Kate Jenkinson is in the middle of explaining what it's like to cut off someone's finger when she stops short.
"Just giving you a warning," she says. "I think my dogs may start barking."
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Sure enough, excitable barks begin ringing out in the background.
Kate is speaking to TV WEEK from the bedroom of the Melbourne home she shares with her partner Nathan Harding.
Her rescue pups Bruno and Bowie are by her side.
"I'm actually sitting in bed with them both at the moment, in the main bed, which they're definitely not allowed to be in," she explains.
"But they're here, and they're very, very cute."
"My biggest fear about having kids, actually, is that I'm just not going to love the kid as much as I love these dogs."
Parenthood is on Kate's mind at the moment.
The 39-year-old is best known for playing Allie Novak in Wentworth, where last year, among other things, she cut off fellow inmate Lou's (Kate Box) finger with a pair of shears.
Now, for something completely different, she's starring as midwife Grace in new drama Amazing Grace.
Kate was keen to start a family before she began filming the series.
Then she found herself spending her days with lots and lots of babies.
"I thought it might put me off, seeing all of the screaming babies and all the throes of labour," she admits.
"But the opposite is true. I think it's made me cluckier than ever and I certainly hope that that's on the cards for me sometime soon."
The actress has no doubt Nathan is going to make a great dad.
"He just never gets upset with the dogs, no matter how annoying they are – which to be fair, can be quite annoying," she says.
"He's definitely got the chops for being a good baby daddy, because he's a pretty great pup daddy."
Kate's own childhood, in Perth, involved her putting on plays for her family, making them "sit in the lounge room and buy tickets".
After graduating from drama school, she was cast in sketch comedy The Wedge, alongside Rebel Wilson.
Then came roles in series from Tangle to House Husbands, and even a brief appearance in Home And Away, where she played a tough-talking character in a scene with "beautiful Stephen Peacocke [who played Brax]".
"I remember it was possibly the coldest I've ever been in my life, filming one scene down on the St Kilda foreshore, like seven o'clock in the morning, and my eyes wouldn't stop watering, I was that freezing. And poor Stephen, he was in a T-shirt and acting like a total pro!"
While playing Patrick's (Matthew Le Nevez) sister in Offspring, Kate got an offer from Rebel, by now based in the US.
Did she want a role in her sitcom Super Fun Night?
For Kate, it was a dream come true, especially with Rebel as creator and co-star.
"For the longest time, my dream job had been a sitcom in America, shooting in LA," she says. "Having Rebel there and knowing she was at the head of it certainly was a grounding and calming influence."
The sitcom ran for 17 episodes.
Two years later, when Kate was living in the US, she was offered the Wentworth role back in Australia.
She says the scenes she filmed as Allie, including cutting off Lou's finger and waterboarding Marie (Susie Porter), were "what you live for as an actor".
"The level of gruesomeness and depravity you have to dive into, it's pretty full-on and fun to play with. I think that's why so many actors want to be in the show."
Kate played intern Tara in eight episodes of comedy-drama Doctor Doctor in 2019, but when she finished filming Wentworth in 2020, she was looking for a change.
Playing a midwife in Amazing Grace seemed exactly what she was after.
"There's a lot of joy that sits around birth and giving life," she says. "It sounded like a wonderful antidote to the show I'd been on for so many years."
But to her surprise, she found that one of her storylines, involving the loss of a child, was "more traumatic" than anything she'd filmed in Wentworth.
"It's because I could relate to Grace so much more than I ever could to Allie," she explains. "Allie is so far removed from who I am and the world I operate in, whereas Grace is me, essentially – a hardworking woman who wants nothing more than to have a family, be happy and to have a harmonious life."
Luckily for Kate, in real life, she has Nathan to come home to.
"He's just a really rock-solid kind of guy," she says.
Nathan runs a digital marketing company, which means his world and Kate's are very different.
But she's found out, from asking him to help her with auditions, that he's actually "a really good actor".
So would she want him to start auditioning for roles himself?
"He's so damn good-looking and charismatic, he'd probably do better than me – and I'm not sure my ego could handle that!" she says with a laugh.
This year is shaping up to be another big one for Kate. She's turning 40, but feels that it's "only a number."
"I think that turning 40 is just going to be the start of a new, really interesting chapter," she says.
"Especially if I can get a baby along the way!"
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