- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 6, 2001

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. It's not easy getting to be the Pink Power Ranger.

But now that Stafford County native Erin Cahill has earned her pink top and tights, the 1998 Brooke Point High School grad is getting quite a kick from her role on the Fox Kids live-action TV show, "Power Rangers Time Force."

"It's been great fun, especially the other day when I got to do a lot of my own stunts in a fight sequence," says the 21-year-old Miss Cahill, who's been on stage in either a play, a dance recital, a beauty contest or a modeling job since she was 4. "It sounds like a cliche, but everyone on the show is so supportive, like a big family."

Though Miss Cahill originally planned to finish Marymount Manhattan College after starting in the fall of '98, things changed after she tagged along with her mother and sister when they visited California the summer after her freshman year.

There, the young actress met folks in the TV industry who suggested that instead of going through three years of college, she'd be better off staying there to audition for parts.

At her age, they said, she already was a marketable young actress who stood to lose three years of opportunities by heading back to college.

"So I got busy auditioning, and working about three different jobs," says the actress, whose mother was a drama teacher for years at Woodbridge High School and helped run Winning Image Model and Talent Management in North Stafford.

Deborah Cahill now lives in California with Erin's younger sister, Lauren, who is 14 and also an aspiring actress.

Erin's father, Steven Cahill, is still in Stafford, and these days gets a kick out of playing the proud father, sharing stories of his daughter's success.

You can spot him if you look closely when he's out driving. There aren't too many other trucks around with Pink Power Ranger action figures attached to their antennae.

Though the former Miss Virginia Pre-Teen had some impressive credentials when she began to read for parts, it took some old-fashioned shoe leather and months of rejections before landing the Power Ranger part.

"The day I got the role, I was driving back from working an odd job, and my mom called me on my cell phone," she says.

The call came through just as she was walking into a convenience store for some yogurt.

"I ended up hugging the guy behind the counter, dancing all over the place," says Miss Cahill. "I was so excited."

For the uninitiated, Fox TV's Power Rangers are colorful superheroes enjoying their ninth season.

The band of five teens operate on the show in the year 3000, working as part of a brave legion of police known as the Time Force. Together, they transform into the Power Rangers to thwartthe evil villain Ransik.

The transforming happens when the youngsters morph into the uniformed Power Rangers, a process that puts them in tight, bright superhero suits with colors that give them their names.

Once they morph, these youngsters kick and punch their way to justice.

Miss Cahill says the TV medium is a challenge.

"I'm having to constantly think about the position of the camera, to keep from blocking my face," she says, noting that all the new Power Rangers the show starts each new year with a new cast are working on the same thing.

The martial-arts moves have been the other big challenge.

"I'd done acting before, but all the fight moves were new," she says. "It takes some getting used to."

Early on, to help the young actors prepare, the show staff conducted a mini-camp of sorts, putting the young actors through running, exercise and other conditioning drills to prepare them for the show.

Miss Cahill says that although this gig will end in a year or so, she's already learned a lot.

Her character on the show, Jen, the Pink Power Ranger, is described by the show's press kit as a super-serious girl who strives to conquer evil. She is a highly motivated leader who is focused and direct.

When interacting with the others, it says, she seems cold and distant, but unveil the reason behind her emotions, and you will discover the warm person behind the facade.

Miss Cahill says she has to work at making Jen so serious.

"She's kind of like the opposite of me," says Miss Cahill, who nearly bubbles with Valley Girl excitement at her opportunity. "I'm the kind of person who'd rather hug someone than talk to them, but she's reserved."

If there's one drawback at all in the role, it's a small one: the tight pink suit that won't forgive too many celebratory sundaes.

"But we're so busy, and this role is so physical, that hasn't been a problem," Miss Cahill says.

The show airs at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. on Fridays.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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