“I do definitely need a moment to de-stress. Absolutely,” the actress, 47, exclusively told Us Weekly at PaleyFest about prioritizing self-care when she isn’t on set. “I love eating really yummy food. I will have like a big bowl of pasta and a glass of wine.”
In addition to comfort food, Kessell has enjoyed decompressing through physical activity. “I will work out and I say my affirmations and I’m good to go,” she added. “And then I go again.”
The New Zealand native, who shares sons Jack and Beau with husband Gregor Jordan, said it has been important to take a step back when the subject matter got too dark in season 2.
“You need to clear it — as you’ll see as the season progresses. It’s a lot to wear. It’s a cloak and so it’s vital that we move in a way that clears that,” she continued. “Especially for me. I don’t want [to] God forbid get cancer playing a role because we go deep.”
Kessell concluded: “You really delve into the character and I was very much so attached to her that it’s taken me a while to wind down from playing Lottie — especially toward the end.”
Yellowjackets, which debuted in November 2021, follows a group of teenagers involved in a plane crash and the aftermath of their rescue decades later. The hit series also stars Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis, Ella Purnell, Sophie Nélisse, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Samantha Hanratty, Sophie Thatcher, Lauren Ambrose and Liv Hewson.
During a new episode of the series, which aired on Friday, May 19, adult Lottie encouraged her former friends to give into the darkness that influenced them in the wilderness.
“Something guided you all here and it wasn’t guilt or some psychological need. It was something greater and it has been guiding me as well. First, I tried to ignore it, to bargain with it [and] to will it away,” she said before suggesting that the group sacrifice one of their own with poison. “It is too powerful. But now we have to give it what it wants. The only way to get ourselves out of it is to give ourselves fully to it. We give it what it always wants — one of us.”
In the past, however, teenage Lottie (Courtney Eaton) has been on the brink of death after Shauna (Nélisse) beat her up. The group decided to let the wilderness choose who needed to die as a way to save Lottie — which ended with Javi (Luciano Leroux) dying in the frozen lake.
With Lottie an integral part of the story in the past and the present, Kessell broke down her collaborative process with Eaton, 27.
“If you met Courtney you would see we’re very much alike. I think of us both as big chocolate Labrador puppies. We’re both excited and we’re both quite physical,” she shared with Us. “So, when I first met her, I was like, ‘I see me in you.’ And I was like, ‘Darling, you’ll be way better looking when you get older. Just trust me on that.’
The Terra Nova alum praised her costar for her take on their joint character, adding, “She’s such a joy and she truly is such a beautiful woman because she is love and light as a human being. But in her role, she plays her so dark. That’s a pretty extraordinary actress. … We have the same ancestry, so it’s important to really honor that. My mom and her mom are both Māori from New Zealand so it’s lovely that the producers took the initiative to say, ‘We need to cast what’s real.’ And I relate very much to her on every level.”
Yellowjackets is available to stream on Fridays and airs on Showtime Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Stephanie Webber