As an ex–rhythmic gymnast in the British National Squad, Kerry cuts a petite agile figure. “I don’t think I’ll be doing any gymnastic scenes in Bad Girls though! Maxi’s a really mixed-up confused kid, who’s been brought up in a life of crime. Maxi’s not very nice. She’s grown up not to care and has no morals, completely unruly but proud to be the leader of the Peckham Boot Gang.
“I just thought that the character was so different from my personality that if I turned up at the audition as me, saying ‘Hi, I’m Kerry…’ and everything, it would be too much of a jump and the casting director wouldn’t think that I could pull it off. I needed to make them think ‘She’s our girl’ so I dragged all my hair down, I didn’t wear any make-up, and I was sullen and moody. I arrived as Maxi. When I shook their hands I really squeezed to show that I was strong, and spoke with a South London accent. Then I got the recall and I had to do exactly the same thing again! My stomach was churning. It’s nerve-racking enough being yourself at an audition, without pretending to be someone else, when that person is also pretending to be someone else! It was a real gamble – I could have not got the part, and pissed off a casting director by making her think I was an arrogant little bitch!
Laughing, Kerry says “Apparently, I frightened the other girls at the audition. I didn’t mean to! Everyone was being very friendly at the recall as we were acting our scenes together, except me as I was still in character. I was determined not to give it away even to the other girls auditioning - I was just being Maxi. I went over to get some water, and one of the girls had sat in my seat. I didn’t really mean to but I went ‘Oi, that’s my seat…’ After that they were all scared to approach me! Once we got the job and I met the other girls, Pauline and Vic who play the other gang members they were thinking ‘What’s she going to be like, she was so mean at the audition…’! But now we get on really well. We bonded instantly, now I’m me again! Vic and Pauline are like sisters. They bicker, but the next minute they’re laughing. I’m all sort of ‘Come on now, you two…’ I’m the mum. A bit like the characters.
“It worried me in the beginning, coming in as this gang with such big scenes as soon as we arrive – intimidating all the regulars! Linda [Henry who plays Yvonne Atkins] was great, she pulled me to one side and said ‘Tell us if there’s anything you want to know, or don’t understand, or if anyone upsets you…’. Of all the people on set I thought she’d be most like her character, and she’s just so not! They’re all lovely.”
As to Maxi’s clothes, Kerry is not overly keen: “Wardrobe gave us options and always say ‘Are you happy with it?’. Of course you say yes, because you trust them to dress your character just right, but if they mean ‘Would you wear this in real life?’, then the answer’s no, never in a million years!’”
Kerry has worked extensively in the United States in both theatre and on TV shows such as the hugely popular Sabrina The Teenage Witch and The Weird Al Yankovitch Show. In addition to her acting talents, she is an accomplished gymnast – not only was she a member of the British National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team, but she has also performed as a contortionist and acrobat.