UNAS­SUM­ING PRINCESS

From the in­ter­na­tional cat­walk to Nordic roy­alty. Alyssa Suther­land is a model Vik­ing

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - HOLLY BYRNES re­ports

EVEN on the cat­walk, Alyssa Suther­land was never any­one’s fool.

Grace­ful, in­tensely beau­ti­ful, with a look unique enough to earn her an ex­clu­sive con­tract with

Vogue Australia, this savvy run­way queen made the busi­ness of fash­ion work hard for her.

While oth­ers were con­tent to be just a pretty face, lo­cal in­dus­try ex­perts will tell you the Bris­bane-born model was pos­sessed of some­thing more.

Now star­ring as Princess As­laug in her third sea­son of drama se­ries Vik­ings, Suther­land has re­alised that po­ten­tial on the small screen.

Take the cur­rent sto­ry­line which sees her at the cen­tre of a love tri­an­gle with fel­low Aus­tralian ac­tor Travis Fim­mel (as war­rior Rag­nar Loth­brok ) and co-star Kath­eryn Win­nick, who plays his first wife, Lagertha. Rather than play to au­di­ence ex­pec­ta­tions of a throw-down, drag-out cat fight,

Dy­nasty- style, Suther­land and Win­nick took a more sub­tle ap­proach.

“Nei­ther of us wanted to play it ob­vi­ously with th­ese jeal­ous women,” Suther­land says.

“We re­ally liked the com­pli­ca­tions of that sto­ry­line, es­pe­cially for that time pe­riod as well be­cause, morally what we ad­here to to­day, or what we’d like to ad­here to to­day, is dif­fer­ent from what the Vik­ings be­lieved in.”

Strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween the his­tory les­son and the re­la­tion­ships is at the heart of this smart drama, Suther­land says.

Its ap­peal with au­di­ences world­wide has opened up new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the “rookie” ac­tor, who knows to use the suc­cess as a broader launch pad.

“It al­lows you to be a lit­tle bit more fussy about what you’re do­ing and that’s re­ally cool,” she says. “I don’t do things half-heart­edly.”

So much so, Suther­land ad­mits, play­ing the preg­nant princess in sea­son two saw her lit­er­ally wad­dling around the Ire­land set.

“If you see your re­flec­tion of­ten enough, you start to be­lieve it.”

As­laug’s arc has been deeply sat­is­fy­ing for Suther­land, who has seen her aus­tere char­ac­ter mel­low with moth­er­hood.

“It was a re­ally nice place to get to from where she started.

“She’s roy­alty and def­i­nitely high in sta­tus, but I like to think un­der­neath that she’s a big, old, in­se­cure ball of anx­i­ety and spends most of the time try­ing to cover it up.”

Any of Suther­land’s per­sonal hangups, about her body in par­tic­u­lar, had to be par­layed af­ter mak­ing her de­but in a skinny-dip­ping scene.

De­spite years strip­ping in front of strangers back­stage for fash­ion shows, the nat­u­rally mod­est for­mer model still had to calm her nerves.

“How can you not get ner­vous about hav­ing to do some­thing like that? But it ended up that I was out in na­ture, in Ire­land, un­der­neath a wa­ter­fall, sur­rounded by th­ese beau­ti­ful moun­tains and forests, kinda like, ‘Well, if you’re go­ing to do it any­where, this is a pretty beau­ti­ful place to do it’.”

VIK­INGS SEA­SON 3, THURS­DAY, 8.30PM, SBS ONE SEA­SON 2, WED­NES­DAY, 6.30PM, FX

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