The Expanse Star Dominque Tipper Dishes on 'Deep, Dark, Secret Tapestry' of Her Character (Exclusive)

“And not only do we dig into it, there’s so much there and there’s so much kind of hiding underneath.”

“The Expanse,” Amazon Prime’s critically acclaimed sci-fi series, returns for its fifth season on Wednesday with some jaw-dropping surprises for its fans.

And original cast member Dominique Tipper is on board for all the twists and turns to be had, especially when it comes to her role as engineer Naomi Nagata.

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Chatting with TooFab, the British-Dominican actress, 32, opened up about the evolution of her character, the success of the show, what it means to be part of such a diverse cast and all that drinking that takes place in outer space.

How does it feel to be heading into the fifth season of a series that routinely gets 100% on Rotten Tomatoes?

“So crazy. Like you don’t really consider that, you know, with how much content is there these days? How many TV shows are there? So It’s rare that, you know, people genuinely think something is pretty excellent. So I think in that respect it’s really cool, but also I’m not surprised in that. The show is quite unique in the way it deals with the social political climate and how it kind of is so paralleled to what is going on today.”

“So I kind of get why it’s kind of respected and also the writing is excellent. The way that the characters are written is gorgeous. The way that the science is executed as well. as, so there’s a lot to kind of celebrate on ‘The Expanse.’. And so I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

What happens to your character Naomi in the upcoming episodes?

“Well, Season Five is quite the journey for Naomi. We have been planting these seeds, the seeds of her backstory, the seeds of her past since Season One. And so with Season Five, we kind of really get to, in real time, explore what has been kind of bubbling away underneath the whole time. And so I think that’s really rare that in Season Five of the show, we get to really dig into this deep, dark secret tapestry of a character. And not only do we dig into it, there’s so much there and there’s so much kind of hiding underneath. So we confront a very delicate part of her past, which involves a son that she had to leave. And it’s a quite heavy, but kind of rewarding — I think, if you’ve been watching the whole time — season for the character for Naomi.”

What is your take on ‘The Expanse’ having such diverse actors playing such diverse characters?

“For me, diversity is like normal, like this world isn’t just full of one type of person. It’s what makes Earth and humanity beautiful. And so to me, it’s just the result of shows not being diverse is nothing to do with the world not being diverse. We know where it comes from. We know it comes from structural racism. We know it’s from the root of kind of white supremacy and you may know what it is. So the fact that we’re beginning to catch up is exciting. So I’m kind of proud, to be honest, on a show that since 2014 was very much at the forefront of being a diverse show and I think sometimes when things are based in the future, we can remove them a little bit from what’s going on. And so therefore just kind of pack it full of how things should be.

“And so I think I’m sure it’s probably one of the most diverse on TV, but I just think that’s why it’s so good because with variation comes richness with variation in experience, comes richness with variation in spaces. And all of what comes with that is what makes life rich and therefore it lends to the richness of art. So I’m excited to be on a show that never shied away from that and linked fully into it. But it isn’t also centered on people’s races because that can be problematic in itself. We’re just there and we’re living We’re experiencing and we’re flawed and we’re nasty and we’re fabulous. And we’re all these things that humans are. Were humanity. So I do love that about ‘The Expanse.'”

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With the futuristic ensembles, makeup and sets, does it feel like the pure joy of acting at times, as in playing make-believe when you were a child?

“It’s weird. Cause like I love dressing up. And I do think there is something child-like in being someone else, portraying them. And also in imagination — I think sometimes that’s something we lose as adults, is our power to imagine. And that’s quite a childlike quality. And so although the show is very serious and it’s very serious beings, you know, the core of it, for sure. But one of the things I love acting — why I love acting for me — is the use of the imagination and the playing with that and making up the stories and creating lives for these people that is just kind of out of thin air. I mean, I guess we have the source material on ‘The Expanse,’ but pretty much when you take on a character, you’re crafting them from scratch. Their wants, their needs, their choices, their past. And that is quite a delicious aspect of the work, the craft that I for sure locked in. And putting on the outfit is great.”

There appears to be a lot of drinking in outer space. Do you have any favorite drinks for the holiday season, alcoholic or non?

“I’m a red wine girl. I don’t know if I’m allowed to show my red wine (Dominique lifts up her glass of red wine), but my holiday drink, like my Christmas drink, is Baileys. I always have quite a few Baileys at Christmas. And my grandma got me into Sherry, which is hilarious. So I’ve been drinking Sherry at Christmas as well. So those three are probably my main holiday drinks, Sherry, Baileys and good old red wine.”

“The Expanse” returns December 16 for its new season on Amazon Prime.


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