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EXCLUSIVE: Wentworth's Kate Jenkinson opens up about her family plans, life in lockdown and THAT explosive new season

The television starlet is ready for another big journey.

By Sebastian van der Zwan
She's taking centre stage as new prison top dog Allie Novak in cult Aussie drama Wentworth, and she's been a hit in Hollywood with US comedy Super Fun Night, but there's still one role actress Kate Jenkinson is yearning for – motherhood.
"Creating a human being seems like the most fantastic and amazing journey," the Perth-born, Melbourne-based star, 38, tells TV WEEK.
"Having a family would be brilliant. It's definitely something I'd like to explore.
"It would be a wild and fun adventure, and I'd be up to give it a try, but I'm also really greedy about my career it means so much change.
"These things have to happen organically, although I already have a baby-daddy in the wings – we just have to wait for the baby bit!"
In the meantime, Kate is relishing her Wentworth character's transformation from the naïve prostitute she was in series four, to the butt-kicking big kahuna behind bars she is in season eight.
"Allie went into the prison so full of optimism and enthusiasm – which is ironic given she was in jail – but over the past few seasons, all that hope and joy has been stripped away from her," the actress says.
"She's probably the most twisted, bitter and hopeless she's ever been, but in a weird way it's equipped her to be the strongest, most badass version of herself, which has been refreshing to play.
"Having played Allie at her lowest ebb for so many seasons – the heartbreak, the despair and loneliness – it really did have a trickle-down effect on how I felt as a person."
Kate has loved playing the role of Allie on Wentworth. (Foxtel)
The new Allie is also more true to who Kate is in real life too.
"I know what I want and what I think is right," the star explains.
"I've always had a strong sense of morality and what I believe is a good way to live. Allie hasn't had such a strong sense of self.
"Ironically, going through such utter destruction and despair – and having the people she loves die so tragically – has emboldened her. She's able to turn herself into a person of value."
So what's the most badass thing Kate has ever done off-screen?
"I tried to break up a fist-fight once," she says with a laugh, still clearly shocked by the memory.
"I'd just finished work and I was walking through the CBD in Melbourne in broad daylight when I saw these two big guys having a proper street brawl.
"There was a circle of people just watching, enjoying the spectacle of these men beating the cr*p out of each other. Some kind of primal, animalistic, somewhat maternal – but also feral –side of me reared its head.
"I was so disgusted – not only with the guys fighting, but also those watching – that I turned into a screaming banshee and got into the middle of the fight to physically try to stop the brawl.
"I was yelling at them, 'What are you doing? This is madness!' Then I turned to the bystanders and was like, 'What is wrong with you people? Somebody call the police!' I tried to do the right thing by breaking up the fight, but I ended up just getting punched in the head. It was pretty stupid of me."
Fortunately, Kate walked away with just a graze, but she adds, "I have a history of doing some pretty stupid things on the streets of Melbourne."
Kate's a baddass on (and off!) screen. (Foxtel)
Another time, the actress tells how she became "enraged" when she saw a man littering.
"He threw this half-full bottle of Coke on the pavement where people were walking," she recalls. "So I picked it up, tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Mate, you dropped this!'
"He just sneered at me and chucked it back down on the ground. So, like an absolute fool, I picked it up again, untwisted the lid, poured it all over him, then ran away quite quickly.
"I guess I have an issue when I see people being blatantly disrespectful – it brings out the lioness in me! I'm not advocating this behaviour, but it felt good in the moment."
Luckily for litterbugs and street brawlers, with Melbourne back in lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases, Kate is now "deep in isolation vibes" at home with her two chihuahua-crosses Bowie and Bruno.
"I'm doing some Method acting here, seeing how they comport themselves and trying to infuse it into my new role as top dog," she says with a laugh.
"Although, I don't think these guys would ever stand a chance of being top dog. They yap, but they're tiny and are never going to frighten anybody."
Kate has hunkered down amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Instagram)
Apart from border closures meaning she misses out on planned trips to London and New York for Wentworth fan conventions, the COVID-19 crisis hasn't had too dramatic an effect on Kate's day-to-day life.
"As an actor, I'm used to periods where there's a lull in work," she explains.
"And I'm very much an introvert, so I'm someone who perpetually lives in a state of isolation. I don't go out, I don't make plans and I'm not a huge socialiser. Life doesn't feel very different.
"I've always known I'm not a social butterfly, but being in forced lockdown and seeing how much my friends are struggling – even the self-proclaimed introverts – I've realised I'm really enjoying myself just doing all that boring housework.
"There's a lot of dog walking, cooking, cleaning… I've categorised my clothes from dark to light, cleaned theback of the pantry and reordered the freezer!"
As talk turns toward the future, Kate confesses she's "very much looking forward" to turning 40 next year.
"I've noticed life just gets better and better with age," she says. "I'm especially lucky to be active in an industry where women past that age are having a renaissance.
"Women over 40 used to see less and less of their stories being portrayed, but now they're being celebrated, which is abundantly clear on a show like Wentworth. It's going to be a rad milestone."
When the international borders reopen, will Kate return to Los Angeles to try her luck?
"That's a really exciting/daunting prospect," she admits.
"I've been contracted to this one show for so long, which is a blessing, but it's limited my options – exactly the kind of problem you don't want as an actor.
"But while I'm beyond grateful for my tenure on Wentworth, I'm excited to see what will come next, what will be offered, what I'll have to fight for… Hopefully, it will be something as exciting and thrilling – although I think I'll need to do a light comedy next to balance this out!"
WATCH: See the Wentworth season eight teaser trailer.

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