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Yael - Played by Alanna Ubach

Woman eating a cookie

HBO

Tell us about Yael. What kind of woman is she?

Alanna Ubach

Yael Koontz was born and raised in Israel and served in the Israeli army. She's a tough woman. Now, she lives the life of a bored housewife in a faux-stone veneer McMansion in Michigan. She's married to a hot shot Jewish attorney. And she doesn't have a job or any children, so she has plenty of time to play around.

HBO

Why is she interested in Ray's services?

Alanna Ubach

I tried to think of why this woman who has it all doesn't think twice about cheating on her husband. She married for safety and security, which replaced sparks and romance. Ray is everything Mr. Koontz isn't. Seething with sex appeal, blindingly handsome and nice. She's bored and her sex life has probably become routine. This woman in her mid-30s sits at home all day with nothing to do. Then there's an incredibly beautiful man giving her the attention she isn't getting from her husband. Plus, he's amazing in bed. So why not?

HBO

Yael is not exactly one of Ray's paying customers, but there is a certain quid pro quo taking place. What is the arrangement they've worked out?

Alanna Ubach

In the first season, she promises to make sure her husband never calls the cops on him ever again for peeing in the lake. This season, their relationship is based more on the enjoyment of the sex itself. She isn't really paying him, but she does realize that he needs a lot of things. For example, she knows he needs a bed, and of course it's something she can use as well, so she buys him an expensive Stearns and Foster mattress.

HBO

We found out in episode one that Yael was in the Israeli army. How does that affect her character?

Alanna Ubach

If you've been in the army since before the age of 20, you know about emotional detachment. Survival is the most important thing, which may have influenced her decision to marry for security and comfort instead of romance and sex. She also has a toughness about her and she understands men. She definitely possesses a hard-edged Israeli mentality. She's a python dressed up as a bored housewife.

HBO

You were born in San Juan and raised in California. Is it difficult portraying an Israeli housewife with a vastly different background?

Alanna Ubach

Absolutely not. Many of the girls I grew up with were Persian Jews. I'd hang out at their houses after school, and there is something to be said about the immigrant housewife who stays home and takes care of the house and family. As a Latina, I felt one thing we shared in common with them is that it's always about looking good for the husband in order to keep him from straying. Latinas tend to be incredibly passionate, and the Israeli moms of the kids I went to school with oozed sexiness. They're very strong women.

HBO

Yael's probably spent more time naked on screen than any other character on the show. Were you comfortable shooting those scenes?

Alanna Ubach

She sure has, and absolutely I was comfortable. I don't have anything that anyone hasn't seen before. If I had three breasts I might be a little more frightened to take my clothes off. But I don't, so I'm very comfortable with it. It's a freeing, wonderful feeling. Especially getting naked in front of Thomas Jane.

HBO

Without giving too much away, what else can we expect from Yael this season?

Alanna Ubach

You'll see different sides of her, and find out a little about what goes on behind closed doors in the Koontz household. It's not as perfect as it appears to be. It's one big veneer with a lot of problems beneath it. You begin to understand why she's cheating on her husband. It gets wild. I'm excited for people to see what the Koontz's are really about.

THINK FAST

 

Best gift you gave someone: A witty compliment.

Best gift you've received: An orgasm.

My _____ kicks ass (recipe): Paella

Im too old for: Diapers. Also, too young.

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