When Gigi Edgley was young, she fell in love with The Jim Henson Company movies like "The Dark Crystal," "Labyrinth," and of course, the Muppets.
So when she got the call to become a character on Jim Henson Production’s "Farscape" sci-fi show, she leaped at the opportunity.
"I was over the moon, literally," she said Wednesday on the veranda of her Salt Lake City hotel. She can’t wait for Salt Lake Comic Con to start Thursday, when she’ll be appearing in a spotlight panel. She loves meeting fans at conventions.
"There’s so much craziness and negativity in this world, but [conventions are] so refreshing and everyone’s there, and they’re celebrating stories that they’ve grown up loving their whole life," said Edgley, a woman who knows a thing or two about taking joy in childhood passions.
When it came to "Farscape," Edgley wanted to create a character "that made absolute sense … in the world of Jim Henson."
After her more than four years as the mischievous, blue-skinned Chiana, Edgley was invited to stay in the world she loved when she got an email asking her to host "Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge," a television competition between people to create the best puppets and animatronics. She said yes right away — and had to leave so quickly to get on set that she barely packed. "I was so happy and so excited," she said.
Once she was at the studio, the fan-turned-star got to peek behind the curtain of the world she, and millions of others, had adored.
"When I was learning my scripts, I was walking up the hallway in the ‘Creature Shop’… and it was so awesome," she said. "I’m looking at the making of Kermit the Frog and the beautiful stills from the ‘Labyrinth,’ and you walk through the creature shop … [Henson’s creations have been] such an integral part to so many people that I know from our childhood. This company has literally blessed and touched so many people."
Pepe the Shrimp, of all the Muppets, is her favorite. She points out how he’s basically a stick puppet with eyes, and yet audiences engage with him emotionally. His cheekiness, bravado and mannerisms have Edgley "absolutely rolling around on the floor, holding my belly wholeheartedly."
And that’s a perfect example of how amazing the Henson company is, she said.
"All the productions I’ve ever seen have been so well-written and the characters are so diverse and they really push the boundaries," she said. "[It’s] very whimsical and very magical and you can’t help but be drawn into the world of Jim Henson."
Now, Edgley wants to share her passion for that world with other fans. That’s why she’s always taking on other projects, like singing, producing, acting for the stage, directing or writing. She’s even produced her own comic, "Blue Shift," about a girl who gets abducted by aliens.
"I want to give something back to the fans, from my heart," she said.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.