Actress feels good about Underbelly: Badness debut

Rising star: Zara Michales will star in Underbelly: Badness on Channel Nine. Picture: Lisa McMahon
Rising star: Zara Michales will star in Underbelly: Badness on Channel Nine. Picture: Lisa McMahon

SHE can’t reveal her character but believes most people will be surprised by her transformation when she appears on Channel Nine’s crime drama Underbelly: Badness.

Zara Michales, 22, of Caringbah, didn’t tell her friends or family members she had been cast in the latest instalment of the series.

Instead, they found out she would be on the show when the first commercial aired during the finale of The Voice .

‘‘My parents trust me enough to know that I choose the right parts for me,’’ Miss Michales said.

‘‘They are Greek shop owners who don’t pay too much attention to TV and films.

‘‘I’m my own worst enemy and so critical so they just trust me.’’

The latest Underbelly series follows the story of Anthony Perish, 42, who was jailed for at least 18 years in April for the abduction, murder and dismemberment of drug dealer Terry Falconer.

The commercial shows snippets of people talking about him, including the character played by Miss Michales.

‘‘From the commercial you can tell the character is far removed from me,’’ Ms Michales said.

‘‘They dyed my hair almost platinum blonde and I don’t dress like that.

‘‘I thought it was easier for me to play because it had nothing to do with me whatsoever and it was cool and interesting.’’

This is Ms Michales’ first Australian role for prime-time television.

She was in Los Angeles when she found out she landed a role in late March and came back to Sydney to start a two-month block of filming from mid-April.

“I haven’t seen any of it so I don’t know how many episodes I’ll be in,’’ she said.

“I wouldn’t get the scripts until a week before shooting.’’

The young actress has been auditioning for roles for five years – even missing out on her end-of-year ‘‘schoolies’’ trip to take classes at NIDA in 2007.

“They say you do 200 auditions before you start getting your first role,” said Ms Michales, who has representation in Los Angeles and Sydney.‘I had a callback for the trilogy Riddick last year and I recently auditioned for the second sequel of the Hunger Games.”

While she knows this role will open doors for her in the industry, the actress is adamant that she will do more than just act.

Miss Michales has just one more semester left of a journalism degree at the University of NSW before she plans to move to Los Angeles next year.

‘‘You see so many Aussie actors over there trying to make it in LA and you rock up to an audition and every girl looks exactly like you,’’ Miss Michales said.

‘‘So you just have to keep your head down and not pay attention to that and not get caught up in everything.

‘‘I’ve been there three or four times and I stay grounded by not hanging out with other actors and telling people I’m a journalism student and not an actress.’’

Underbelly: Badness starts on Monday August 13 at 8.30pm.