ristin Bauer van Straten is used to playing bad-ass women. Last year, the True Blood alum said goodbye to Pam, Eric's (Alexander Skarsgard) foul-mouthed vampire assistant, after seven seasons on the hit HBO show. She's also a fan-favorite on ABC's fairy tale series Once Upon a Time. With the second half of Season 4 premiering this Sunday (8/7c on ABC), the actress will revive her big bad role as the cold-blooded Maleficent. In anticipation of her return, the actress answered 26 of our burning questions.
Animal you wouldn't mind being for a day:
Lana Parrilla's [from Once Upon a Time] dog. That dog hikes the forests of Canada, plays in waterfalls with her best friends, gets rubbed on by everyone, and is so, so pretty.
Behind-the-scenes True Blood story you've never told before:
The day Alex [Skarsgard] and I went streaking through Malibu on a dare covered in silly string at 3:17 a.m., because... we never did that.
Celebrity you'd like to be stuck on a deserted island with:
"Stuck" for how long? A day? A week? Forever? For a day, I'll go with President Obama. For a week, Robert Downey Jr. For a year, Jane Goodall. Forever? I'll take Wilson.
Dogs or cats?
I have two of each, but none of them read interviews so I won't hurt their feelings. I'd be a dog because they are Zen masters and get to go on hikes.
Embarrassing story you're finally ready to reveal to the world:
Little known fact: I'm one of the only people in history who has never done anything embarrassing. Ever. It's a rare, rare recessive gene.
Famous TV or movie vampire you are totally in love with and why:
Um… I'm not “in" love… I mean, I care very deeply about Tom Cruise's Lestat and I have a long relationship with Bram Stoker's Dracula (Gary Oldman), but I wouldn't say, at this stage, that I'm comfortable going public with “in.”
Gift that never gets old:
The greatest gift I have ever been given is kindness, and it never ever gets old.
Hilarious Once Upon a Time moment fans won't see on screen:
The first time I had to figure out what a human body should look like when it transforms into a dragon. Lana [Parrilla] and I had a great laugh.
Instagrammer you will follow until the end of time:
Job you'd probably have if you weren't an actress:
Animal rights activist… Oh wait, I do that anyway. I'd be a painter for a living.
Key lessons you've learned from being a Hollywood actor:
To accept that you are exactly where you need to be always — and to be very, very nice to the lighting guy.
Last TV show you binge-watched:
Maleficent from Once Upon a Time or Pam from True Blood. Which bad-ass character do you prefer to play and why?
Pam and I are cellularly linked. I have co-mingled my DNA with Pam. I am sure if I were Maleficent for 7 years that would happen, too.
Nineties fashion trend you wish would come back:
Outfit your characters have worn that you wish you had in your closet:
My Maleficent Storybrooke look. That may end up in my closet.
Pam quote you had the most fun saying:
Question(s) you would ask a historical figure:
"Why in God's name? Why?!" I’d ask this to most of the presidents we’ve had on the few topics I really care about.
Rainy day activity you enjoy:
Song that will always pump you up for the day ahead:
Anything Robert Carlyle cranks from his trailer, which he does every day. His taste in music is premiere. Steve Winwood's "While You See a Chance” was yesterday.
#TBT: Send us one and tell us the story behind it:
Throw Back Thursday or Truth Be Told? It's all so confusing these days! Truth Be Told: How I met my husband is I saw this video, tracked him down in Africa, and asked him out to coffee.
Up-and-coming band you hope blows up soon:
My husband, Abri van Straten. He's a musical genius.
Vine video that never fails to crack you up:
I don't know of a single funny Vine video. I'll have to Google that! I'm clearly missing out.
World mystery you want to see solved:
Greed. I don't get it. Can't take it with you, folks, but harming lots of others? — that you’ll get to carry with you forever, and that's a super duper long time.
Since we will not ask you for your favorite X-word, we will simply ask for your shameless plug here:
My favorite X-word was used a lot on Deadwood, by the way. My shameless plug will always be the song my husband wrote for me, after I stalked him, imported him, and married him.
YouTube video you're currently showing all of your friends:
The rescue of an orphaned baby elephant by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. The work they do and the need for it are why I talk about it as much as I can.
If you didn't know Zimbio was an entertainment site, what would you think "a Zimbio" was?
A glow-in-the-dark frisbee that makes you coffee.