Madeleine West And Olympia Valance Tell Us Everything We Need To Know About Playing For Keeps
A smart, sexy, feminist take on the male-dominated world of football, 'Playing For Keeps' is ready to serve glitz, glamour, and maybe a murder.
Ahead of tonight's premiere of Playing For Keeps, co-stars Madeleine West and Olympia Valance are excited.
Set in a world that revolves around a fictional football team, the show follows the wives and girlfriends -- or WAGs -- of the team's players, but Olympia Valance -- who plays Tahlia on the show -- says there's much more to the characters than their WAG label.
"There is such a stereotype regarding the label 'WAG', and it’s really exciting that we get to tear that open and offer up a multi-layered perspective," Valance told ten daily. "There’s so much more to these women than meets the eye, but they get judged and critiqued very easily."
Describing it as an "aspirational drama", Madeleine West -- who plays Kath -- noted that although we see the real wives and girlfriends of football players constantly, "we don't know [them]".
"They're in a world unto themselves," she said. "In this show, we recreate that world -- shiny, glamourous, covered in bling, diamond encrusted -- and we crack it open to show them all the juice that’s going on under the surface."
"It’s full of drama and sexiness and, you know… maybe murder," echoed Valance, adding that "it’s jam-packed full of everything you want."
In fact, Valance was so entranced by the script for the first episode that it was enough to bring her home from Los Angeles.
"Honestly I wasn’t really ready to come back to Australia yet, but when I read the script, the writing was unnnnnbelieveable, and I knew that I had to be a part of this show and that I had to play this character," she revealed, adding: "The writing is whip-smart, and I love the notion of telling a story based in a male world from the perspective of five very powerful females."
The female perspective of the show was also an important element for West, who described stories about women -- especially ones who "have each other's backs" -- as "a very rare creature in any kind of TV context".
"It’s kind of a feminist take on what stereotypically is the masculine world, and if you’re thinking that you’re gonna watch this show and see catty catfights, girls against girls, that’s not what this is about. This is about friends and women supporting each other, supporting each other’s success, looking after each other because at the end of the day, women are stronger when they are united."
With the Honey Badger as our Bachelor this year, we had to ask, what kind of bachelorette would West and Valance's characters be, if they were to find themselves on the show.
"If Kath was on The Bachelorette, I think she would be a bit of an Anna Heinrich -- she’s unapologetically intelligent, she’s put together, she knows how to rock a sexy heel, and she doesn’t necessarily have it all together," West ventured.
"Kath still makes mistakes, but the thing that's different is that she’s a woman about to enter her middle years and rediscovering herself, or at least trying to, which is something we don’t often see on TV," she continued. "So she doesn’t necessarily fit into the paradigm of The Bachelorette, but my God, she’s a woman that any woman viewing the show can relate to."
Valance, meanwhile, knew that her Tahlia wouldn't have a bar of it.
"She wouldn’t go on The Bachelor!" Valance exclaimed. "Let me tell you, that is NOT Tahlia’s vibe. She is not after any man, she doesn’t need any man to look after her, she can do anything on her own, and that’s what’s so inspiring about Tahlia. She doesn’t need to rely on anyone, she doesn’t want to rely on anyone, that’s why she is so driven."
Watch our full interview with Madeleine West above, and tune into Playing For Keeps, tonight at 8:30pm, only on Ten and WIN Networks.