How to Boldly Move On

Star Trek fans know Deep Space Nine actor Nana Visitor as the officer who suffered personal trauma on her home planet Bajor. When that narrative played out in her own life during the show’s filming, she turned to mindfulness.

Photos by Blake Farrington

Actor Nana Visitor, 61, has been in “the biz” her whole life. Her aunt was the actor and dancer Cyd Charisse; her father, Robert Tucker, was an esteemed choreographer; and she was married to fellow actor Alexander Siddig. She is well known for her roles playing Major Kira Nerys in the long-running television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) and on Broadway as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago. Behind the scenes, however, Nana struggled for years from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from a brutal attack in 1994, when, while driving home from the film set, she was abducted at gunpoint by two men and sexually assaulted.

 Mindful spoke with the veteran actor and mother of two about her journey through show business, using mindfulness to heal emotional wounds, and her desire to share this practice with her fellow actors.

Nana Visitor

Mindful: How did you get into mindfulness?

Nana Visitor: I actually started meditation when I was five years old. When things would get weird at my house—it was a very chaotic family—I’d go into the closet and I’d send my mind somewhere else. That’s how I thought of it: sending my mind up. And I found comfort from that. So I would do that regularly when I was in trouble or when I wanted to escape what was happening. But real mindfulness started about five years ago, as a way to deal with issues that had arisen in my life.

And these issues were related to the assault you had experienced almost 20 years earlier?

After that experience, I went back to work on DS9, so I never, ever dealt with it. Never. And the doctors just gave me medication, of course. They did the best they knew how to do, but it was the worst. The medications just made everything so much worse. But I just muscled through, focusing on my career and my children. It was whenever I moved back to New York City, six years ago, that everything seemed to come to a head. I had become an empty nester, and I felt like all my personal relationships and career were shutting down. I was really tired of being on all the medications and felt suicidal. That’s when I turned to a