Coming to Paramount+ on Sunday, May 14, the highly anticipated fourth season of Five Bedrooms picks up soon after we left our beloved housemates after Ainsley and Simmo threw the best non-wedding ever.
Starring alongside Kat Stewart, Stephen Peacock, Roy Joseph, Doris Younane and Johnny Carr, Katie plays Ainsley -- a hopeless romantic whose life never went the way she dreamed. Like her other housemates, Ainsley found herself desperate to get into the property market so, the five pooled their resources and began to live together.
The unconventional living arrangement meant that the five acquaintances quickly became a family tangled in each others lives, for better or worse. Through the highs and lows of the last five seasons, Ainsley has had her world cracked apart, showcasing Katie's ability to connect with audiences through some of the most emotional scenes in the series to-date.
"It's not a great story because I can't pinpoint the exact moment I was like, 'Ah-ha! I'm going to be an actor,'" Katie told 10 Play.
Thinking back to when she was in primary school, any chance she got to do anything vaguely dramatic would activate a buzz of nerves and excitement. "It would just make me feel alive, I'd come to life and be into it more than anything else I ever did," she explained.
"I guess it's joy? Passion? I would just follow that," she continued. But it wasn't just when the spotlight was on her that she'd feel that spark ignite, "Going to watch plays or all of that would just really excite me and set my imagination on fire. And it still happens!
"Watching other shows that people are making, watching theatre, I come away and I'm just buzzing."
In 2013 Katie co-founded Loud Mouth Theatre Company alongside Maeve MacGregor and Campbell McKenzie, but when it comes to the stage and the screen, she greedily refuses to pick a favourite.
"If I've been behind the camera I find myself really craving being in a rehearsal room or with a live audience, but then the flip happens as well where I go oh, I'd really like to work more behind the camera... they're such different beasts."
With its fourth season launching on Paramount+ on May 14, Ainsley is now practically a part of her DNA.
"The lines are really blurred, I think they get a bit blurry for all of us as a cast [but] not everyone is so alike to their character as I am to Ainsley.
"Of course there's a crossover, and we spend so much time together on and offscreen as a group that sh*t gets blurry."
Over the course of the three seasons that have aired Ainsley has evolved from the hopeless romantic, unlucky in love and always pining over the wrong men, to having her world completely cracked open after experiencing a stillbirth.
Then, in season three, it seemed everything she had ever wanted was finally landing at her feet. A doting boyfriend who is completely smitten with her, and a proposal clearly on his mind, but Ainsley is still grappling with grief and mourning for a life that could have been.
"On paper, it felt like she was being handed everything she ever wanted. If you look back at Ainsley in season one she was so heady about finding someone to be in love with and kept falling for really unavailable men," Katie said.
"For her, everything was about romance and about love, her happily ever after was a dream man sweeping her off her feet. I love that, when she got that, she was like hang on, this doesn't feel right.
"She could have so easily told herself that this is what she deserves, what she always wanted, so she'd make herself go through with it. I love that she doesn't... my hope for her, going into season four, is that she applies that in all areas of her life."
While the ongoing dramas of the five housemates continued into the third season, Ainsley was torn between grieving over her daughter, and the developing relationship that would eventuate into a proposal -- the finale of the third season revolving around her wedding day.
"Honestly I was really blinded by the idea of getting to be in a wedding dress," Katie laughed, remembering when she read the scripts, "that was the first thing I asked, 'Am I in the dress? Do I get to be in a wedding dress?' Once they said yes I stopped listening. I was just having visions of myself prancing around for a week dressed as a bride."
On a more serious note, she was thrilled for Ainsley, having been put through the emotional wringer, she was finally opening herself back up and allowing herself to be happy.
"That's the danger, and maybe what she was grappling with throughout the season," Katie said, "just feeling so much guilt and grief and carrying all of that. To allow yourself to be happy is a huge, brave and vulnerable thing to do."
There's an undeniable chemistry between the cast, one that was clear from the get-go, and the fact that both the actors and the characters they play have been through so much together, there's a tangled web of emotions for all of them.
"I can't even look at Doris in a scene without nearly crying," Katie laughed, "the relationship that she and I have built and the things our characters have been through together, it's all there. It's real, it's history that we've shared. We've all been through so much together, in the show with these characters and outside of the show."
The cast went through COVID together, they were there when she got married and had a baby. "I've navigated losing close family members with them by my side," Katie added
"All of that stuff has to help, right? It has to help audiences really see these people and believe that we have shared experiences," she said.
"But it also just makes the job a total joy and really fulfilling because I get to go to work and do the thing that I love with people that I can call my family and that's all I ever wanted.
"So now I have it, and also I don't know if it's going to happen again! It could be this lightning-in-a-bottle situation that we've had and, if so, I'm really happy knowing that I milked that experience for all that it's worth."
Season Four of Five Bedrooms starts streaming Sunday, May 14 On Paramount+