“I have a major production underway – I’m six months pregnant,” Yael tells WHO while on a visit to the base of Hanging Rock in the Macedon Ranges, for the launch of her new Aussie series.
“What this feels like is I have a brand new role that I’ve never, ever trained for,” she laughs. “This is my first one, and this is a much-wanted, much-planned for child. We’re so excited.”
Yael, 32, and her partner Jack Manning Bancroft, the founder of AIME, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, plan to stay put in her hometown Sydney for the coming months until the baby is born.
“We are so excited to be doing this here, and have our family around,” she beams. “This is a very important moment to share in our lives.
“We have absolutely no idea what’s on the other side of this, so it’s a grand leap into a brand new role.”
Yael returned to Australia just days after completing filming in New York on season six of Orange is the New Black.
On the day of the Picnic launch at Hanging Rock, Yael kept her feet firmly on the ground, choosing not to climb the famous rock, complete with all its many spiritual fables and mysterious tales.
“In some ways, I felt a little relieved I was never on set here,” she says, while rubbing her baby bump. “To be honest, I was a little nervous about the rock – everyone seemed to be sick when they were here. I do believe it has a power.”
As a result of her pregnancy, her on-set commitments as Lorna Morello on Orange also took an easier turn.
“I was pregnant throughout that filming, so I was involved in much less rioting this time around,” she says. “Although, Orange is probably the least physical show I have ever done, as Lorna is not right in the middle of all of it. She’s always away in her own world!”
As for any insight into what’s to come in the new season, Yael confesses she has to remain tight-lipped. “I can’t give anything away – it’s so locked down,” she says, before admitting, “but I do think we will do one more season.”
Upon announcement of her pregnancy, Yael had to withdraw from the Sydney Theatre Company’s June production of the stage classic Saint Joan. Now with filming on Orange completed, and with Picnic at Hanging Rock ready to screen on Foxtel in May, this is the first time she has been without any future filming commitments. And she’s happy about that.
“I had to be clear and state that this pregnancy is my priority. Baby is the most important thing right now.
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