Rising Moon

By Jeff Sanico

Photographs by Eric Sueyoshi

Styling: Kelvin Seah of Rouge Artists

Makeup: Kristi Fuhrmann

Hair: Nazanin Karimi

Photo Assistant: Na Young Ma

Old Hollywood. That’s the theme of today’s extravagant photo shoot, located in one of L.A.’s oldest gated communities, Fremont Place. Beyond the security checkpoint, 31-year-old starlet Moon Bloodgood is getting the makeover of her life in the backyard of a grand Colonial-style mansion. Having been in the movie biz for just over three years, Moon is quite the opposite of “old.” Bloodgood, in fact, is just getting started in what she hopes will be a long, fruitful career in Tinseltown.

As the makeup artist hovers over Moon’s face, applying powders and creams, Moon discovers that they both hail from the same place: Orange County, Calif. It’s something Moon isn’t very proud of at the moment. “Sometimes I hate being from the O.C. because people think of that show,” she says. “I just feel like that was not my childhood at all. I didn’t grow up with money, and it was ethnically diverse. I didn’t have a bunch of Republicans around me. There’s a whole other culture there that no one really talks about.”

Bloodgood grew up in a low-income housing district in Anaheim with a single immigrant mom taking care of her and older sister Caitlin. “At one point in our lives we were on welfare, and my mom would always bring my sister and I to get food stamps,” recalls Moon. “She felt they wouldn’t be as prejudiced to her because we looked so Caucasian.” Moon and her sister bear a striking resemblance to their father, Shell Bloodgood, who is of Irish-Dutch descent.

“When I was a child I was confused about my heritage,” she says. “When you’re mixed you don’t belong to one culture, you have to learn to adapt to all cultures.”

Moon’s parents met when her father was stationed in Korea. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Nebraska where Moon was born. They divorced when she was just 3 years old, and the split putfinancial strain on Moon’s mother, Sang Cha.

Being broke was hard enough, but being broke in school was even harder. Moon was always finding ways to mask her family’s poverty.

“I’d wait for all the cute boys to get their lunch, then I’d pull out my yellow card and get my lunch. It was so embarrassing. We were like the government kids.”

Unable to afford dance classes, Moon still managed to make the Bernardo Yorba junior high and Esperanza high school dance teams. Sang Cha would set aside money from her various menial jobs to buy her daughter’s dance outfits, spending more than $3,000 by the time Moon graduated from high school.

“My mom definitely encouraged me to be in the entertainment business,” says Moon. “She was kind of rare. Most of my cousins had to play the piano and go to school, and they all ended up being lawyers. [My mom] kind of saw that I sang and I wanted to dance.”

Moon and her mother live together now in Los Angeles and are constantly in each other’s company, even at exhausting photo shoots.

As Moon is being prepped, Sang Cha excitedly talks about her rising star. “She was born with this talent,” she says in her cautiously constructed English. “She always singing and she’d go to her aunt’s house and put on her [aunt’s] clothes and entertain everyone. She’s born the beauty natural.”

Sang Cha then tells an interesting story: “When she was young, she walked bow-legged. We chained her feet together to fix the problem and she was very unhappy. One day when her father wasn’t home, I took off the chains.”


“Do you know about Freestyle?” asks Moon while trying not to blink, which would ruin her fresh eye makeup. “A lot of people don’t know about that. There were these groups when I was a kid, like Sweet Sensation and Exposé. I was a dancer and I was really into that music. It’s hard to explain unless you grew up around it. Mostly you would go cruising and then you would kind of like, have these dance-offs.”

Moon cites hip-hop culture as one of her main childhood influences. “I knew about Queen Latifah, Oaktown 357, TLC and stuff like that. I always looked for those female [hip-hop] artists that I could identify with.

“Now the videos look all the same and it’s generic. I don’t listen to hip-hop the way I used to.”

That freestyle and hip-hop background got her noticed in high school when she began auditioning for dance gigs. Her protective mother, however, thought she should first finish school.

“I wanted to be in the industry right away. In fact, I almost dropped out of high school to go dance for a famous recording artist (who she declines to name). My friends and my mom all told me to stay,” she says.

Moon did, however, try out for a slot as a Laker Girl when she was 17. “It was one of the most grueling auditioning processes,” she remembers. “I was so passionate about dancing that I thought I had a good shot.”

The two-day event had Moon competing against 400 other girls. Two months later she turned 18, the required age to be on the team, just in time to accept that coveted purple and gold outfit.

“Back then it was a big deal to me. Now I kind of giggle, and it’s a cute little thing to me.” She stayed for a year. “They were pretty strict about Laker Girls being your top priority and they didn’t pay barely anything.”

Afterward, Moon landed small dance gigs, such as working at conventions to promote shoe companies like Nike and Skechers. She also danced in a number of music videos such as The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” as well as videos for Fat Joe, Big Pun and Johnny Gill. Modeling offers began to seep in as well. One of her first was a Diesel advertisement shot by famed photographer David LaChapelle, who continued to work with her over the years. It was LaChapelle who introduced Moon to his buddy Prince. Moon soon found herself doing an “Asian-themed” weekly dance show at Prince’s Glam Slam nightclub in downtown L.A.

“A lot of people had said, ‘What are you going to do? Are you going to college? You need a back-up plan.’ I felt that college was important, but I wanted to be in the entertainment industry and no amount of college was going to prepare me for that,” says the actress.

After doing the pro dance circuit for a couple years, Moon’s feelings began to change about the very art she dedicated so much time to.

“I loved dance so much, but I didn’t necessarily love the dance industry,” she says. “I felt it was a really small community that either loved you or didn’t.”

Moon’s creativity felt stifled as well. “I was in these slutty outfits and we would just be dancing in the back making no money. I got really frustrated,” she says. “Spiritually I felt really empty and unfulfilled. I kind of walked away from the dance industry. I stuck with modeling as a way to pay my bills.”

Moon moved to New York briefly in the early 2000s and began working on music as a singer/songwriter while still modeling. “I worked with [producer/entertainer] Paul Anka and there was talk of a development deal. I just couldn’t get the sound right. I loved Portishead and Massive Attack. I wanted to mix hip-hop with world music with folk, [but] I couldn’t find my sound.” Moon worked on her musical aspirations for almost five years before she “fell” into acting.

“My modeling agency sent me on an audition for ‘Just Shoot Me,’” she says of her first acting audition. “I booked the job, and the casting director told me I had a natural acting ability.” At the time, Moon insisted it was just a fluke and she had no real desire to act, but the seed had been planted. Soon after, she sought out an agency to further explore her new interest. Having little to no experience, the agency was reluctant to sign the budding actress. “They weren’t that into me,” recalls Moon.

She had, however, caught the eye of respected casting director Joseph Milton who personally called the agency and said, “You need to sign her or I’m going to get her signed.”

Moon’s first foray into film was a small part on “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton” in 2004. After booking multiple pilots and working on shows like “CSI,” Moon was offered a lead role in the major motion picture “Eight Below,” opposite Paul Walker. Moon, an animal lover, had difficulties trying not to play with her furry canine co-stars. The Disney flick about snow dogs in Antarctica was a commercial success, bringing in over $20 million during its opening weekend. “Eight Below” has since grossed close to $118 million worldwide.

Moon’s next role would be as Rita Shelten, the girlfriend of Detective Brett Hopper (played by Taye Diggs) on the ABC series “Day Break.” While the show (a cross between “Groundhog Day” and “The Fugitive”) had promise, and was the midseason replacement for “Lost,” it lasted just six episodes. Seemingly unfazed by the abrupt cancellation, Moon writes it off as a wrong place, wrong time type of thing.

“I think it was too complicated of a story line,” she says. “It was a high-concept show and for some reason, people didn’t completely respond to it.” Overall, Moon is very proud of the “well-written” series, which can be seen in its entirety on ABC.com. She has since booked another sci-fi time travel series, this one entitled “Journeymen,” that was picked up by NBC and will appear in the fall 2007 line-up.

Moon is sure to attract a slew of sci-fi geeks, not to mention the admirers that were created after that Maxim spread last year, as well as those who flock to unofficial fan sites with names like hotmoonbloodgood.com. Moon, however, already has a real-life leading man, whom she will only refer to as her “guy.” It’s no secret that she is engaged to 29-year-old actor Eric Balfour, but she remains tight-lipped.

“I’m not going to talk about him,” she says. “I’m superstitious about stuff like that. Some things, I think, are sacred. If you put something too high on a pedestal, it’s just going to fall.”

It’s way past lunchtime, and Moon is famished. Finally the food arrives and Moon passes on the pasta she ordered, opting instead for what’s on her mom’s plate. “I love pizza,” says Moon as she devours a slice.

When the reporter inquires further about her engagement to Balfour, Moon replies cryptically. “I’m on a journey,” she says. “I’m not in this perfect place in my life. I’m just someone who’s always trying to figure it out. I don’t have any definites about anything. Other than I want to eat when I’m hungry, because [otherwise] I will get nasty.”

She does however divulge, “My guy doesn’t like pizza, pasta, bread or potato chips. He loves Asian food.”


By mid-April, Moon officially becomes a leading lady. That’s when Twentieth Century Fox’s “Pathfinder” will have made its way to the American silver screen. The film was already released overseas, coming in at No. 1 in Russia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

It’s the story of a Viking boy named “Ghost” (played by “Lord of the Rings” warrior Karl Urban) who is left behind after his clan battles a Native American tribe. Moon plays “Starfire,” the daughter of the powerful Shaman “Pathfinder” (played by Russell Means) and the love interest of “Ghost.”

“It was so much fun being in Vancouver for six months with all those people,” says Moon. “It was a great experience.”

Moon is a tad bit more excited about her other project, “What Just Happened,” an independent film that she just started shooting in which she has a steamy bathroom scene with Robert De Niro.

The film, also starring Bruce Willis and Stanley Tucci, is about the life and times of the famous movie producer Art Winston (played by De Niro). Winston is also one of the producers of the film.

“I know I’m going to be fiercely intimidated,” Moon admits.

The time has come for the first shot of the day and as the stylist makes all the necessary last-minute wardrobe adjustments, Moon realizes the music currently playing might not be the best selection to reach her desired energy levels. “I love Morrissey,” she declares. “But only at night.”

With no offense to the gloomy, British crooner, his CD is ejected and an eclectic mix of danceable grooves begins to play instead. As Moon starts feeling the beat, she catches a second wind from the day’s activities and makes an observation on the overall vintage feel of today’s photo shoot.

“It’s funny because I would’ve never worked in old Hollywood,” says the California girl. “They would’ve never had any roles for me.” Moon pauses for a brief moment, “Well, maybe ‘Chinatown.’”