Despite a brand-new cast filled with talented up-and-comers, there’s no question that Simona Tabasco was the breakout star of the second season of The White Lotus. While the HBO show has had its ups and downs, including a fairly controversial season one finale (many say season two outdid its predecessor), it’s always excelled when it comes to its characters. Whether it’s Sydney Sweeney’s terrifying Gen Z college girl or Molly Shannon’s overbearing mother, creator Mike White knew precisely what he was doing when it came to writing and casting memorable roles.
The second season is no different. With established stars such as F. Murray Abraham, Aubrey Plaza, and Theo James, the series really flies. But the newcomers, including Portia’s Haley Lu Richardson, truly make it special. But perhaps no one adds to the flavor of the show like Italian actor Simona Tabasco, who plays the courtesan with a heart of gold, Lucia—but what did Simona think of her character and the storyline?
UPDATE: 2023/03/21 21:20 EST BY LANE VASQUEZ
Simona Tabasco’s interviews shed light on her thoughts about The White Lotus.
In interviews since her debut on The White Lotus, Tabasco has shed light on how she really feels about her character, Lucia’s edgy profession, and working with the other cast members.
Who Played Lucia In The White Lotus Season 2?
It may be unfair to call Simona Tabasco a “newcomer.” After all, she has been acting steadily since 2014. The Naples-born thespian has starred in a number of notable Italian works over the past few years.
But HBO’s The White Lotus is her very first big Hollywood project. And there’s no doubt that this is the first time Tabasco has ever caught the attention of the North American mainstream.
With her sultry, gut-wrenching, and undeniably charming performance, how could she not?
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Simona Tabasco explained that the audition for the role of Lucia was very short. And, at the time, she really didn’t understand what creator Mike White was going to do with the character over the course of the season.
“But the first thing I thought about that was pretty clear from the start was how strong Lucia is and the fact that she’s always searching for something,” Tabasco said to Harper’s Bazaar.
“We always see her running around with a goal, something that she’s looking for, and maybe in the end, what she’s looking for is love—basically a connection to other human beings, warmth, closeness. I think that’s her journey throughout the season.”
Simona Tabasco Agrees Lucia Is “Empowered” By Her Career Choice
It goes without question that Lucia’s profession in The White Lotus season 2 is frowned upon by many people, and at a certain point, Lucia begins to question her career choice and what she really wants out of life.
“[Lucia] did choose a professional life of a certain sort, and she did choose to use her body to get to her goals, so she starts off as someone who dominates over circumstance and people, but then at the end, she will let herself go and maybe—maybe—be dominated by what’s around her. So it kind of flips a little bit,” Simona Tabasco said to Cosmopolitan.
“What I think is that her hunger that we see throughout the season—of her being, finding, exploring, looking for something—will probably transform her.”
In Simona Tabasco’s interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she explained that the way Lucia handles her profession isn’t the case for everyone in that industry. While she knows that it can be a truly horrible place for women to work, Lucia relates to it differently.
“There is no specific way to interpret a sex worker,” Simona Tabasco said. “I followed Mike White’s lead, which was to run with the idea that Lucia doesn’t need a reason to be a [courtesan].”
She went on to say, “[The] work for her is empowering. If I had to name a reason she got into it, I would say money. She loves money. It fuels her ambitions. I don’t think Lucia anticipated [the] work would lead to so much self-realization and personal growth, though. She’s looking for something more.”
Simona Didn’t Make Many Friends On Set
According to her interview with Cosmopolitan, Simona Tabasco hadn’t seen the first season of The White Lotus before she auditioned. Only after her audition did she binge the show. Since then, she has become a huge fan and claimed to be incredibly grateful to be asked to be part of it.
There’s no doubt that one of the great skills is the opportunity to work with such an incredible cast as Lucia in The White Lotus.
“I am immensely grateful for the entire cast. They’re all such generous artists who made me feel included,” Tabasco said to Cosmo.
When I found out that Michael Imperioli would be playing Dominic and realized his character and Lucia would have this intense story develop, I started to doubt my abilities. But Michael’s a special person and a great professional. My inner saboteur vanished after meeting him.
While Tabasco doesn’t have many scenes with the female characters on the show, excluding Beatrice Granno (Mia), who was her real-life friend, she did say that Jennifer Coolidge was exceptionally nice to her.
Of course, Jennifer Coolidge’s character’s storyline didn’t end well for the actress. But fans are eager to see what future seasons of White Lotus may hold, character- and story-wise.
In November 2022, HBO promised it was renewing the series for a third season.