Mandana feels that Nikki is in for a hard time this series. “She’ll go wherever the wind blows her, I guess. Finally she gets it together with the chick of her dreams. Nikki and Helen’s (Simone Lahbib) story is about two people who want to be together – but can’t. It’s a bit like Romeo and Juliet. There’s conflict and secrecy. That’s what gives the relationship a dynamic.”
Mandana realises that “for Nikki, without a question of doubt, Helen is the most important thing in her world. It is the only thing she has. Nikki is just in a small world that stays still within the prison system, whereas Helen has a world outside. At the start of this series Nikki’s a bit ecstatic as she believes she is on her way to San Francisco and by the end of the episode she is back at Larkhall and the shit is really hitting the fan left, right and centre. There’s her appeal, and believing Helen doesn’t want to be with her anymore. And then her friendship with Barbara (Isabelle Amyes) is put into question, having lied to Nikki, as the series goes on.
And for Mandana that is pivotal for her character Nikki. “At the end of the day Nikki does not give a f**k if there is not truth and honesty. Nikki strongly believes in honesty and feels let down so much by people she has let in and started to trust if they have lied to her. She does have integrity and has her own boundaries and ideals inside her, which she uses to protect herself. Sure, she takes risks but Nikki has always been a bit of an outsider. It’s all a good mix to for me to play. I think we’ll definitely see those barriers going back up around Nikki again this series!”
Mandana, really empathises with her character Nikki. “Three years ago when Nikki went down she was probably impassioned to appeal but the red tape has worn her down again this series. On the other end of the legal scale and really no comparison to Nikki’s story, I got a parking ticket recently and was knocked back by red tape! I started off impassioned but gradually got worn down. The ticket was wrongly given – so I wrote and contested it but it’s like you’re up against that kind of legality, red tape. You are not going to get anywhere. No one is going to read your letter and answer how you want. You are just going to get the standard response back. However impassioned however articulately I might put my case across, the red tape is going to come out on top – and that is where Nikki is at.”
Mandana Jones’s stunning looks are the result of an Iranian mother and Welsh father. Before moving into television Mandana had worked successfully in the theatre for several years including seasons with the Royal National Theatre and touring with the English Shakespeare Company and Compass. Prior to Bad Girls, Mandana played Dr. Sam Haynes in three series of London Bridge.