Photo by: Storm Santos 
We caught up with Kate Mansi who can be seen playing Hunter Clarkman in the brand new bilingual, Neo-Western series Casa Grande which premiered on Amazon Freevee on May 1. Kate is best known for playing Abigail Deveraux in the popular, long-running soap opera Days of our Lives, and won a Daytime Emmy for outstanding supporting actress for that role.

Written and directed by Gabriela Tagliavini (Christmas With You, Claramente), Casa Grande tells the stories of California’s hardworking, often undocumented migrant workforce, as well as the wealthy landowners in Northern California. It also stars John Pyper-Ferguson (The 100, Suits), Christina Moore (That ‘70s Show, 90210), Madison Lawlor (Juniper), Karen Bethzabe (Babylon, Fear the Walking Dead), Javier Bolaños (All American), Raquel Dominguez (Chicago Med), James Marsters (Runaways, Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Daniel Edward Mora (Coco, The Bridge), Loren Escandon (The Baxters, Purple Hearts), and Ali Afshar (A Calfornia Christmas, He’s Just Not That Into You).

We asked Kate about preparing for her Casa Grande role, what drew her to the series, working with Gabriela Tagliavini, and more. Check out our conversation below.

What were some aspects of Casa Grande that initially drew you towards it?

Kate Mansi (KM): I knew Hunter and I were meant for each other the minute I read her first scene. The show is so unique for many reasons but the subject matter focuses on the desperation and endurance we are willing to have for the life we envision. I felt, and feel, honored to be part of a show that raises conversations about the culture of migrant workers and the concept of how our happiness is rarely defined by money alone. Each one of the Clarkmans have an element of “slow dancing in a burning room” to some degree. 

What can viewers expect when they watch the series? 

KM: Casa Grande feels familiar in an enticing way for the story structure of two sort of rival families and the underpinnings of the family ranch. It’s got some Romeo and Juliet meets Yellowstone vibes. 

How would you describe your character, Hunter?

KM: Hunter is the adopted daughter of the Clarkman family. She’s edgy, scrappy, and determined. She’s a survivor and the traumatic place she came from informs her behaviors. She’s used to being underestimated and having to get as creative as possible to get what she wants. Since she’s not “really” part of the family, she is constantly and singlemindly chasing that security. 

How did you prepare for this role in particular?

KM: I found Hunter was a role I understood at the onset and then continued to find in her physicality, her wardrobe, her behaviors, etc. I worked with my coach Roger Kirtz (sports psychologist) on defining her and then it was locked in. 

What was it like working with Casa Grande writer/director Gabriela Tagliavini?

KM: I found Gabo to have the perfect balance of collaboration meets leadership. She trusts her actors and always makes time for them to feel seen and heard, while honoring the broader goals of each scene – no matter how limited our time was which is the mark of a great director in my book. I loved working with her and hope to do it again! 

As an actor, where there new learning experiences gained from working on this series?

KM: For all of us, because it was done in peak COVID 2020, I think there were a lot of new learning curves which lended to a sense of real community together ironically. 

Casa Grande is streaming for free on Freevee


Follow Kate Mansi: Instagram

Keep up-to-date with us on all of our channels and social media accounts:

Apple Podcasts: