After playing Jax’s prostitute girlfriend in Sons of Anarchy, a cop in Gang Related and a mix of characters in everything from Entourage to The Last Witch Hunter, Inbar Lavi has landed her biggest, juiciest role yet as a sexy con artist in the Bravo series Imposters.
In the dramedy, airing Tuesdays at 10/9c beginning this week, the Israeli actress is master manipulator Maddie—a.k.a. Ava, Alice, CeCe, Saffron—who beguiles her unsuspecting victims, marries them, takes them for all they’re worth and vanishes. But she has no idea that three of her duped exes have joined forces to track her down—and take revenge.
We asked her about the art of the con, American vs. Israeli men, what she looks for in a guy and more.
“What’s attractive is confidence. I don’t care if you’re wearing a garbage bag, if you’re rocking that garbage bag and making it look cool I’m going to find it cool as well. It’s an inner swag.”
Maddie is a chameleon. As an actress who pretends for a living, did you relate to that aspect of her?
Absolutely. We all have a little bit of that in us. You wake up in the morning and decide what you’re going to wear to work and later if you’re going out to a bar you’re probably not going to wear the same thing or act or speak the same way or move the same way. With Maddie it’s been an ongoing challenge to find who she is because she’s quite a complex individual. It was challenging most of all in the physical aspect because there were so many wig and makeup changes and that turned out to be quite draining. But I love how creative she is. I love how much fun she’s having. I love how she’s always ten steps ahead of whomever is across from her. She’s funny and quick and focused.
Did you talk to any real con artists for research?
Yes. I can’t give away any of the tricks or names but I can tell you that they’re a lot more like us than we think. They’re very smart—that’s the main thing I noticed, how incredibly intelligent they are. It’s all about the attention to detail. It was really exciting for me to think about every day on set.
Have you ever been the victim of a con?
Not exactly but in the past I was deceived by someone I trusted very much who went behind my back and did something I did not expect.
There are other TV shows about con artists, including Good Behavior and The Catch. What’s different about yours?
We’re being very brave and fearless with how honest we are about men and women and relationships and how messed up they are. People fall in love and get hurt and that’s OK. The main thing you can take from the show is everyone can relate to being a little conniving and being deceived. If you can take anything from it, it’s watch who you trust and watch who you hurt. It’s also fun and funny and sexy.
You’re Israeli. How do American men compare to Israeli men? What do you like about American guys?
I like a lot of things about American guys. I love their manners. Americans are really good at being proper with a lady. Women are so strong and independent in Israel and it’s not traditional to open the door for a woman or always pay for her. I absolutely feel the difference and I respect it so much. It’s very romantic.
What qualities do you find most attractive?
For me, what’s attractive is confidence. I don’t care if you’re wearing a garbage bag, if you’re rocking that garbage bag and making it look cool I’m going to find it cool as well. It’s an inner swag.
What’s the biggest turn-off?
They can treat me like a queen, but if they degrade anyone else or are unkind to anyone else around us that’s not going to fly.
What’s on your to-do list now?
I feel like I’ve been pregnant with this baby called Imposters for over a year now, and now that it’s here, my agenda is to make sure it breathes properly and everybody likes it. I want to take care of it and feed it and nurture it so that we have another season. It’s my everything right now and it’s hard for me to think past it.
Nevertheless, you have the Prison Break reboot coming up in April.
Yes! It’s such a phenomenon and I’m so proud to get to be a part of that show. So many people are looking forward to it. Sheeba, the character I play, is a Yemenite activist and it’s now more relevant than ever to show these people and to give them a voice. I’m just over the moon proud to be able to do that.
Lead photo by Kurt Iswarienko/Bravo
Bed photo by Erik Schroder/Bravo