The Australian actress from Dexter and The Guilt Trip talks belly dancing, her ideal guy, and shady dates.
This feature appears in Complex's December 2012/January 2013 issue.
Yvonne Strahovski’s days of operating in the shadows are over. After kicking ass for five years as sexy spy Sarah Walker on the cult favorite action-comedy series Chuck, the 30-year-old Australian bombshell is currently expanding her audience playing Hannah McKay in the seventh season of Showtime's Dexter. In December, she mines laughs with two of the biggest comedic actors alive, Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, in The Guilt Trip. The truth is coming to light.
You wore a variety of crazy outfits while playing a spy on Chuck. Which was your favorite?
It was always fun to try on costumes and partake in weird activities. I particularly liked the belly-dancing outfit. I’d never belly danced before, but I learned, and now that’s a skill I can add to my résumé. [Laughs.]
Chuck spent most of its years on the bubble, so every season finale acted as a series finale in case the show wasn’t renewed. Did you have one where you thought, if the show ends here I’m satisfied?
That’s hard to say. I don’t know that if I’ve ever thought about that. What I can say is I was always prepared for it to end. We were always on the bubble after every season, so we never knew what was going on. The writers had a very difficult task of writing kind of like Choose Your Own Adventure books. They had to write an ending that would be satisfactory as a real ending, but also be open to continuation if we got renewed. It was great to know that season five was the end, and they wrote with that in mind, knowing that that was it and they could write with a big finale in mind, and not have to play that game of “will we or won’t we?” anymore.
Over the seasons there were a number of Sarah-centric episodes. Which is your favorite?
Hands down, the Thailand episode [“Chuck Versus Phase Three”]. That has my favorite fight scene and it was a side of Sarah Walker that we hadn’t yet seen, a more evil side. She didn’t care about anything except finding Chuck and she stopped at nothing. I had fun playing that.
Belly dancing is a skill I can add to my résumé.
In The Guilt Trip, Seth Rogen plays an inventor and your love interest. What non-existent invention do you need in your life?
A robot that makes decisions for me so I can have an extra set of hands accomplishing the things I have zero time for, in the way that I want them done!
How would you describe your ideal guy?
He has to be smart, honest, understanding with a good conscience, funny, and…athletic. [Laughs.]
Do you prefer Australian guys or American guys?
There are good ones and bad ones in both countries. For now, I’ll be patriotic to the country I’m currently living in and say American.
How tough are your parents on guys you date?
They’ve always been supportive. They are welcoming and tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Then, later on, they give me their two cents!
How did marathon viewing Dexter to prepare for your role as Hannah McKay affect you?
It gave me horrible nightmares! I watched the full six seasons in three weeks and had Dexter on the brain day and night.
How do you punish people who do you wrong?
I drug them and take them out to a forest, where I wrap them in plastic and—oh, wait, that’s Dexter.
What’s the shadiest thing you’ve discovered about someone you’ve dated?
On our first date, one guy farted loudly in front of me. I considered that shady for a split second, before I burst into laughter and thought, Wow, he’s a keeper.
What do fans ask you to say most often in your Australian accent?
Everyone loves to hear me say “no.” When an Aussie says “no,” you can hear all the vowel sounds in the alphabet. I often get made fun of for it.
Hearing you say “yes” must be even better.
WATCH YVONNE'S "HOW TO AVOID A GUILT TRIP" VIDEO:
Interview by Frazier Tharpe (@The_SummerMan)
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Leila Babol. (HAIR) Richard Marin. (MAKEUP) Heather Currie. (First Image) Top by Keepsake the Label / RING by Lance Fischer. (Second Image) Top by Jeremy Scott/ Pants by American Apparel / Earrings by Tiffany Cho.
Dexter airs on Showtime on Sundays at 9 p.m.