At an age when many actresses are bemoaning the lack of opportunities on screen, Kiwi star Robyn Malcolm has rarely been busier.
Since turning 50 in 2015, the Tasman-hopping single mum of two teens has a remarkable 13 roles to her credit, including one of our faves as Julie Wheeler on Upper Middle Bogan, and most recently as Maxine Pavich in the upcoming medical mystery Harrow, also on ABC.
Other star-turns include Rake, The Code, Wanted, and a 10-episode appearance in U.S. fantasy adventure series The Outpost, produced by Stargate movie co-writer and producer Dean Devlin.
So, what’s the secret to her long-running success in such a cut-throat industry?
Aside from being drop-dead gorgeous of course, she brings an alluring sense of honesty and integrity to every character she inhabits, say insiders.
That and the fact no one does ballsy, brutal, dirty, funny and sexy – often all in the same scene – with quite the same panache.
“I like a bit of heat in my characters,” Robyn, now 52, confessed to the Sydney Morning Herald while promoting Harrow, which kicks off on March 9.
“I’m not the ice queen and I never will be. There is a beautiful slow burning alchemy that happens with these really wonderful characters.”
Robyn, who turns 53 on March 15, also makes no apologies for most of her characters being “unashamedly quite sexualised”, a trend that started as far back as 1996 in her breakout TV role on long-running New Zealand soap Shortland Street.
“Most of the girls are on top,” says Robyn, perhaps best-loved in her homeland as the matriarch of bogans everywhere, Cheryl West, of Outrageous Fortune fame.
“When you look at the amount of exploitation of women that has gone on over the years and particularly of how their sexuality is presented on film and TV, one of the things I have always made sure of, is that the female characters I play, their sexuality is up front. It is on their own terms.”
The long-time Greenpeace campaigner is also roundly revered in the industry for her warmth and authenticity, and is far softer in real life than many of her salty on-screen incarnations.
Seemingly, there is nothing off-limits with Robyn, who wears her heart on her sleeve on both sides of the camera.
“Honestly,” she tells the SMH interviewer at one point. “I am going through menopause at the moment and my fucking brain is gone, just gone.”