Kiara Barnes swaps the real-life catwalk for Forrester Creations drama in The Bold & The Beautiful


Kiara Barnes, The Bold & The Beautiful newcomer Zoe on Eva (DStv 141), traded her modelling career for a British accent and a shroud of mystery

August is Women’s Month, all month. And while there’s drama aplenty for the regular diva brigade on The Bold & The Beautiful, which airs weekdays on Eva (DStv 141) at 17:30, we’re looking forward to Thursday, 27 August in particular. “That’s when Zoe Buckingham makes her entrance, and to call her a ‘mystery woman’, I like that description,” says model-turned-actress Kiara Barnes. “Without giving too much away and spoiling it, I’ll say that she’s very determined. Definitely when she gets her mind set on something, she gets it done. I want to say all the juicy bits but I want you guys to be really surprised with what her plan is and what’s going on.”

While the plan for Kiara herself wasn’t always acting, The Bold & The Beautiful’s land of high fashion and drama has become her home as she portrays painter and artist (to start with) Zoe.

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Say what?

The most noticeable difference between Kiara and her character is that Kiara is American born and bred, while Zoe is very much from the opposite side of the pond – Britain.  “Mmmmm yes!” hums Kiara. “It’s a little bit strange – I’ve got family everywhere, including England and Ireland, and I grew up being very theatrical and I was putting on British accents since childhood. I went in (to the Bold set) with what British knowledge I had but it worked out great because I had Adain Bradley, who plays Forrester intern Xander. He’s English and he was really awesome.”

While Zoe’s interactions with Xander play off more as her watching from the shadows to see what he gets up to with Emma (Nia Sioux), off-camera Kiara and Adain were chatterboxes. The actress made good use of her unofficial voice and dialect coach. “Adain told me to stay in my English accent, and we’d just have normal conversations for like 30 minutes before filming, and he’d help me with tips on pronunciations – like the British way of saying ‘garage’ is very different from how I would say it (as an American). So, it really wasn’t hard picking it up and I didn’t have to intensely learn it,” says the 25-year-old actress.


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Peek-a-boo

Zoe’s introduction is going to be shrouded in mystery as the episodes roll into September. Viewers will be left guessing about who she’s connected to, what she wants and why she’s in town. But Kiara’s life has been a lot more in the public eye where everyone can see her – no skulking in the shadows for Kiara.

“I’ve been recognised for both sides of my work, as an actress and a model. I still get shocked, like I’ll be out grocery shopping and people are like, ‘Oh Zoe, I saw you in that scene and are you really that evil?’ But a lot of people remember me from the Apple iPhone commercial. The Bold & The Beautiful has definitely put me on another level of recognition, though. You don’t always remember that your face is being broadcast to millions of people 5 days a week around the world.”

Kiara started out with guest roles, “Just a small one in the background to see what it (acting) is all about. At the time, I had wanted to get into modelling. I went out to New York for two years and did it and it was great, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. Acting is a lot more engaging for me, I feel like I have to be a lot more present and it gives you the opportunity to be really creative.”

The Bold & The Beautiful viewers in South Africa are only seeing Kiara now in her role thanks to Eva channel, but she has been a part of the cast since 2018 in the US and being cast was huge for Kiara.  “Wow! That first day on set was just wow! There was a whirlwind of things happening – they (The Bold & The Beautiful cast and crew) work incredibly fast. I always say this when people ask, it’s not like any normal form of filming because of how quickly we have to get things put out. I was feeling overwhelmed, a little ‘woah!’”

Kiara adds that while there’s always fighting between characters and a lot of head-butting and catfights, the actors are a family when the camera isn’t rolling. “From my first scene, from rehearsals even, Courtney (Hope) and Darin (Brooks) as Sally and Wyatt were great. They helped me and told me not to get too stressed if I flub a line. Any feelings of anxiety or nervousness were washed away pretty quickly,” says Kiara.

But while Kiara, Courtney and Darin are pals during breaks, their characters aren’t on the friendliest of terms, starting on Friday, 28 August when Sally and Wyatt try to find out more about Zoe. “Like I said earlier, she’s a mystery woman…” teases the actress, adding that her role has been welcomed at home. “My nana is a die-hard fan and has been watching The Bold & The Beautiful since day 1, and seeing these people (the main cast) was crazy. But everyone really is down-to-earth and kind. I feel like I always say positive things, but that’s the truth – we’re very family oriented.”


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Back in the game

The Bold & The Beautiful cast were prohibited from filming episodes in LA between mid-April and mid-July because of the COVID-19 quarantine in the US, but Kiara is happy to be back on set with her castmates.  “It’s been crazy! We’re all really happy (to be back at work). My memory is so fuzzy because of the quarantine.” Like so many people around the world, Kiara kept her mind busy with streaming services and family – from a distance. “I watched a lot of movies. A lot of TV. Read some books. I facetimed my family more than I have ever in my life, and friends too. I don’t think I’ve used this technology this much, ever. It’s great because a lot of my family are in Utah (about 1,050km from Los Angeles). It was nice to feel some type of connection. Walks, staying sane… but you can only exhaust so many options before you’ve done everything,” says Kiara.

Slipping back into routine has been a welcome escape for the actress. “Sometimes the days are long and you’ll get to set when it’s dark in the morning and you leave when it’s dark in the evening. You’re so busy that you forget to eat, sometimes. We’re all hungry but only realise on the way home, ‘Oh, I forgot to eat today.’ But it’s worth it in the end! Acting is where I feel the happiest,” says Kiara.

Watch The Bold & The Beautiful S31, weekdays exclusively on Eva (DStv channel 141) at 17:30 or binge the omnibus, Saturdays on Eva at 16:00


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