Since Katrina Milosevic first shuffled onscreen as Sue ‘Boomer’ Jenkins in acclaimed Foxtel series Wentworth, the actress has become somewhat of an Australian treasure.
Fans will cross streets to punch her on the arm in greeting or yell ‘Boomer’ in her face. It’s all a bit much for the softly spoken, self-confessed ‘girlie girl’ from Melbourne who, in her 20s, was the star of French skincare brand Ella Bache.
‘I was 24 or 25, and I was the Ella Bache girl for about two years,’ Katrina confirms to New Idea. ‘I was proud of what they stood for and what they did. They were one of the first to try and reflect people from all walks of life and all shapes and sizes and colours.’
Katrina’s years as a model are a far cry from her current role as Boomer – a part that may have catapulted the 40-something actress back into the public eye but has come at a cost.
‘I’m such a girlie girl and I don’t cope very well [playing tough crim Boomer],’ she says.
‘At first it was awesome, because I could just let it all hang out. And then, as the years have gone on, it’s difficult and so hard for my self-esteem to go on that journey.
‘It’s totally right for my character that she’s like that – I just have to remember for Katrina to take good care of herself, if she can.
‘It does seep in, and my boyfriend Rodney tells me I get very broad and a bit Boomeresque when I’m filming Wentworth. I have to be careful – it’s like osmosis or something.’
However, thanks to beloved Australian comedy-drama Winners & Losers, we’re about to see a much more true-to-life version of Katrina.
Playing teacher Eliza, she admits that she was thrilled to brush her hair for the new role!
‘It was nice for me to actually have some nice make-up put on me for once, and my hair done rather than it being scrunched with mud or grease,’ she says, laughing. ‘I loved it. It was good for my self-esteem to have lipstick on for a change.’
While Eliza may be a more comfortable fit for Katrina, the guest appearance didn’t come without its fair share of drama – her character will shock fans when she kisses Jenny Gross (Melissa Bergland)!
‘I think she’s very fun-loving, and that’s why she and Jenny really connect,’ Katrina explains. ‘They have a chemistry.
‘Unfortunately, there is a big misunderstanding, which threatens to ruin the friendship.’
While not gay herself, Katrina is proud to be depicting a queer storyline on mainstream TV.
‘I think it’s essential,’ she says. ‘I think that’s what this industry should be all about.
‘We’re supposed to be something that helps people see themselves and helps them. It’s just about who you love, that’s all it is. We all want the same thing, and that’s to be loved.’
A role on Winners & Losers – now in its fifth and final season – has been a long time coming for Katrina, who has been involved with the show since the pilot episode.
‘It’s a long-running, behind-the-scenes relationship,’ she explains. ‘I read opposite a lot of the cast [when they] were auditioning.
‘I’ve done a bit of acting coaching with them, I did their big read-throughs – reading through the story for all the execs and the cast.’
It’s been a huge year for the former Stingers star, who has been nominated for a Helpmann Award and is working on her own TV script.
‘Apparently, it’s not anything someone’s done. It’s a bit of a psychological thriller,’ she teases.
With Katrina’s many high-profile friends in the industry – including Wolf Creek 2 writer Aaron Sterns – we’ll undoubtedly see a lot more of her in the future.
And when she’s not busy filming, Katrina spends time with long-term boyfriend Rodney Hawksworth, who’s currently working in outback NSW alongside Justin Theroux on the US TV show The Leftovers.