The New Legends of Monkey: characters

Michala Banas as Kate Manfredi

Kate Manfredi is the eldest of three daughters from a second-generation Italian farming family. Kate’s mum was always more critical of Kate than of her siblings.

While the Manfredi’s worked hard on their property to provide financially for their daughters, when Kate needed emotional support, neither parent could offer it. The only time she ever seemed to get their attention was when she was achieving at either school or through extra-curricular activities.

When Kate met Jodi at boarding school, she was happy to have a mate she didn’t have to compete with. Jodi couldn’t have cared less about school-marks and achievements, and it was a welcome relief for Kate to have a comic side-kick who helped her put things in perspective.

After school, Kate won a scholarship and went straight on to Agricultural College. She was the first Manfredi to go to university and the whole family was depending on her to succeed so she spent her time in frantic over-achiever mode.

While Kate’s parents have tremendous expectations of her, they are nothing compared to her expectations of herself. Kate is a control freak but life, particularly on a farm, is way beyond Kate’s control. Try as she might, Kate can’t plan everything.

Michala was already a popular television personality due to her work as Marrisa Taylor on Channel 7's Always Greener. This role earned her a 2002 Logie nomination for Most Popular New Female Talent.

Michala is loving her time with McLeod's Daughters. "It's the hardest job I've ever had," she says, "but I love that it's hard. I still pinch myself it really is a dream role. The scripts are great, the crew's great, the cast is wonderful."

She chuckles when asked about her character, Kate Manfredi. "Kate is so smart and so sensitive, but a bit, well, socially challenged. People seem to respond to that, and love her for it. She's different to any character I've ever played, so I'm really enjoying myself."

Michala has also appeared on other popular television dramas Something in the Air, The Saddle Club, Blue Heelers, Round the Twist, Mirror Mirror, Home and Away, GP and Flipper and in the films Ned and Scooby Doo.