SHANTEL VANSAN­TEN

Maxim - - CONTENTS - by THEODORE ROSS

The Mes­sen­gers star­let talks farm life and tongue tricks.

SHANTEL VANSAN­TEN , STAR OF the TRIPPY NEW SCI-FI SHOW THE MES­SEN­GERS, ON WEB LIES, SPE­CIAL POW­ERS, and RIS­ING FROM the DEAD.

“I’VE DATED EV­ERY NA­TION­AL­ITY, RACE, RE­LI­GION. An AC­TOR, a CHEF, a FI­NAN­CIAL AD­VISER. I DON’T DIS­CRIM­I­NATE WHEN IT COMES TO THAT.”

Your new show, The Mes­sen­gers, is out this spring on the CW. The story seems a lit­tle com­pli­cated, so why don’t you give me the el­e­va­tor pitch: It’s what meets what? I play an as­tronomer who watches a mys­te­ri­ous ob­ject plum­met­ing from the sky. When it hits, my heart stops briefly—i die!— and when I come back to life, I have this spe­cial power. It turns out there are five other peo­ple like me, also with gifts, and then we have to ba­si­cally save the world from an im­pend­ing apoca­lypse.

So, it’s Lost meets The Ma­trix meets The Walk­ing Dead?

I would say The Left­overs meets The Ma­trix meets—who knows? It’s a Rap­ture story, loosely based on the Book of Rev­e­la­tion. There are the Four Horse­men: pesti­lence, death, famine—i al­ways for­get the last one.

You got me beat al­ready. That’s two more than I could do. War! It’s war. Makes for re­ally great bad guys.

Can you tell me your gift?

Afraid I can’t. As of a month ago, I didn’t even know it my­self. But I can tell you this: We’re not su­per­heroes. We couldn’t just take over the world or any­thing. Our gifts al­ways have ei­ther a phys­i­cal or men­tal lim­i­ta­tion. Each of us does very dif­fer­ent things, so we need to find each other and work to­gether in or­der to suc­ceed or fail. That’s the coolest part.

I’ve heard you didn’t have a TV as a kid. Whynot?

Grow­ing up as a young girl on a farm in Min­nesota, it’s just not some­thing you have. I don’t even know if you could get cable there. You got, like, three chan­nels—it was The Price Is Right, soap op­eras, and then the news. And later we moved to Texas, where be­ing a kid was all about be­ing out­side and get­ting in­volved in sports, not watch­ing TV. The other night I had a big din­ner with friends and ev­ery­one talked about their fa­vorite movie, and I just started to laugh be­cause I haven’t seen The God­fa­ther or any of the epic, clas­sic movies that ev­ery­one was talk­ing about.

Were you a jock?

No. I was good enough in soft­ball or golf to hit the ball re­ally, re­ally far, but never in the right di­rec­tion. I was a nerd: pres­i­dent of the glee club, pres­i­dent of the year­book staff. I even started a book club!

I came across an­other in­ter­est­ing story about you on the In­ter­net—

Are you gonna say that I was “se­cretly mar­ried” and have two kids?

Yeah. Plus the best one: that you are the high­est-paid ac­tress in the world.

Well, if that’s the case, then I feel sorry for ev­ery­body else! I got a text the other day from an ex-boyfriend and he was like, “Did you get mar­ried?” I’m think­ing, I don’t even have a boyfriend; I don’t know what you’re talk­ing about. He was like, “Oh, well, that’s not what the Web says.” And I thought, Oh, you’re gonna be­lieve the In­ter­net. I’m sin­gle, no kids, and I guess now I’m broke [ laughs].

Speak­ing of boyfriends: your first. What’s he up to now?

My first real boyfriend was the bag­ger at a gro­cery store. He en­listed in the Army and has been there ever since, I think.

Do you have “a type”?

No. I feel like I’ve dated ev­ery­thing: ev­ery na­tion­al­ity, race, re­li­gion. Guys in a band, an ac­tor, a chef, a fi­nan­cial ad­viser. I don’t dis­crim­i­nate when it comes to that.

Fair enough. Is there any­thing else we should know?

Well, you didn’t ask me about my hid­den tal­ent. I can pick my nose with my tongue! Ac­tu­ally, I can make my tongue reach all the way down to my chin and then go all the way to my nose. ■

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