July 11th, 2011
02:51 PM ET
Although Dot-Marie Jones has been acting for nearly 20 years, it wasn't until "Glee" that she found a part she said she'd gladly play for the rest of her life.
Jones - better known as Coach Beiste - had previously worked with "Glee" creators and writers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk on "Nip/Tuck" and an unaired pilot called "Pretty/Handsome." After falling in love with the show's first season, she begged them to write her a part for season 2.
Although Jones isn't sure if Coach Beiste will be back for season 3, she did spill details on why she loves the character, what she's been up to this summer - which includes being a guest judge on "RuPaul's Drag U," airing tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Logo - and who she'd like to arm wrestle on the show.
CNN: When people first saw Coach Beiste, they weren't sure what to expect. What kind of reaction have people had?
Dot-Marie Jones: It's been nothing but positive feedback for me, as far as the show and my character. I think it's fantastic.
I've gotten letters from girls - one girl was, I think, probably in her 20s - [and] she said that she loved my role on the first episode where no one would let me eat lunch with them at their table. She said that she was always one of the girls that never had a place to sit for lunch.
I was bawling my eyes out writing her back and I said, "You'll always have a seat at my table." What do you say to that - other than you put your arms around them through an e-mail.
CNN: What do you think about the show's plot lines and its reputation for dealing with potentially controversial issues?
DJ: There's at least one lesson in every show where people can learn. I don't even like the word "accepting" because who the hell is anybody to accept [anyone else]? I don't like that word at all. I don't like tolerant, either, because to me that means you're putting up with something that you don't like - you're tolerating it.
I love the show and I love the messages it gives. It's a 'people are people, get your head out of your ass' type of deal. And for those that don't like it or don't watch it, they're missing out.
CNN: You've had a somewhat unconventional career, from majoring in criminology in college to starring as Lady Battleaxe on "Knights and Warriors." What's something that fans would be surprised to find out about you?
DJ: I think that I am that big softie. You know, it's like I've had people say, 'God I thought you'd be so mean.' And I'm like, why? Because I'm big? I'm 6'3" and 250 [pounds]. It doesn't mean I'm the Tasmanian Devil.
CNN: What have you been up to this summer?
DJ: "RuPaul's Drag U" asked me to be a guest judge. It was wonderful. Ru is a doll - I love him. Everybody else on the show that was involved, from in front of the camera to behind the camera, was great.
What they do is they take somebody and make them over. ... [On my episode] there were three butch girls, and they made them over to be feminine - it was unbelievable.
CNN: What does the future hold for your acting career?
DJ: I love what I'm doing on "Glee" - I'd like to be on it forever. In my off time, if it works out, I'd love to do more movies and also other guest spots on shows that I love. I've always wanted to be on "Sons of Anarchy" to play Ron Perlman's sister because I love motorcycles, and I love riding.
CNN: You've said you love what the writers give you as far the script goes, but do you have any ideas or scenes you'd like to see on the show?
DJ: I'd like to do an episode - this is a dream of mine for the show - where I'm the substitute for the glee club for a day, like Matt (Morrison) has to go do something, or some type of conflict where we think the other one has the best, easiest job.
CNN: Do you have a favorite character or plot on the show?
DJ: The storyline I was surprised about was Naya Rivera's Santana. I love the episode where she's telling Brittany that she's in love with her and she starts crying - I don't know, it was just really a beautiful scene. It was great for Naya - Naya's got an incredible voice. All those kids are so gifted and talented.
CNN: You have the impressive distinction of holding 15 arm wrestling world titles. We have to ask: If Coach Beiste could have an arm wrestling competition on the show, who would she challenge?
DJ: I'd definitely have to arm wrestle Jane [Lynch] - that would just be hilarious. I don't know - her character's so mean, she'd probably bite me so she'd win.
I love her. She's great. She's like an acting class everyday. And she's fun, it's easy and it was totally comfortable from the beginning, as it was with all the kids.
CNN: Have people started to recognize you more often because of this role?
DJ: It's amazing the demographics of the people that watch this show. There was an older man in the airport one time - he had to have been in his 80s - and I was walking through the airport.
He smacked me on the arm and he goes, "I like your work." I stopped for a second and talked to him. He and his wife had watched "Glee," and they loved me. I've had little kids run up to me and hug me because I'm Coach Beiste.
CNN: You signed a blank contract before taking the role, meaning you didn't know anything about the part. Has Coach Beiste met your expectations?
DJ: It's finally a role where I'm not playing the big, tough chick. I am still playing the tough chick, but I'm also showing a vulnerable side and a heart. And I love that - it's a dream.
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