Erin Daniels

Erin Daniels


10/9/1973, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Birth Name

Erin Cohen


out of 10
User Rating
91 votes


Erin Daniels graduated from Vassar College and moved to New York to pursue a career in entertainment. She began doing theatre, appearing in several off-Broadway productions including, Stars. She soon began landing guest-star roles On such shows as Law & Order. Soon she moved to Los Angeles and…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • Erin Daniels: I did have a cat once that used to attack an ex-boyfriend's feet every time he slept over. I should've known then that the cat was right.

    • Erin Daniels: Vancouver is beautiful, to begin with. The summer there is unbelievable. The people are so nice. People actually obey traffic signals, it's unreal.

    • Erin Daniels: One of the scenes that I'm most proud of is the scene with Jenny and Dana at Jenny's shack. That I'm proud of because it's so funny. But the most fun to do was the dancing scene on the yacht, of course! I had a blast. I was dancing to Put Your Back Into It.

    • Erin Daniels: (on The L Word's sex scenes) They're not particularly difficult. There's a trust that exists between women and actresses usually that I think sometimes exceeds the trust between a man and a woman in a love scene, because women understand, 'Can you put your hand on my thigh to cover my cellulite?' I had no problem with it whatsoever.

    • Erin Daniels: (on who she'd like to act with) I think it would be Frances McDormand. She's so talented and she's so honest and in-your-face. She's a real actress. And she's cool.

    • Erin Daniels: I mostly hung out with boys, as girls in high school aren't nice people. There's just so much social pressure - it's just ... God, it's so brutal. You couldn't pay me to go back and relive those years.

    • Erin Daniels: Kate [Moennig] and I once brought a fart machine to the set during a rehearsal. We planted it on set and had the remote control in our pockets; somebody would finish a line and you'd hear this little fart noise. It was like we were ten again, it was so much fun.

    • Erin Daniels: I'll miss Dana, of course, because she opened me up and made it ok to be vulnerable and goofy and awkward. Once, this woman walked up to me and said, 'Thank you for giving the dorks somebody to look up to.' That put the biggest smile on my face. I'll miss working with those girls more than anything else, especially Kate and Leisha, who have become two of my best friends on the planet. No pun intended. (laughs) On my planet in the real world.

    • Erin Daniels: When we started the first season [of The L Word], everyone - Shane, Alice, Bette, Tina - was giving Dana such a hard time for never being able to get a girl, warning her she'll never have sex if she didn't figure out how to wax her butt or whatever. I have to say for the record, I think Dana had more - and better - sex and had it more continuously than anyone else on the show.

    • Erin Daniels: (on the act openers in the episodes before Dana's death) Those scenes were symbolic because they marked the end of Leisha and me working together. It was like saying goodbye to the show, to these people, to the relationship between Dana and Alice, and to this character. It was incredibly sad and definitely what I was feeling in that moment.

    • Erin Daniels: Having [Dana] have breast cancer has been the biggest challenge I've ever had as an actor but also one of the most rewarding, because it was so hard on many levels and I was so proud to be doing it. I hope I did it justice. As the episodes were airing, my parents would actually call afterward and say, 'We just needed to hear your voice.' But when I was working on it, I definitely felt like I was in character, researching and living that cancer research for a long time. And because it was tied in with my leaving, there were moments on set when I would be reflective and look around me and take it in because I knew my time there wasn't going to last much longer, and it would kick up the sadness a notch.

    • Erin Daniels: When Ilene [Chaiken] told me that Dana was going to die of breast cancer, it was like going to the doctor with your best friend and hearing the doctor tell you she has nine months to live. So I knew that I had a time limit to get everything that I could out of it. Dana is a part of me. It felt like I was experiencing the slow death of a best friend, and of course that was really painful because I'd become so attached to her. I knew her better than anybody else, and I still do and always will.

    • Erin: (on The L Word) I did learn to play tennis, too. I played a little bit before, although they never asked me about that when I auditioned for Dana. You don't see a whole lot of Dana playing tennis this season, but you'll probably see a lot more next season...(laughing) because I will have taken a whole lot more lessons by then.

    • Erin: (on The L Word) It was amazing, the creativity and energy on the set was incredible. It was really inspiring. The cast is a group of smart, sophisticated, but very laid back women, who can just hang out and watch a movie, order pizza, whatever, and just step outside the whole Hollywood bubble.

    • Erin: (on The L Word) That's another reason I wanted to do this show: it's very rare in this business that you get to do something that's socially important. I'm really proud of us.

    • Erin: Kate [Moennig], Leisha [Hailey] and I work together all the time because our three characters are together all the time, and the three of us are super close and support one another.

    • Erin: (on The L Word) I've loved being part of a show that has changed the social fabric of television. Making TV that actually touches a lot of people very personally is an incredible experience. And playing this character in particular, because she has such a journey, has been phenomenal.

    • Erin Daniels: (on The L Word) Sometimes when we were shooting the season we would get scripts weeks in advance, and then they would change the night before. It really depended on the episode, and the writers and the network, of course. It's television, so things change real fast.

    • Erin: (on how her character dying of breast cancer speaks to all women) That's something Ilene and I talked about when she told me the plan for the third season. It wasn't my decision to leave the show, and I was very sad to see Dana go. But it was an important storyline to tell that applies to all women—something I think all women fear, and that's huge.

    • Erin: I'm looking at a TV series [Fox's upcoming pilot Julie Reno, Bounty Hunter, for which she was cast as the lead]. And I'm producing a film based on a British novel I optioned about a group of friends dealing with the loss of a friend.

    • Erin Daniels: I had friends in college who were from Manhattan and they'd say, 'You're from Missouri? Do you live on a farm?' I was like "'No, you're from Manhattan. Do you own a gun?!'

    • Erin: Hi Pointe, Cheshire, Venice Café, Blueberry Hill, the St. Louis Art Museum. If I was having a bad day I'd go and just walk around for an hour. It sort of became my temple, my church. It's probably why I ended up studying art in college.

    • Erin Daniels: (on whether she ever thought The L Word would be as successful as it has become) I had no idea. The only thing I thought about was that the characters - the way they were written - were very smart, very interesting and very complicated. That combined with the fact that it was a cast made up of thinking women blew me away, because unfortunately, up until that time there wasn't a whole lot of that. Sex And The City had just started to become popular and it's really been in the past four or five years that people have realized producing shows about intelligent women actually makes successful television.

    • Erin: (on her family's reaction to her acting on "The L Word") My family has always been extremely liberal. They didn't care whether the character was gay or straight or sexual or not; they just wanted to make sure I was happy doing the work I was doing. And my grandmother actually watches the show with her friends. She leaves the room when there's a sex scene - not because it's with a woman; she just can't stand the fact that I'm actually naked on television.

    • Erin: (on the tough changes her character goes through on "The L Word") For me it was spread over three or four years, so that made it easier. As far as coming out of the closet, that was something that many people I know and love have done, so I talked to them. And because I've never had to do that before, I looked at the character and said, "The truth is, she's facing something about herself that she's had a hard time accepting," and then asked myself what I have had a hard time accepting that was difficult to tell my parents about. And I've certainly had those experiences, so I related it to that.

    • Erin: (on what she did after she finished filming the third season of "The L Word") I spent some time with my family in Texas and caught up with friends in LA., started auditioning for things here and there. In January, I went to New York for a few weeks to work on Tom Cavanaugh's show "Love Monkey" - so much fun. I love doing comedy. Third season of "The L Word" for me, not so funny!

    • Erin: (on getting recognised) Kate and I have talked about it a bit, though, because she gets recognized occasionally, which I'm sure will be more than occasionally in the near future.

    • Erin: (on whether it was weird shooting intimate scenes with Lauren Lee Smith, who she'd just met) A little, but once you step into your character, it's real - or as real as it can be with 150 people standing around. But you put that out of your mind, because you want to be true to your character, and Lauren was the same way.

    • Erin: (on her closeted character on "The L Word") She tried to fight it and she couldn't, she fell in love with the wrong person and when her parents found it, it was messy. They're in denial about the whole thing, think it's a phase and all that, very similar to the stories I've heard.

    • Erin: (on her closeted character on "The L Word") But I also believe it's one of those human conditions, where you're hiding something that you want to be true to yourself about but you can't, so I sort of drew on my own experiences with that.

    • Erin: (on her closeted character on "The L Word") I did talk to a lot of people specifically about their experiences being closeted - although it's funny, a lot of my friends never really were closeted - but I also know a lot of people who really had to struggle with that.

    • Erin: (on the advice she was given by her friends on playing her character on "The L Word") Their advice was more emotional, around what it's like to be out to friends and not to family. I gave Dana a backstory, which you may see bits and pieces of later on in the series. Dana's always been a lesbian, since the day she was born...

    • Erin: (on her tennis-playing character on "The L Word") I approached it more from a psychological standpoint: here's a girl who grew up playing tennis, and she's really, really good at that. She's capable of being herself on the court because she knows she's good at it, but off the court, she has to suppress who she is.

    • Erin: (when asked if she immediately went for the part of Dana on "The L Word") No, actually, it was funny - I first read for the part of Bette, then I read for the part of Alice, and then one of the producers asked me to read for the part of Dana, and it just sort of went from there.

    • Erin: (on her tennis-playing character on "The L Word") When she's on the court, she can gauge where she is in the sports strata: am I good? Am I acceptable? The more successful she is on the court, the better she feels about herself, but the minute she steps off the court, she has to struggle again. That's a really difficult way to live because it forces you to question your identity.

    • Erin: (on her character on "The L Word") It's such a joy to play Dana because she's so complicated and she's still figuring out who she is; she's struggling with so many real issues and she doesn't claim to have it all figured out. She might pretend to, which is what a lot of people do, but she's still trying to figure out where she fits in. That's my favorite part about her, that she sticks her foot in her mouth, she makes mistakes, she trips over her own words, she's not even close to perfect.

    • Erin: (on her character on "The L Word") The only thing I find challenging about Dana is when she has to deal with really emotional situations, because I think you have to find a certain amount of your own personality in the character you play. So when she has really emotional events happen in her life, I go through them with her, and it's emotionally taxing. But it feels great at the same time, because I want to do her as much justice as I can.

    • Erin: Overall, I'm really proud of my work on this show [The L Word]- I think Dana's a really honest character. She's just lost, you know? It was a challenge to blend the comedy and the drama, and that was one of my goals.

    • Erin: (on her character on "The L Word") It's funny, when I first read the script, there wasn't a whole lot of definition to Dana. But the beautiful part was that we were able to sit down with Ilene [Chaiken] and Rose [Troche] and Guin [Turner] and talk to them about ideas we had; it was very collaborative, and a lot of times those ideas would end up on the show.

    • Erin: (on her character on "The L Word") It was obvious to me from the beginning that Dana is defensive in a very sarcastic way because she has something to hide. I think it's very honest when you see people's flaws because everyone has them. And for a woman who's struggling so hard to fit in and figure out who she is, who just wants so badly to be loved...I decided to spin her that way, and in sort of a goofy way, because I think most people are goofy…She tries so hard to be cool and it just backfires, which (laughing) God knows I've done, so many times.

    • Erin: (on how she auditioned for "The L Word") I was actually in school again for environmental design at the time, sort of rethinking my career. I was taking a break from acting because I was frustrated that all the parts for women were so shallow - and whenever there was a part for a thinking woman, the producers were always more interested in big names and a lot of beauty. Then The L Word came along and I thought "OK, this is something I could do".

    • Erin Daniels: (on her character on The L Word) Dana's entertaining, that's for sure. On the subconscious level, she's the sort of schadenfreude character of the group, she makes the others feel good about themselves because she has so many problems. But at the same time she's a really good person, a really good friend. She's very open about questions she has with her friends, especially Alice and Shane. I give Alice a hard time because she's bisexual and I want her to pick a side, so I know where to put her, and I give Shane a hard time because she has everything that I don't, everything that I think I want.

    • Erin Daniels: (on her character on The L Word) I think there's a lot to be learned from Shane because she's so comfortable being out, and Alice is so comfortable being bi, she knows who she is, too. I think they're a really good influence on Dana. But I also think Dana's a really good influence on them, because she asks them questions and forces them to question who they are. Dana's one of those friends you just love because she is who she is, she can't pretend to be anyone else when she's around you.

    • Erin Daniels: I've played a lesbian before, on Action - well, she was really more bi-opportunistic (laughing). We all know people like that. It was so much fun - I played Ileana Douglas' girlfriend. It was a great show, but I don't think the network really knew what to do with it, so it got cancelled.

    • Erin Daniels: As an actor, I change from role to role, I don't look the same ever. After I finished shooting [The L Word], for example, I died my hair back to its natural dark-brown color because I just can't keep it up.

    • Erin: (on what she does between filming seasons) I'm going to auditions, working on my writing, hoping to direct a short I just wrote. Fixing up my house, just being a sort-of normal person.

    • Erin Daniels: (on The L Word) Honestly, I have no complaints about anyone I worked with. But I loved working with Lolita Davidovitch and Kelly Lynch. I loved Kelly, she's a cool woman. And of course, I loved working with Lauren Lee Smith.

    • Erin Daniels: (on The L Word) Working on this show really forced me to question myself, because Dana's always doing that. So I really had to face a lot of my own issues, and my own insecurities, because when you step into someone's shoes who is so insecure, you start to feel the same way when you're off-camera. I had emotional spill-over.

    • Erin: One of my dogs is allergic to something. We don't know what it is, but every once in a while he gets into whatever it is and ends up with all these little bumps.

    • Erin: I love characters that are awkward and flawed - I think we're all kind of like that no matter how together we tend to be.

    • Erin: (on her must-have clothes) A black corduroy jacket that I bought at a flea market in Paris for like 20 bucks. I wear it at least once a day. And I've always been a big fan of Costume Nationale and Chloe.

    • Erin: I don't pick roles based on how famous they are going to make me, I pick roles based on how they're going to inspire me intellectually.

    • Erin: I moved to New York in the middle of my junior year at Vassar and commuted - I was just so eager to see what was out there for me in terms of working as an actor. I met a manager through a roommate and was introduced to an agent, and the next thing I knew, I was auditioning for a bunch of stuff, commuting to school and writing my thesis at the same time. I kept going until I realized I was in over my head and wasn't ready to do it for a living. So I stopped and studied acting for two years with William Esper. He turned everything around for me.

    • Erin: (on who she'd like to work with) I was really impressed with Paul Haggis. I'd also love to work with Cate Blanchett and - it's almost cliché because she's so good - but I'd love to work with Meryl Streep.

    • Erin: I moved to L.A. and did a couple of pilots and a couple of series, and I was frustrated at the time, because it's a very frustrating business, especially for women. I hit a wall, and said I'm tired of auditioning for the bimbos and young, naïve girls. I went back to school for environmental and interior design and told my agent I was just not interested in anything unless it was brilliant or showed women as intelligent. One day my manager called and said there's this great script you should read. My first reaction was, 'Ugh, lesbians for cable? It's going to be the 'Red Shoe Diaries'; I'm not interested!' She said, 'Just read it - it's different.' And she was right - that was the only project I auditioned for that whole summer and my life changed.

    • Erin: I'm a hardcore Midwestern girl, no question about it. I like fancy French food, but I'll also have my steak and potatoes, thank you very much!

    • Erin: I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I really like Mariah Carey's new album. Any man that was interested in dating me I think just lost interest.

    • Erin Daniels: My friend and I used to put on puppet shows for our parents. I loved the whole process of it - I didn't know what I was doing, I just knew that I liked it. Luckily my parents saw that and put me in classes at Webster University's theater for kids when I was around six. After that, I was done. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I suppose I just needed the attention so badly that I was like 'This is great! This is more attention than I could ever need right here!'

    • Erin Daniels: Every time I push my acting career away, it comes back to me twofold, sort of like love. I guess you CAN call this a love of mine - it came to me when I was ready and then I was off and running.

    • Erin Daniels: (on why The L Word is a hit show) Everyone goes through their 20s trying to figure out who they are. Sexuality included. Whether you're gay or straight or wherever you fall on the Kinsey scale.