Like a Version
Matthews's desperate measure was prompted by desperate times. Growing up in Santa Monica she always wanted to act, and was encouraged by her engineer father, James (who died last year of lung cancer), and her mother, Kazuko, a Japanese-born ceramic artist. (Loosely translated, Terumi is Japanese for "shining beauty.") For 10 years, Matthews worked as a waitress while getting bit roles in Off-Off-Broadway plays and TV series like Loving and Knot's Landing. "This year I considered quitting," she says. "I was having such a hard time."
Toughing it out paid off in her performance. "Like Madonna, she's tenacious," says May. She also bears a resemblance to Ms. Ciccone, but the similarities end there. Matthews has a steady boyfriend, and, she says, "I'm not much of a dancer." As for singing, she lip-synchs to a Madonna sound-alike. But now, at least, she's getting a shot at feature film parts. "This role has already helped me get auditions," Matthews says. "It's changed my life."