Just call me madam
KESTIE Morassi has been to some dark places lately. First there was her role as tormented British backpacker Kristie Earl in horror-thriller Wolf Creek, then lawyer Zarah GardeWilson in Underbelly.
Now Morassi is immersed in the secret world of sex workers in Satisfaction.
The striking brunette plays emotionally constricted 232 brothel owner Natalie DeLuca. She reportedly auditioned for Nat, not one of the sex workers, because she was concerned how much nudity a sexworker role would require.
‘‘There is a bit of prostitute in all of us, but to perform those roles, like the girls do on Satisfaction, you need to be comfortable with your body,’’ Morassi has said. ‘‘I am — but not on camera.’’ The second series of Satisfaction takes Natalie on a rollercoaster emotional journey as she copes with the death of her father. A power struggle with Mel (Madeleine West) and the pressures of running 232 force Nat to confront her fear of intimacy.
‘‘Her father’s passing brings about a lot of changes,’’ Morassi says.
‘‘Any regular person would seek solace in talking to other people (about problems) but she has only herself because she’s really not used to relating to people in an intimate way.
‘‘A lot of it is about keeping busy and being in denial about how she’s feeling, but eventually things have to come to a head and there’s a breakdown.
‘‘I’ve never played a character who is so goal-oriented. She’s one of those people who would set a daily goal, a weekly goal, a yearly goal and a five-year goal. I read a lot of management books, such as One Minute Manager, to prepare for the role.’’
Morassi visited brothels before playing Natalie and says talking to prostitutes and madams changed her outlook on the industry.
‘‘The one thing that struck me the most was the dignity the girls had and, in a weird way, the dedication they had to doing a good job,’’ she says.
‘‘It was fascinating how many of them were carers — nurses or mothers — outside the brothels.
‘‘There were a few where you felt sad for them — there was a Satisfaction, MA15+ Showcase, Tuesday, 8.30pm Life inside a brothel Duration: 55 minutes sadness in their eyes — but when I started to talk to them they said they feel like they’re doing a community service. These girls need to be there, the industry needs to be there, and it’s a really hard job.’’
It is Natalie’s relationship with Mel’s brother, Sean, played by Dustin Clare, that brings some much-needed joy to her life.
‘‘As things go on, you see cracks in the veneer,’’ Morassi says.
‘‘You see a fun side to her. She can be quite witty.’’
PLAYING Zarah GardeWilson in Underbelly left an indelible impression on Morassi.
It’s the first time she’s been recognised and approached by people on the street and it makes her uncomfortable.
‘‘I’ve never really been recognised on the street before but I suppose it comes from being on a popular television program,’’ she says. ‘‘I would rather not get recognised. I see that as a downside to acting, personally.
‘‘Trying to research her (GardeWilson) was really difficult. She only did one television interview (before filming started on Underbelly), but I didn’t get to see it. I had to go on newspaper articles and photos of her so I didn’t have a lot to go on. I pretty much played her as a woman in love.
‘‘I believe the legalities of playing a character like that meant Channel 9 were afraid of depicting her in any kind of way other than a favourable way.’’
Kestie Morassi plays brothel owner Natalie DeLuca.