If you’ve been completely hooked (and horrified) by “The Handmaid’s Tale” since it premiered on Hulu a few weeks ago, chances are you’re quite familiar with Yvonne Strahovski, the actress who plays the Commander’s (Joseph Fiennes) cold yet beautiful wife, Serena Joy.
Strahovski admits that figuring out this complex character was one of the most difficult parts about filming “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“Serena has a lot of dualities that make her,” she reveals. “She helped create Gilead as a society and now has to survive within a cage she built for herself.”
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Given the emotional heaviness of her character, the 34-year-old actress spent a lot of time with nature to stay in balance — going to the lakes in Toronto and biking whenever she could.
“It wasn’t easy sitting with her [Serena Joy] and it was hard to shake her. I relied on nature heavily when it came to that.”
Since the show’s premiere, many parallels have been drawn between Serena Joy and Ivanka Trump, and Strahovski thinks the comparison is spot-on.
“Serena is a passive bystander. She’s watching women without their rights become sex slaves to the elite. It resembles Ivanka Trump’s response to women losing rights with their bodies [and being the subject of] derogatory comments.”
The similarities are so uncanny that Strahovski may even use Ivanka’s newest book, “Women Who Work,” as inspiration for Serena Joy’s character in Season 2.
“Serena writes a book about domestic feminism where women empower themselves through their own biological destinies,” she says. “I’m curious to see what Ivanka Trump has written in her new book as a character study for Serena.”
One thing’s for sure — Strahovski herself is anything but a passive bystander and even participated in the Women’s March in Toronto.
“It was intense, enlightening, beautiful and powerful. I had never been to anything like that and I certainly didn’t expect 65,000 people to show up,” she reflects. “It was something I couldn’t sit out and I didn’t want to.”
The actress hopes “The Handmaid’s Tale” will inspire thoughtful discussion and mindfulness amongst its viewers.
“It wouldn’t take much to fall into a society like that if we aren’t careful,” she warns.
The next episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale” airs this Wednesday on Hulu.