sense connection, her tactile senses, her cerebral senses and magical wonder and curiosity and adoration for all things living. No wonder I am IN LOVE with her..

Of course the workload is exhausting for all of us regardless of youth, every actor is used to very long hours and little sleep, its part of the job of being a working actor.. And we love it.. But the REAL deciding factor for me was, not only loosing my "human" femininity for years on end, but the pressure and adverse physical affect of the extra long hours due to the prosthetic procedure. I was facing a crucial decision.

The crunch I am deeply in love with this mystical beauty "Zhaan" as you all know, but she was starting to overcome Virginia. Over the 3 years my body could not cope with the chemicals and was weakened, it couldn't cleanse properly due to the relentless hours and very little sleep. My "altered appearance" meant that I could not ever escape the character and get away at the end of the work day.. In our fictitious fantasy world "Zhaan" was a rare beauty, but in our human world I looked more alien out of make up than I did in it! LOL!

I approached our wonderful team of producers and writers and we tried to work out a solution. They love Zhaan as much as I do and would not EVER want to discard her, she is a great love to The Jim Henson Company and the Sci-Fi Channel. The ultimate decision was mine.

There were many options of course, but during the 6 month hiatus last year my hair started to grow and I felt alive with femininity and health for the first time in 3 years! I asked for a limited involvement and a baldcap so my hair could grow back, I agreed to keep my hair short under it to make the cap sit smoothly. My request was to reduce my involvement to say 6 or 8 episodes each season so my body could cope and heal.. I did NOT want to leave permanently.

I feel so sad for our beautiful writers and producers, they put as much of their lives and souls into Zhaan as I did, after all, they invented and built the spiritual, complex, exquisite beauty with all the complexities and magic of THEIR inner beauty, I merely stepped into what they created and added my soul..

I have much to be grateful to Farscape for. Thank you Rockne S O'Bannon, Brian Henson, David Kemper and Andrew Prowse for teaching me so much, and allowing me to breathe my soul into such a remarkable character.

I know its a long shot, but if I could be be presented as a a human looking Zhaan I would not ever leave Farscape for the rest of my life!


Stinkin Human
May 12, 2003
Yeah I was kind of depressed when she left. I mean who else could play an intellegent carnivorus plant.


Save Angel!
Jun 13, 2001
I haven't really watched that much post-Zhan Farscape, but I really miss her prescence in those episodes I have seen without her. She seemed to be a much needed voice of reason.


New Member
Aug 28, 2015
I created an account here just so I could leave a comment in response to what Virginia Hey said, although I know she would probably never see it. I just thought that it was really awesome of her to actually take the time to write an explanation for the fans to why she left, one that wasn't just a typical actor party line that never satisfies your curiosity or helps you to understand why they really left. I know that they have to be careful not to damage their careers. You can't say, 'Oh hated working with those people' or 'The producers were horrible' or something like that, then other people won't want to hire you because they think you'll spread bad publicity. I get the feeling that she genuinely wanted people to understand, that she genuinely loved her work there and the people she worked with and that she had genuine personal reasons that needed seeing to. Real life should always come first. I think she's just a very genuine person. That's what I feel from her words here and that's the feeling I got from how she portrayed Zhaan. I actually haven't even gotten to that episode though. I know it's going to break my heart and I know I'm going to miss her. Usually I try to avoid spoilers but I'm actually glad that I got the heads up in a way. I don't think it will take away from the impact or make it any less shocking or emotional for me. It will however give me the opportunity to savor her presence on the show for the few episodes I have left with her. I'm at the part where they're pulling the bank heist. I hope the new crazy Stark stays for awhile. Off to finish the rest of the episode and try to avoid anymore spoilers! Thanks to past Virginia Hey for writing this. Going to look up present Virginia Hey and see what she's up to.