So what did Julie Michaels think when she saw herself immortalized by John Nadeau’s pencils in the pages of AC Comics’ “Femforce” Issue 54 as the superheroic Rayda? “It rocked!”
Of course, as Femforce fans know, Ms. Michaels has contributed more than just her likeness to the character of Dyna Morisi, a.k.a. Rayda. “I auditioned for Mike Frankovich and he decided to create the character of Rayda after meeting me. I was flattered, to say the least. When he first came to me with the idea of Rayda I was humbled by the honor. I was never in the armed forces, but Mr. Frankovich thought adding the military influence would make the character very patriotic! I loved it since I am the daughter of a military man and was even born on an Air Force base.”
Rayda, the comic book character, shares a career in Hollywood as an actress, stuntwoman, and model with her real-life inspiration. The similarities don’t end there, however, because if Rayda is billed as a “human dynamo” due to her electricity related powers, then Julie’s energy and spirit make her the real world equivalent.
Julie was attending the University of Washington as a gymnast when an injury forced her to look for another way to pay for her education. “I was recruited to run in the Miss America program in which I won enough titles to finish my education and attend a performing arts college. An audition for a show called ‘Follies on Broadway’ took me to Miami and, while there, I was cast in ‘Dreamgirls USA’ in Hollywood. Soon after that, I was cast in the feature film, ‘Road House,’ with Patrick Swayze.”
As if acting isn’t enough of a challenge, Julie became a stuntwoman, as well. “I fell into it!!! Okay, only a little funny! Actually, for the film ‘Jason Goes to Hell: Friday the 13th, Part 9,’ they wanted an actress that could do her own high fall.” The result: Julie is featured at the beginning of the movie as the comely FBI agent used as bait to lure Jason to his doom. In a departure for the series, her character survives! It must have been that background as a collegiate gymnast that allowed her to escape the infamous slasher’s clutches! The sexy heroine role is typical of her acting and stunt gigs. “Recently, I have been doing a comic book series called ‘Black Scorpion.’ She is a female Batman. It feels so great and very empowering to be so strong. I felt the same way about Rayda but have yet to put her on screen.”
Rayda may not have made it to the screen, yet, but Julie has appeared in costume as the character at comic book conventions and other venues. “The character is so well received by both men and women. Men love strong women, and women love that I can kick some serious butt!!!”
Of course, since Rayda did just that in her Femforce mini-series, published in Femforce issues 110-112, we can expect Julie Michaels to do the same, at least figuratively, in her upcoming projects. What do Femforce fans have on tap from Ms. Michaels? “I have ‘Rat Race’ in theaters now. I play Dean Cain’s girlfriend, Charlene. On DVD, a Dinero film called ‘15 Minutes.’ I hosted a show for the Learning Channel called ‘The Ultimate Driving Quiz,’ where I used my knowledge of stunt driving to inform viewers of the safest ways to handle life-threatening driving situations, that should air in January. Black Scorpion can be seen on the SciFi Channel, and my website, JulieMichaels.com is up and running.”