Hips. Tits. Lips. Power. If there are any four words that sum up Kiwi actress Miriama Smith’s latest role as Brady Truebridge in Filthy Rich, these song lyrics might just be the ones.
When news first reached the 39-year-old mum-of-one early last year that she’d bagged the lead role in the new 20-episode TV2 show – created by the makers of Outrageous Fortune – Miriama
was “fizzing with excitement”.
A year or so on, her enthusiasm for the sassy character has only grown stronger as she and the rest of the Filthy Rich cast – a mix of fresh faces and veterans – filmed the series in Auckland.
The eagerly awaited drama kicks off with billionaire businessman John Truebridge plunging to his death from a high-rise apartment, prompting a fight over his fortune between his second wife, played by Miriama, his three illegitimate children and the son he raised.
“Brady’s the CEO of John’s construction company, but her roots, so to speak, are as a trained hairdresser from Gisborne,” explains Miriama. “She gave birth at a young age to a daughter, Kennedy, moved to Auckland to pursue her big dreams and met John. They fell in love and he left his wife for her. She’s got huge ambition.”
Working on Filthy Rich meant temporarily relocating to Auckland from the idyllic six-hectare Bay of Plenty farm Miriama shares with hubby Dylan Marychurch, 36, and their gorgeous three-year-old son Rauaroha.
The couple, who made a conscious decision to leave the big-city rat race behind following Rauaroha’s birth, love their flourishing farm so much that they got married there, beneath a homemade dreamcatcher on Valentine’s Day last year.
Pre-Filthy Rich, Miriama’s life was spent harvesting avocados, teaching yoga and marrying loved-up couples – she recently trained as a wedding celebrant. “I’m normally a very yin person, but being based in Auckland continually has made me very yang!” grins Miriama.
“I had to give up the yoga and get into boxing and weights. Brady becomes the man of the house when her husband dies unexpectedly, so I’ve had to explore a very masculine side.
“She’ll use sex as a weapon if need be, but only if she really has to. She uses her brain and her tongue first.”
Perhaps the only similarity Miriama shares with the character she plays is that they’re both dedicated mothers – although Brady definitely has her hands full with saucy, spirited teen Kennedy, played by Luciane Buchanan.
“Young Kennedy’s sense of entitlement is frustrating to Brady,” explains Miriama. “She believes in a hard day’s work and doesn’t believe in handouts. She’s very ballsy, pretty tough, witty, clever and actually pretty funny. And she’s an excellent reader of people – you can’t bullshit Brady.”
Brady’s power suits, inspired by international designer threads, were whipped up by a dedicated team of talented women from the wardrobe department. “Everything fits like a glove,” smiles Miriama. “The team is just turning stuff over all the time. The fabrics are amazing. A lot of leather and a lot of silk.”
Worth the work
Shooting 13-hour days for the series was “quite a big shock”, admits Miriama. But the twists and turns, coupled with the sheer enthusiasm of the cast, more than made up for the long hours.
“Every single character has a huge journey,” she tells. “It’s very cleverly written.”
But despite her youthful looks and years in the industry – she started out at 14 – former Mercy Peak and Shortland Street actress Miriama, who turns 40 this year, admits the newcomers have taught her a few things.
“I’m really proud of the cast – they are so hard-working,” she explains. “In this evolution of the TV industry, a lot more people are training. I was totally different at that age. Smartphones weren’t even around and the internet hadn’t been here that long.
“And they are so savvy with social media. I don’t even pretend to know, but I love that they don’t take anything for granted. We all gel really well. It’s only when we start talking about music tastes or old television shows that they look at me like, ‘What?’”
But while she’s relished playing Brady, Miriama admits she was more than ready to hang up the power suits by the end of shooting.
“Poor Dylan – he’s had to put up with me constantly being in ball-breaking Brady mode during filming.
“I’m looking forward to being a yin mum again – and I’m sure my husband’s looking forward to getting Miriama back!”