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©2006 website by Gone West

Sheri Not So Scary
An interview with Sheri Moon Zombie

© Staci Layne Wilson for Girls and Corpses Magazine
all rights reserved

all photos courtesy of SheriMoonZombie.net

issue #10

You won't see actress Sheri Moon Zombie leaping from a long limo with the latest designer dog tucked under one bony arm, clad in Dior and diamonds. Sure, she attends the occasional red carpet premiere, but she's more apt to arrive funeral fabulous in a hearse, wearing denim and rhinestones.

In the early 90s the 5'10" beauty caught the eye of Robert Wolfgang Zombie, lead singer and impresario of the ghoulish-obsessed hard rock band, White Zombie. (Rob is now a successful solo artist and film director.) She keeps her personal life pretty personal, but she has said that she and Rob were introduced by a mutual friend and that on their first date, "We had pizza, we talked, and that was it." That was almost 14 years ago, and the two have been together ever since.

When you first encounter Sheri, you're not only struck by her American apple-pie good looks and girlish speaking voice, but by her instantly-likeable, open and friendly demeanor. If you didn't know better, you'd never guess that the curvy blonde rose to fame by playing living dead girls in Zombie's lurid music videos and becoming one of the most memorable female serial killers on film in the hard-R movies, House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil's Rejects (2005).

She quickly became an icon among horror fans as Vera-Ellen "Baby" Firefly, the sexy, country-style belle kisses and kills with equal aplomb. As an actor, Sheri is willing to crawl out as far on a limb as her husband asks. "Rob is the director, he's a master manipulator, and gets the actors to do what they think they want to do... but it's really his idea."

With an almost like a John Cassevetes / Gena Rowlands vibe for the 21st century, the Zombies aren't too concerned about looking much further than their own bedroom for inspiration; he writes roles for her, and she seldom considers other scripts. The only other non-Zombie film she's been in to date is Tobe Hooper's "The Toolbox Murders", in which she played a quickly-dispatched victim.

While she won't label herself as a "feminist" or not, Sheri clearly lives life on her own terms. A smart, self-assured woman, it's easy to see why her star is on the rise. Sheri's next film project is the highly anticipated animated feature, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, based on characters created by, you guessed it, Rob Zombie. Her current obsession is her new clothing line, Total Skull, which was launched in June 2006.

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G&C: There are so many rumors on the Internet about you. You're a former stripper. You're a Satanist, and so on. Is that why you finally got your own website, after so many years?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Well you know what, I did have one for a little while [before this]. I think it was around the time House of 1000 Corpses came out, we started one. And then I just went, "You know what? I'm not the typical narcissistic actor." I don't really feel like I want to try to sell myself or market myself to people. I don't have an agent. I don't give many interviews. I don't actively seek work.

I just don't like the whole audition process that actors have to go through, God bless them. It's so demeaning and terrible for the most part. That's a big reason why I [didn't for so long]. I know there's somebody that has a website out there where you can get information. I think for the most part, things are almost right. It's sort of like the tabloids. There's a bit of information that's true, but then the rest of it is sort of fluffed up.

G&C: What about reviews? Rob's movies seem to stir up a lot of hornets' nests.

Sheri Moon Zombie: I don't read reviews and I don't... good ones are great to read, but you know there's bad ones out there, too. I just don't want things like that to influence me in any way or bum me out. Because we do the work, and we're proud of it. I just don't like to read reviews in general. I'll look at something occasionally if Rob's like, "Oh check this out, it's really cool" because he likes to see everything that's on the Web regarding the movies. But I'm just a little antsy about looking at stuff. [laughing] But in all honesty I really don't know much of what's like going on there.

G&C: What is one of the strangest things that you've heard about yourself that is not true?

Sheri Moon Zombie: That I was a stripper, that one kind of pissed me off. I was never a stripper. I think it got misconstrued because I am, I was and still am, a dancer. I would choreograph the numbers, make the costumes, and dance on tour with Rob. I think people hear the word dancer and have the association stripper. When all the press initially came out for The Devil's Rejects, it was in some national newspapers. I was just like, "Oh great. Of course it's in my hometown newspaper". I don't want people reading that.

G&C: Did you grow up on the East coast?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I did.

G&C: Are you happily a California girl now?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I really, really am. I consider myself a California girl now. I moved out here when I was 17. As soon as I graduated high school I came out to California and had a couple of tries. I mean I moved back to Connecticut where I grew up, twice, and went to broadcasting school. But I moved back and forth. Seventeen is really young to move out of state and be on your own. I mean, I wanted to play and have fun and be responsibility-free but eventually you have to buckle down and get a job. So I was a little wild child when I was younger.

G&C: I understand that you were introduced to Rob through a mutual friend of yours?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Yeah.

G&C: Why did he think that you two would get along?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I don't know. Actually, I was on my way moving back out to California and he knew the rest of Rob's band, I guess at the time, White Zombie. And he was like "Oh, let's go check him out". Because we were waiting for my car to be serviced and all that. It wasn't like "Oh I'm setting you guys up". We met that way.

G&C: And were you into hard rock music at the time?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I was definitely into hard rock, heavy metal. But I'd never heard of Rob's band before. But... I liked rockers for sure.

G&C: You were into the long hair and beard look?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Yeah. When I met Rob he was totally different at that time. He was like the only guy I think that got that whole dreadlocks thing. He started it, and I'd never met anybody with hair like that before. And all those tattoos. But I was always into music and I'd always go to the clubs in Connecticut.

G&C: I'm so curious to know if you've ever seen Rob without his beard? I mean, that is his trademark.

Sheri Moon Zombie: Uh, no. Only childhood photos

G&C: Do you think he would ever shave it?

Sheri Moon Zombie: It's actually pretty short now but he would never... I don't think he ever wants to totally get rid of it. But we'll see, you never know. His hair is a lot different now. It's short and the dreads are combed out.

G&C: How did you get your start in show business?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I went to broadcasting school, before I met Rob. I wanted to do characters for animation, I wanted to do voice-overs. I was also sort of exploring maybe becoming a VJ or being some sort on-camera personality. But then the way things evolved with our relationship, we moved in together and he was on the road and I would go on the road with him.

The first thing I did with him was make music videos. The first one was Feed the Gods, which was a White Zombie video. I did a couple of videos when he was still in White Zombie, then when he went solo he always wanted to have dancers on tour. So I just became involved with that and choreographed the numbers. I found the girls, and made the costumes. That was so much fun. Music videos is where I got most of my on-camera experience.

G&C: What is life on the road like? You've been at it for over 10 years now. Does it ever get tiresome, or do you still love it?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Well, it's a lot different now from when I first met Rob. Then, he was still up and coming. Now we are able, thankfully, to stay in nice hotels and work out in the gym in the morning before we go to sound check. It's a nice routine.

I really like the tour bus. We always get a bus where we have like the back lounge is a bedroom, so we have a bed. We don't have to sleep in the bunks, the coffin bunks [laughter]. We always bring Dracula, our dog, with us.

The hardest thing about being on the road is getting healthy food sometimes. Everyone's a big carnivore this country and it's a fast food nation. The hardest thing about being on the road is getting good, healthy food. I don't think I've eaten McDonald's since I saw Supersize Me.

G&C: What's the day to day like for you?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I read a lot of books, I do a lot of crossword puzzles, we watch movies on the bus. On the last tour that we did this summer everyone wanted to watch music documentaries so we were really into watching those. We also have like these big Uno championship games, we're like mad for Uno on the bus.

G&C: What books do you like to read? Are you into fiction or nonfiction?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I like to read autobiographies and I like to read ... just any fiction, nonfiction. I'm really open. I sort of read everything. Usually someone will recommend a book to me and I'll check it out. I really liked that book She's come Undone by Wally Lamb. I recently read Gene Wilder's autobiography. I like reading like Agatha Christie novels, too.

G&C: Is Rob different when he's the musician Rob as opposed to making movies, or is he like pretty much the same in both aspects of life?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Unless he's on that stage for an hour and twenty minutes and he's playing a show, he's like a different person. I think that's why everyone wants to be a rock star. Even all the big athletes and famous actors, they want to be rock stars. There's just something so powerful about owning the stage for that hour: all eyes are on you and it just seems magical to everyone.

To me, he has a different rock star personality on stage but it doesn't carry over to real life. He's very hardworking, disciplined and professional but yet so creative and his brain is always you know churning these ideas. Really, from the moment he gets up in the morning until the moment before we go to bed he's always thinking of ideas, working, and being creative

G&C: Were, or are, groupies ever a problem?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Well, there's groupies but it's definitely not like it was in the 80s and early to mid 90s. But none of that bothers me. I think that just goes along with music. There's like hard-core fans and they want to be touched by a rock star. [laughter]

G&C: In more ways than one.

Sheri Moon Zombie: Yeah! But I don't mind. For the most part everyone, all the girls and the guys, all the fans are really nice. Rob doesn't partake in any of the sleaziness that does sometimes happen on tour. I'm there, and I trust him. Even when I'm not there, it's never been an issue.

We talk about that every now and then because we have been together for so long and this town is hard to find relationships that last long in the entertainment business. We're coming up on our wedding anniversary and it's like "God, we've been married for four years already?" Time goes by so fast. We still feel pretty new, you know. There's nothing monotonous about our relationship, thankfully.

G&C: You were together for a long time before you got married. What made you decide to tie the knot?

Sheri Moon Zombie: We were together for nine years. We both really didn't want to get married. Then all of a sudden something happened and I was just like, "You know what? Maybe we should. We might as well." It was weird, but there was nothing profound about it. We planned the wedding and then we said, "No, forget it. Let's just elope and then we'll have a party here." So that's what we did.

G&C: It's pretty cool that you were married on Halloween. Were you in costume?

Sheri Moon Zombie: No. We were actually taking a walk in our neighborhood the day before. The wedding date was to be November 9th. We're like, "Oh god, we've been together for nine years. We should just say our vows privately." It was just like a spur-of-the-moment decision. It just happens that the next day was Halloween. We didn't do it for any spooky reasons or anything. We were not in costume. I wore a white sweater and jeans. [laughter]

G&C: How do you keep in shape, and what do you do to keep your body looking as good as it does? Do you diet?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I work out five or six days a week. I try to eat healthy. My meals in general are really healthy, but I do have a sweet tooth. I crave a cookie, like everyone else. I want a piece of cake, like everyone else.

I love working out. I wake up, have my egg white breakfast and then I get on the treadmill and the elliptical. If I don't do that in the morning, I'm in a bad mood for the rest of the day. It really does release like some sort of crazy endorphins that gets out your bad energy. I love it. I've also done Pilates, yoga and all that kind of stuff.

I'm tall, so if I do gain a few pounds here and there, thankfully, hopefully, it doesn't show as much. But I definitely feel like I have my bloated days and, "Oh I feel fat" just like any other girl. I think fashion magazines sometimes can be so evil. [laughing] I definitely have to work out.

G&C: Do you have aspirations to work with other directors?

Sheri Moon Zombie: I get scripts sent over here and usually they're just little cheesy horror things that I don't want to do. And like I said, I hate the whole audition process. I don't seek out work. Rob and I will always work together.

G&C: Rob was telling me his next movie is going to be sort of a cross between Taxi Driver and Ghost World, and that there would be a part for you in it. Yoko Ono notwithstanding, do you have input on his creative process?

Sheri Moon Zombie: No. When he's writing, he's writing. Once in awhile he'll say something like, "Oh you're going to have to learn how to do... this". I'm like, "Oh my God, are you kidding me?" He writes it, and that's it. I don't have any real input, but I think he is such a good writer. He's writing three different scripts right now. Which one gets made first, we'll see.

G&C: What kind of challenges do you look for in a role? Do you enjoy staying in a comfort zone, or are you wanting to push yourself?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Oh, I definitely want to push myself. Especially in the next movie because it will be a departure. I played Baby Firefly twice already and I would love to be forced to learn something new. For the movie that you're describing, I'm going to have to learn this thing that you will see [laughing]. It's wonderful to push yourself. I think that keeps you young.

G&C: Your next confirmed project is The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. It's supposed to be out in '07, and you're doing the voice of Suzy X?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Yeah. We did something a little different; rather than doing our voice parts separately, were we all be in the same room at the same time. It was more natural and we were able to bounce off each other.

G&C: Who is Suzy X?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Suzy X is the sister of the main character in The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. She's this crime-stopping, sexy, superhero gal that everyone in the world is a big fan of. They love her and they think she's great. Her brother gets busted. He's an out-of-work wrestler who is trying to redeems himself. It's so smart and so funny, I can't wait to see the final product. It's hilarious.

G&C: You are, like you said, married to a multitalented person who can draw, write, and everything else. But you are, too. You do choreography, you act, and you can bake, and sew...

Sheri Moon Zombie: I really like making clothes. I have recently launched my Total Skull clothing line, which is for men and women — and kids and dogs! In addition to everything else, every Monday Rob and I also do a radio show on Indy 103.1. That is so much fun. We really do a lot of prep for that and it's a funny show. I'm also going to be dancing on the Rob Zombie / Godsmack tour. We are rehearsing now and getting costumes and wardrobe ready, and practicing.

G&C: This is kind of an off-the-wall question but I'll admit this has crossed my mind once or twice: When you guys go to a restaurant and you make a reservation, do you use the last name Zombie? I can hear it now, "Zombie, party of two!"

Sheri Moon Zombie: Well, that is our last name, so yeah. It can be funny, especially when I'm ordering like from a catalog, there is always a comment. And I'm like "Well, that's my last name." It is legal. Rob changed his legally many years ago, and then when we got married I changed mine too.

G&C: It's a great name, though.

Sheri Moon Zombie: Yeah. I think it's cool.

G&C: What's your ideal home? Do you live in your ideal home now?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Rob and I decided on everything in the house we live in now, and we really love this house. It's a big English Tudor, built in the 20s. It's really comfortable in some rooms, but then we have our big living room which has all our strange assortments... we have monkeys, a boar... all the dead animals. There's 12-foot polar bear in the corner that was prop from the original Addams Family TV series.

We have some unique pieces of furniture. Rob has a great poster collection going on in the house. We have lots of really beautifully framed 30s and 40s posters. Also a lot of pinball machines.

It's a nice house. It was fun to get it together. When we moved in, we painted everything dark. And we took a look and were like, "Wow, this is a dark house." Everything was dark green or dark burgundy. Sometimes I couldn't even walk through a room without bumping into something! So we lightened it up a little bit . It's still just a dark house by nature, but it's comfortable and people feel welcomed here, I hope.

G&C: What's your idea of a perfect day?

Sheri Moon Zombie: Perfect day is waking up at 7:00 a.m., seeing that it's raining outside, staying in bed until 9:00, then getting up and making a nice breakfast. If it is a no-work day, then we'd sit in the screening room and have a double feature. We'd order a pizza, Rob's favorite food. Just hanging out with my hubby is my idea of a perfect day.

G&C: What is your motto, or your philosophy on life?

Sheri Moon Zombie: "Be happy, healthy and in love" I really think the goal is be healthy, happy and in love. Your health comes first. Your body is your vehicle for everything, so you should be healthy. Which generally makes you happy.

And I think it's really important to share your life with somebody special. I know a few people that are alone and there's an emptiness. When you come home after a long day, and you have no one to talk about your day with, it becomes 10 times worse. But if you talk about it with your spouse or your partner, before long you're like, "Oh, that's nothing". Yeah, I think it's important to "Be happy, healthy and in love".