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Donna Leaves Scandal!

4 April 2013
 Louise Barnes

We say goodbye to our favourite female villain, Donna Hardy.

She’s sophisticated, intimidating and a ruthless businesswoman. Donna Hardy has captivated us on the small screen for many years. Some things made us cringe, but we also got to see a softer side to this complex character. And now we bid a sad farewell to strong-willed Donna Hardy.

We chat to actress Louise Barnes about what it’s been like playing Donna for the past three years.

Viewers will see Donna on the show for the last time on 15 April. Why did you decide to leave Scandal?
I’ve been there for three years and I think that I had done some amazing storylines with the character and I felt that I had to be careful to not play the same character for too long. I wanted to be someone else for a while.

Can you highlight a storyline that you enjoyed working on?
It was the storyline with my mother, Sally, when she first came back into Donna’s life. This is largely because Donna had been seen as a particular kind of character and now suddenly there was a bit of background coming in to give the audience an idea of why she was the way she was. So she’s not just a flat-out, awful character. I loved that I had to explore different facets of the character.

How did you prepare for the role?
It took me a while to get into it. I think when I started playing the character; I was still in a people-pleasing mode. I didn’t want other people to feel unhappy or to get uncomfortable and that’s definitely not Donna. Donna is unapologetic. She’s the type of person to say: “This is what I want, so give it to me! I’m not gonna feel bad about it.”

Are there any similarities between you and your character Donna?
I’d like to think that I’m very different from Donna in many ways. I think Donna is morally ambiguous. I don’t think she has a very strong sense of what’s right and wrong. And I do. I’m quite clear on that. She’s very ambitious and I’m not. I don’t think she weighs up the costs of certain things she does.

She’ll do things because she thinks it’s important what people think of her. I think as a conscious human being you have to be aware that everything comes with a cost. She’s got a great fashion sense which I’d like to think I share. The clothes are just beautiful. I mean as an actress you don’t get to dress corporate. I love the wardrobe and I’m pretty nuts about fashion and I loved being able to explore that corporate, edgy, power-dressing side of myself.

See how Donna's hair changed through the years.

Will we ever see you on the show again?
I’m completely open to it, Ilse van Hemert (series producer) and I talk from time-to-time. So we’ll see what happens. Donna hasn’t been written off and I love the character.

How does Donna leave the show?
You’ll just have to wait and see.

Louise Barnes’s last episode will be aired on 15 April. Tune into Scandal! Monday to Thursday at 7:30pm.