When I first contacted Rebekah Herzberg (aka “Your Friendly Neighborhood Jewish Girl”) about doing an interview for a feature here, she immediately said yes before even giving me a chance to show that I wasn’t just some hack. At first, it gave me a good feeling because I thought the immediate “sure” I got from her was because she already knew who I was ….but she told me she would have said yes, regardless. And no, despite the fact that it rhymes, I didn’t consider titling this piece “Interview with my Very First Jew.”
In addition to being a member of the now-defunct “Women of Horror” trio “The Gash” and a trained dancer, Rebekah is an aspiring roller derby queen. She’s recent member “Jewn (because she’s Jewish, get it?) Cleaver” of the Beaumont-based Spindletop Roller Girls of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. So recent, she’s not yet officially on the team’s roster as of this writing.
CHRIS CHARLES: So, how did you get started modeling?
REBEKAH HERZBERG: It’s something I got pushed into a long time ago. I had one of those stage mothers that at times drove you crazy. It started out with ballet, tap, and jazz more so than the modeling. I joined a dance company and tried out for scholarships. We traveled a lot. Sooner or later, I got stressed out and stayed away from it. I even started skipping dance classes.
When I was very little I always wanted to model. I came across a lot of modeling books in the school library and studied as much as I could. I was made fun of a lot growing up. People called me ugly and said I had a Jew nose. Guess I showed them. The older I got, the more and more I became active in modeling. I started getting more offers. I began dating a guy who enjoyed photography and he and I did a lot of work together. That work ended up on SuicideGirls.com which I had to fight for years to get those photos off. You can no longer find them ….unless someone had them saved to their computer.
CHRIS: Any memorable or favorite photo shoots?
REBEKAH: When I was 19 I did a ballet shoot but I was wearing black pants, a black jacket, and a black hat. It is to date my favorite photo. (Photo at right)
CHRIS: You and I share a love for horror movies. Have you enjoyed them since you were a kid?
REBEKAH: I have always loved horror films. I grew up down the street from an old VHS rental store that had a very rare collection of horror films. I’ve told this story many times. I just stood there amazed by the cover art. I wanted to see every film on those shelves. And I did. The one that stood out the most to me was Night of the Demons.
CHRIS: If you pursue acting, do you aspire to become known as a “Scream Queen”?
REBEKAH: I cannot really say I do. It doesn’t matter to me if I become “anything” and that’s what makes me different than all the other girls in this profession. I don’t care. If someone offers me a job and I like it, then I’ll give it my best. I’m not trying to be anybody except for myself. I am unprofessional, rude, a smart ass, and I tend to laugh at everyone. That will never change. I don’t think that is Scream Queen material. I want to be able to say whatever I want and do whatever I want. Without kissing anybody’s ass.
CHRIS: Who are your favorite actresses?
REBEKAH: Bette Davis. Joan Crawford. Janet Leigh. Jamie Lee Curtis. Katharine Hepburn. Emma Stone. Barbara Steele. Ingrid Pitt. Dee Wallace.
CHRIS: That’s some list. Also, I see you’re a trained ballet dancer. Do you do any other forms of dance, as well?
REBEKAH: Yes. Tap, Jazz, Gymnastics, Acrobats, Lyrical, Modern Dance, Pointe, Swing, etc…You name it, I’ve done it.
CHRIS: You were a member of “The Gash” (Promo poster at left) with Dai Green and Nita Burson. You ladies appeared on HorrorNews.net‘s Halloween podcast show last year. Can you tell me a little about the group?
REBEKAH: I no longer do the podcast due to disagreements that we were having. I will not say anything about the girls and what happened publicly, at least. As I said before, I have a hard time allowing someone to tell me what to do and it’s hard for me to hold things in. I say what I want to say. The Halloween show you speak of was a lot of fun though. Dai and I actually started the podcast with two other girls a while back. We stopped for a while then Dai told me she wanted to bring it back. She then found Nita who joined us. I continued with them for a year then it became history. I’m actually surprised they are keeping it going since Dai no longer does her other show.
CHRIS: I see. I also heard “Science Fiction Double Feature” playing during the opening of that podcast. Are you a big Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan?
REBEKAH: You could say I am a HUGE fan! I have been a fan since I was a little girl. I even had the soundtrack and would listen to it in my room all night sometimes. Great film. “Science Fiction (Double Feature)” is my favorite song from the film.
CHRIS: So, how many times have you seen it and have you ever dressed as any of the characters?
REBEKAH: Oh boy, I honestly have no idea how many times I’ve seen it. If I had to guess, (31-digit number) times would be accurate. I played Columbia once in a play. That was years ago. Other than playing Columbia in a theater I use to dress up as Magenta. Friends and I would have “Rocky Parties” and watch the movie.
CHRIS: Yes, I can see you as a Columbia or a Magenta, but not as a “Janet.” Anyway, what do your “cherry” tattoos represent?
REBEKAH: My nickname use to be Cherry. I actually have three cherry tattoos. It’s just something that stuck with me. I refuse to allow anyone to call me by that nickname anymore though. That was a different part of my life that I have moved on from.
CHRIS: Can you tell me about your involvement with the roller derby?
REBEKAH: I sure can! It’s something that I’ve wanted to join for years but I was always busy. Now I have the time. It has certainly filled a void in my life since I quit ballet and I have a lot of anger in me. I use that when I go out there. I think about everyone who has done me wrong. It works. I enjoy getting physical with other ladies and not having to worry about if I am going to get arrested for assault. It’s fun.
CHRIS: Do you have any hobbies or interests that one wouldn’t find out about from reading your posted bios?
REBEKAH: I enjoy learning. I study my ass off when it comes to…everything. I get my rocks off knowing I am smarter than someone and that they cannot keep up. That probably means I am mental but most geniuses are. Oh I am also VERY sarcastic (smiles broadly). I collect comic books, anything from WWII, tennis, disc golf, swimming naked, playing with my guinea pig, killing bears with a stick, playing with June bugs, chasing tornadoes Helen Hunt style (Twister reference), and keeping an eye out for big foot.
CHRIS: Well (pondering over “killing bears with a stick” but deciding to let it go), it was great of you to take time out for this, Rebekah. It’s been interesting. In closing, anything you’d like to say to readers or any shout-outs to anyone? REBEKAH: Yeah. Stop making this industry so damn competitive. Start worrying about yourself instead of others.
On the set of a snuff scene shoot for Texas-produced horror film, Fractured
From a lighter-themed set shot by Brandon Garcia. Rebekah said of
this shoot; “I wanted to do something colorful for a change”
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the quarterly magazine, Effective.
This interview with Model and artist Kristie California was conducted back in April 2012 by Tom Heckbert for the now-defunct website Eyestrane.com. It’s been republished at Idol Features courtesy of Tom.