Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Michala Banas

COUNTRY style… McLeod’s Daughters’ Michala Banas. The show’s newest recruit finds country life isn’t easy.

Riding high

WHEN Australian actor Michala Banas hit Drovers Run on McLeod’s Daughters to play the new character Kate Manfredi, a lot of people were expecting Marissa from Always Greener to rock up.

But according to Banas, characters Kate and Marissa are polar opposites—something she is happy about.

“One had plenty of social skills but didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life and the other (Kate) knows what she wants to do but has no social skills,” Banas says.

“That is why I chose the role, my aim was to have this character that was completely different to the one I had been playing for so long.

“I hope the audience sees the big difference.”

Banas, 25, says joining the McLeod’s Daughters cast in November last year was daunting.

“It was extremely nerve-racking,” she says.

“For the first month I had a lot of insecurities and nerves about trying to fit in with such an established cast.”

Now, she feels right at home with her new surrogate family.

And despite having to move away from her family, friends and life in Sydney, Banas is happy living in Adelaide.

“I thought I would come to the point where I would be like, ‘oh, my God, I’m living in Adelaide’, ” she says.

“But to be honest if you are doing what you love you can be anywhere and you’ll be fine.”

After getting over the shock of the isolation of the McLeod’s set, Banas had one other surprise waiting for her on her first day of shooting, compliments of the wardrobe department.

“The high-waisted jeans freaked me out,” she says.

“I was like ‘Oh, these feel so weird’, when I first had to wear them.

“But my costumes are very much suited to my character—dorky but cute.”

After settling into playing Kate—who Banas describes as a hard-working, socially inept, slightly dorky high achiever—she found a new appreciation for life on the land and realised how hard Australian farmers work.

“We only stuff around and look like we are doing things like lifting bales of hay,” Banas says.

“We shoot 12-hour days but our wranglers, our country guys, they’re up before us and finish after us and that is their life so you’ve got to respect that.

“I go for an hour horse ride and I am exhausted and I am not even scratching the surface of what they do.”

Banas says she would like to be a film star but for now her focus is on maintaining full-time work.

“It is really rare to go off a lead role in an ongoing series and straight into another so for now I am just going to enjoy this while I’m doing it,” she says.

 McLeod’s Daughters, Nine, Wednesday 7.30pm

By Katrina Witham
July 15, 2004
The Courier Mail