One thing that can be said about New Zealand-born actress Michala Banas is that she's far from the cold-hearted bully she portrays on Seven's hit drama series, Winners & Losers.
Rather, the 33-year-old has a warm, friendly charm about her and, after chatting to Access All Areas last week about her return to the show in tomorrow's episode, it seems she doesn't have a mean bone in her body.
But that doesn't mean she doesn't know how to channel the cruel devices of her spiteful character, Tiffany Turner, who viewers would recall terrorised the show's four leading ladies Jenny, Bec, Sophie and Frances during their high school years, which was shown early on in the last season.
So given Banas is nothing like Tiffany, how does she turn on the mean streak with such ease?
"Someone asked me whether (Tiffany) was sort of moulded on anyone, but she wasn't," Banas said. "Being on the receiving end of bullies at school, I saw what it was like.
I'm certainly not trying to be that chick that was mean to me at school or anything but I think when you really get down to the nitty gritty of it, the people who are bullied often are either being bullied by a parent or someone at home or they've got something going on.
"I know it sounds really contrived but that's kind of how I saw her, I feel like she's constantly trying to maintain power because that's the only thing she can hold on to."
Originally panning out as the high school bitch, viewers soon began to see a different side to the mean Tiffany.
She was going through a marriage breakdown, which saw her caught up in a legal battle to get custody of her children.
It was only when the kind-hearted Bec (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith) offered her part of her lottery winnings to hire a lawyer that Tiffany was able carry on.
But in tomorrow's episode, a dolled up Tiffany is spotted by Bec dining at a high-class restaurant with a new, seemingly wealthy boyfriend in tow, which makes it seem as though the former teen bully may have her life in order.
But Banas warned there was something much deeper brewing for her character.
"She appears to be living the high life, she's eating at a nice restaurant, she's got a handsome slightly older boyfriend with money and it all seems very exciting and interesting that she's landed on her feet," she explained. "But as we progress there's (something else) going on."
"But the good thing I really like about this show and this storyline in particular is that we're not just going for the stock standard storyline. We're handling it as a slightly more delicate and gritty kind of situation which I think will be really interesting."
Though there appears to be no change in the bitchy attitude, does Banas think Tiffany's personal struggles will be enough to win over viewers? "The viewers are never going to love Tiffany and she's always going to grate on the nerves a bit," Banas said. "But they'll get time to understand her a bit and discover her fierce protectiveness for her children and why she has these walls."Winners & Losers airs tomorrow at 8.30pm on Seven/GWN7.
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