A lifelong resident of a city enthralled by fame, former Power Rangers actress Alyson Sullivan was oblivious to her own cult celebrity until she started appearing at fan conventions in 2014 — fully a dozen years after she'd starred as Taylor Earhardt (aka "the Yellow Power Ranger") in superhero TV series Power Rangers Wild Force.
"I had lines [of fans] all day," she recalls of her first convention, in Pasadena. "I had fans wearing my costume. ... Boys were wearing my costume!"
While L.A. may boast more celebs per capita than anywhere else on Earth, Sullivan personifies what is probably a much larger segment of its population: entertainers who have on-again, off-again relationships with fame (and its accompanying fiscal rewards). In the case of this classically movie star–striking blonde, this means earning additional income from posing for photos and selling merchandise at "cons," while also — of all things — handmaking and marketing her own brand of vegan mustard.
For 41-year-old Sullivan, whose family has lived in Los Feliz since 1913, these ostensibly diverse pursuits are bound by her instinctive, and very palpable, love for humankind.
"I like to make people happy," she enthuses, demurely perched on the sofa of the tiny Silver Lake bungalow she shares with her Irish drummer husband, as their seven pets chirp and slurp interjections. "Whether it's acting or feeding them."
The disarmingly charming Sullivan was a fixture in TV commercials from age 9, and recalls first being asked for autographs while a recurring character in The Torkelsons sitcom in her mid-teens. After a break from professional acting while studying theater at USC ("looking like me, I should have some type of degree"), she was (re)discovered by a producer for MTV's Undressed while hosting at a Los Feliz restaurant. By 2002, having read for the show "probably six times," she was a Power Ranger.
Yet her 40 episodes of Power Rangers didn't make Sullivan (who appeared under her maiden name, Alyson Kiperman) feel famous, as most of the show's fans were young children with whom she had little contact. So when Power Rangers conventions began in 2007, she ignored repeated invitations.
"I thought that I was going to show up and no one was going to care," she insists. "I had no clue!"
Her long absence from cons, at which she now appears all over the U.S. and U.K., has only made her an even hotter commodity. The money she makes at these multiday events has been welcome, says Sullivan, who a few years ago sold her yellow Power Rangers vest on eBay for $1,500.
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Following her season on the series, she co-owned a gym franchise in Hancock Park for many years, while also appearing in Lifetime TV shows and in Larry Bishop's 2008's neo-outlaw biker film Hell Ride. She's slated to star in another Bishop movie, The One-Way Ride, which is in preproduction.
For the past four years, Sullivan also has been developing and selling her Sullivan Farms Sweet & Spicy Mustard. Based on a friend's family recipe, modified to be gluten-, dairy- and soy-free, the business was born from her passion for throwing holiday parties, where guests would insist she start selling her condiment creation.
"It gave me so much delight to ... feed all the people who didn't grow up here [in L.A.]," she glows, "who didn't have a family to go to."
Originally sold at local farmers markets, Sullivan Farms Mustard now is available at Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese; the Oaks Gourmet in Hollywood; and the Cheese Store of Silver Lake. Sullivan says also she's in talks with two major supermarket chains.