Wentworth's Kate Box and Zoe Terakes: "It's not over for us"

Their time on Wentworth may be at an end, but Zoe Terakes and Kate Box’s friendship endures.

Fastened around the middle fingers of Kate Box and Zoe Terakes' left hands are matching silver rings. As they sit on the set of prison drama Wentworth, legs entwined while the camera flashes, the handmade crowns gleam in unison.
Crafted by Zoe to signify their connection, the rings are just one of many things that tie Kate and Zoe together.
On screen, Kate plays former prison Top Dog Lou Kelly, and Zoe is her transgender boyfriend Reb Keane. The couple was sent to Wentworth after a robbery gone wrong. Fiercely protective, Lou will do absolutely anything to keep Reb out of harm's way.
For Kate and Zoe, creating the on-screen devotion wasn't hard. In fact, their relationship goes far beyond Lou and Reb.
Zoe and Kate have been friends long before Wentworth. Paul Suesse
Their friendship began four years ago when Zoe, who identifies as a non-binary transgender man and uses the pronouns "they" and "them", was a young actor working their way up the ranks of the Australian entertainment industry.
As Zoe's career started to grow, they felt unsure how to approach the next steps, navigating the challenges of being a non-binary person in a heteronormative industry.
"When I was younger, I didn't know how to come out as gay to the industry," Zoe, 21, tells TV WEEK. "Everyone pointed me in Kate's direction. She was so open and generous with her time and we hadn't even met at this point. It was this weird friendship/mentorship thing for a while."
As a queer woman, Kate was happy to offer guidance and protection, and the pair developed a strong friendship before they even met.
When the opportunity to star alongside Kate came up, Zoe felt it was destiny – a full-circle moment – to be on screen
with their former mentor. But although Zoe seemed the obvious choice to play Reb, landing the role didn't come easily.
Being together was all Lou and Reb wanted. Jackson Finter
"I really fought for it," Zoe recalls. "I emailed the producers to let them know how important it was to have a trans person telling this story. It was also terrifying, because suddenly I had the role and I felt the weight of the trans community on my shoulders. I didn't want to get it wrong."
Stepping into Reb's shoes, it took a little while for Zoe to find the middle ground between their own identity as
a trans man, and who Reb is.
"About two weeks in, I made this call where I was like, 'Reb isn't going to do anything I wouldn't do,'" Zoe says.
While Zoe drew on their own identity and experiences as fuel for Reb, it took some research for Kate to find her feet as Lou. With her unwavering devotion to Reb, there was another darker layer of Lou that forced Kate to dive into a dark
headspace, and go deep in creating backstories for her character.
"I was keen to take on all the preparation you need to portray somebody who has such a violent and dark response to the world," Kate says.
"Lou has such a strict, strong, moral code. Her morals, humour and her love for Reb always got me through the darkness of it all."
Lou would do anything to protect Reb. Sarah Enticknap
At all times, Lou's love for Reb is a driving force, steering her every move. For Kate, their love story was the light in the darkness of the prison.
"It was such a wonderful feeling to play a woman so driven by love, even though her environment didn't necessarily allow her to act in a loving way or thrive," she says.
And after being a beacon for Zoe personally years prior, creating the on-screen devotion and connection felt easy.
"We have a chemistry that comes naturally," Zoe says.
"It made us feel really safe, because we didn't have to work on the epic-ness of Reb and Lou's love story. It came for free… and that doesn't happen very often."
For Kate and Zoe, saying goodbye to their characters has been harder than they expected. Super-fans of the show long before they joined the cast in season eight, the end felt sooner than they would have liked.
"I felt I could have stayed with Lou," Kate admits. "I enjoy her passion, humour and the vigilante way she serves justice. While I was ready for a rest, I certainly wasn't ready to say goodbye."
Zoe and Kate's bond isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Paul Suesse
Heading home after shooting their final scenes for Wentworth, Zoe admits they were an absolute mess.
"I had a really massive cry on the plane. It really rattled me. This has been the hardest goodbye I've ever
had for a job. When you say goodbye to a character, the ghost of that character leaves you and there's this absence. But it's so nice that when we're back in the same room it still feels like school camp."
While Reb and Lou's story may have come to an end, Zoe and Kate's bond isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
"Kate is like my best friend," Zoe says. "And the best actor I've ever had the privilege of working with."

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