From the outside, Kate Mansi looked like a regular mother-to-be.
But as well-wishers gushed over her belly, the actor felt like a fraud.
For the past month, the former Days of Our Lives star has been wearing a fake bump for her role as Aubrey in Babymoon, a movie about an expectant couple who head to the island for their final trip à deux.
Directed by Lucinda Spurling it also stars Kelly McGillis and Brooke Burfitt, a Bermuda resident who also produced the film.
“I’m walking around the hotel and people want to touch my belly and they’re asking me questions,” Ms Mansi laughed.
The disappearing bump has been puzzling for bystanders.
She typically wears the costume for 14 hours a day. At night, she has woken in a panic because the belly isn’t there.
“When you’re really pregnant you have a connection to your belly, but for me it’s just a thing in the way.
“In the middle of the night when I roll over I think, Andrea [Sundt the costume designer is] going to kill me. I’m so terrified I’m going to leave it somewhere.”
Her only preparation for the role was as an aunt. Her sister, Lexa Safran, has just given birth to twin boys.
“I’m so invested in babyland with my nephews. I was there everyday with my sister. I was so in heaven with them, so it was a blessing to not be working,” she said.
She got the fateful call to play the part when another actor pulled out. Within a week she was on the island.
She described the new role as “kismet”.
“This came to me so randomly and so quickly, it felt like saying no wasn’t an option. It was like God said, ‘Here you go,’ and placed it in my lap.”
The Los Angeles native has had to endure January rainfall while telling a story set in July.
“It was funny, when I got here everyone kept apologising to me about it being rainy,” she said. “I don’t have any weather where I’m from, so I love it. In the morning it will be bright sunshine then we’ll do two scenes, and after it’s so windy it could knock me over.”
The only thing she knew about the island before arriving here was that it was mentioned in the chorus of the popular Beach Boys song Kokomo.
“I knew nothing about Bermuda. The only thing that I remembered was the song,” she confessed. “I’ve been videotaping the cast, the crew, hotel staff, taxi drivers — everyone that I’ve seen I ask if they can sing the song. They always get lost somewhere around Kokomo.”
She hit all of the landmarks while here and is now familiar with everything from Fort St Catherine to The Unfinished Church and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.
“We were working, but also wanted to soak in. I think it lent itself really well to the script because we were seeing it through tourists’ eyes as well.
“When I read the script, it felt like it was a love letter to Bermuda because I would be playing a character who was going to be a tourist. That felt really exciting because I got to see so much.”
She likes that her experience has been far from that of a typical honeymooner.
“I’ve seen a lot of couples on babymoon at the hotel and I think, I wonder what your day was like because mine has been real. The cool thing about this film is we’ve hired a lot of the locals to play the characters. Having Bermudians involved has been a lot of fun.
“I feel like I’m leaving having seen a very unique part of Bermuda. I didn’t just come here and shoot a film; I feel like I came here and got to talk to people about how they live their lives. I feel really lucky that I’ve gotten to be in people’s homes.
“I got to understand what community is like here.”
While here, she held an Instagram meetup on the subject of love, at Hamilton design store &Partners on Valentine’s Day.
“Love is such a part of this film. There are a few people in the cast and crew that have fallen in love,” she said.
“Bermuda lends itself to that and you feel swept up in that romantic energy from the minute you step into the pink-hued country.”
Kate’s perfect day in paradise
Kate Mansi shares her ideal Bermuda.
First date: The Railway Trail — I’m a big hiker, I love the outdoors. I love the idea of an active date.
Third date: Village Pantry — I could have kissed the bowl!
Dream date: Gibbs Hill Lighthouse at night. That would be really romantic.
Drinks: Devil’s Isle
Girls’ night out: Yoga at Lucky Elephant
On her playlist:
Alt-J — Something Good
MUNA — Loudspeaker
Low Hum — Sideburns
Kehlani — The Way feat Chance the Rapper
LANY — Pink Skies
Arcade Fire — Power
Nina Simone — Feeling Good
The Beach Boys — Kokomo