Call her a swing-out sister. When Kathy Najimy’s rock & roll dance moves, over-projected soprano, and Mary Hart-inspired smile explode from under her nun’s habit in the new film Sister Act, the comedy becomes divine. ”I’m not a very good ensemble person,” she says. ”I tend to pull focus.” True to form, the moment Najimy waves merrily from the convent lunch table to the newly arrived Whoopi Goldberg, the camera is hers.
Najimy, 35, has known she was born to perform since the second grade in San Diego, when her reading of a poem about Abraham Lincoln garnered a PTA ovation. The applause continued during the 1989-90 Off Broadway run of The Kathy & Mo Show, character sketches she cowrote and acted with Maureen Gaffney. Roles in Soapdish and This Is My Life followed; next Najimy will film Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler (”My idol since I bought her first record at Kmart”).
The outspoken feminist (who showed up for the photo shoot with ”Pro-Choice” lettered across her nails) lives with musician John Boswell in Manhattan. ”At the risk of sounding like Hallmark,” she says, ”it’s the only place I feel I truly fit in.”