In Star Trek: the Motion Picture a huge, invincible cloud approaches Earth and Admiral Kirk reassumes command of his old ship in order to stop it.
Lieutenant Ilia (Persis Khambatta) was the navigator on the USS Enterprise during the incident. Ilia was a Deltan, a humanoid species distinguished by their bald scalps.
Deltans believed Humans to be a sexually immature species. Because of their high sexuality, Deltans had to swear an oath of celibacy upon entering service in Starfleet, thus promising not to take advantage of any fellow crewmember. Ilia had, however, been romantically involved with Willard Decker, who also now served aboard the Enterprise.
Persis Khambatta, a former Miss India, had already been cast as Ilia for a projected relaunch of the Star Trek TV series. She famously had her head shaved for the role. She
At first Persis Khambatta had no qualms about shaving her head but later began worrying if her hair would grow back properly. Roddenberry proposed insuring her as this would reassure her and also, probably more importantly, get many times the cost back in publicity. But the plan was scrapped when it turned out such a guarantee would be highly expensive. Leonard Nimoy reportedly told her that anyone who could grow back a beard after shaving would have no problem.
Fred Phillips, Janna Phillips & Ve Neill were the credited makeup artists.