Why Kate Jenkinson swapped Hollywood for a Wentworth jail cell
WHEN Kate Jenkinson was laid low with the flu for a week, she finally took the opportunity to catch up on the show all her friends had been telling her about.
By the end of the first episode, not only was she hooked but she’d made a decision – she was going to be in that show no matter what it took.
That show is Wentworth and not long after binge watching two seasons from her bed in LA – where she’d relocated after landing the core role in Rebel Wilson’s comedy Super
Fun Night – Jenkinson realised her dream.
“I caught up with a girlfriend of mine, Kasia Kaczmarek, in LA. She played one of Franky’s ( Nicole da Silva) minions and I was telling her how much I loved the show,” Jenkinson recalls.
“She said, ‘ Well, you know that we filmed a third season and they’ re filming a fourth ?’ And I was like, ‘ I’m in it! I’m doing it, I don’t know what it’s going to be but I’m going to be in that show.’
“Then my agent called me about a month after that lunch and said, ‘ So there’s a job on
Wentworth …’ and I remember saying, ‘ Well it’s mine!’”
Jenkinson plays new inmate Allie Novak, a gay drugaddicted prostitute who was caught up in Kaz Proctor’s ( Tammy MacIntosh) retribution group Red Right Hand.
After being given refuge by Kaz, the pair tracked down the men who’d assaulted her over the years. As such, says Jenkinson, Allie owes a debt towards her protector.
And with the group having been arrested at the end of last season after a tip- off they believe came from Wentworth “top dog” Bea Smith ( Danielle Cormack), Allie is thrown in the thick of things straight away.
“Allie is meant to be an adversary of Bea, but she’s actually quite taken with Bea’s strength and power and finds herself drawn to her ,” Jenkinson says.
Playing a character so “damaged and broken and colourful” was a responsibility Jenkinson took seriously.
Before filming she visited women’s outreach centres, speaking with women who’d gone through similar experiences.
“I wanted to represent a real human being as opposed to just playing a stereotypical bad girl,” she says.
“And it was great for me to get an insight because it reminded me – it could be me. A few different choices or a different up bringing–that could just as easily be me. It was really eye- opening.”
While reluctant to give too many details into what to expect this season, Jenkins on does confirm she will get to interact with Joan “The Freak” Ferguson ( Pamela Rabe), who will herself be a Wentworth inmate when we return.
“I was dying to get my hands on The Freak – or for The Freak to get her hands on me,” she laughs. “I was thrilled.”
While Jenkinson is back auditioning in LA since filming wrapped on season four, she’s adamant she’ll happily stay locked up in Wentworth for however long they’ll have her.
“It’s really interesting to now be an actor in a show that I’m already a fan of,” she says.
“I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy watching it so much now I’m in it but I think I’m going to be able to detach and still watch it as a fan.”
WENTWORTH TUESDAY, 8.30PM, SOHO