The penultimate episode of The Baker and the Beauty season 1 ended with one shocking twist: Noa broke up with Daniel. After so many problems surrounding their relationship, Noa ended their relationship. It wasn’t easy for her, and Daniel was left stunned.
HollywoodLife talked with Nathalie Kelley about Noa’s major decision and how she’s feeling about the breakup when the ABC show picks up for its two-hour finale on June 1. Noa will be trying to “make amends” with Daniel, and Natalie’s Quinceañera will help bring these two together. She also discussed her hopes for season 2. Nathalie is more than ready to explore the fascinating female relationships between Noa/Natalie and Noa/Vanessa. Read our full Q&A below.
At the end of the last episode, Noa broke up with Daniel. How is she feeling about that break up when we pick up in the finale?
Nathalie Kelley: What I love about The Baker and the Beauty is that even though it lives in this kind of fairytale, escapist world, it’s really grounded in reality and authenticity. The decision that Noa made at the end of the last episode was definitely a decision she made with her head and not her heart. I feel like a lot of women can relate to that. We’re told that romance needs to be the top priority in our lives as women, yet for some of us, we’re also balancing careers. That’s not reasonable. I think Noa was in a tough position of thinking, yes, I have this romance with this man, and I think it’s something special. But on the other side, I have responsibilities to my family, Lewis, to the company, to all the people that she employs. So she came to a decision that was from her head and not her heart. When you find her in episode 8, I wouldn’t say at the very beginning she’s regretting it, but she is sad about it. She’s kind of resigned. She thinks what she has done is for the best, and she’s definitely sad about it. But it’s not until Natalie recruits her to help with her Quinceañera, and she goes over to the Garcias and sees Daniel again. They spend really sweet time together planning the Quinceañera, and she’s reminded that this is everything she wants. That’s when she starts having regrets, and the episode is really about her trying to make amends.
In the promo, we do see her asking Daniel to forgive her…
Nathalie Kelley: It’s this time with the Garcias, as well putting together the Quinceañera, that makes her realize these people have everything she’s ever wanted — a family, love. She’s just been conditioned to think she can’t have it all. She thought she had to make a choice. She had this fairytale life. She thought there was no way she can also have a happy ending, but she’s realizing: why do I believe that I can’t have both? She asks Daniel for forgiveness, but by that point, it might be too late.
Do you think that what just happened with her father is also propelling her in that direction of really wanting to have what the Garcias have?
Nathalie Kelley: The actor is the nicest guy, and he really nailed that character because people are really against him. Her issues around growing up pretty much parentless, a mother with a mental illness, a father who you can see wasn’t there for her and didn’t always have her best interests at heart, she’s kind of just been conditioned to think like this is it. That’s why when we see Noa in episode 2, she doesn’t like her birthday. She doesn’t like anything that reminds her that she didn’t know what a loving family felt like growing up. She had everything but that, so Daniel and the Garcias’ normalcy have shown her that there is another way of existing. It’s a whole new world for her, and she realizes that she might have the house on the beach and billions in the bank, but without family and without love and without that tribe that you can belong to, you really have nothing.
Do you think Noa is ready to risk it all for love? I think that’s been her arc from the very beginning.
Nathalie Kelley: Yes. You’re right in understanding her arc. In the beginning, she’s very casual about it. It’s just fun. We’re told she does this a lot. She picks up normal guys a lot. Very early on, she realizes that there’s something really different about Daniel and that there is a connection. She’s come off this relationship where she was not treated well and was disrespected so publicly. To be with somebody who has so much integrity and authenticity, she’s ready for it. I think the whole season you see her adjusting and shifting to what that might feel like because when you first meet Noa and before those two meet, she is somebody who has given up on love. It’s taken the whole season for her to be convinced. She’s always thought it just wasn’t for her. Now she’s realizing that she maybe does have a chance at it. Maybe this is it. The last two episodes will be her making choices.
A big part of her abrupt decision to break up with Daniel was finding out about Lewis and his cancer diagnosis. I feel like that was such a shock to her and really threw her off. I’ve loved that dynamic between Lewis and Noa. What’s that been like for you to explore that sort of different father-daughter dynamic with Dan Bucatinsky?
Nathalie Kelley: It’s been one of the most beautiful friendships and work relationships of my life. First of all, Dan Bucatinsky is an amazing veteran actor, and I have a lot to learn from him. It’s really an honor to work with him. Secondly, he’s Argentinian. My biological father was from Argentina. Similarly to Noa, he was never around, so I never got that father figure in him. In real life, Dan has two children with his husband. We always joke that of the parents he’s more of the mom, too. Dan is very parental. So for Dan to come around and be playing my father figure in real life, I feel like the universe is gifting me with the best TV dad. It’s really like this destiny thing. I love Dan Bucatinsky so much. I’m so happy that people are resonating with their connection because I think a lot of people can sympathize with not being raised by your parent and having somebody else step into that role for you.
Fans love Noa and Lewis’ relationship. Will we get to see more of them together in the finale?
Nathalie Kelley: You’ll get more of that relationship for sure. You see them in a different light because, in the beginning, all you saw was Lewis being b*tchy and snappy and protective and fearful. But now that the secret’s out about his cancer, both of them realize just how much they love one another and how important it is to be honest and open and authentic. There are scenes between them that are so beautiful. I’m going to tease this exclusively for HollywoodLife: the moment we have all been waiting for might actually happen in the finale, which is the moment that Lewis meets the Garcias. We’ve been waiting for the worlds to collide!
With the possibility of season 2, is there anything you would want to explore with Noa that the first season didn’t get to really touch on?
Nathalie Kelley: I would love to see more interactions with the family and definitely more interactions with Natalie. First of all, we all want things with Belissa [Escobedo] because she is the scene-stealer. She’s just really the breakout star of the whole cast. This is her first major gig. It’s such a joy to be working with somebody for whom this is their first big thing and watch them discover this world of making TV. For personal reasons, I really want scenes with her. I think the audience is really hungry to see healthy dynamics between women on TV. I say this with no disrespect to my last show Dynasty, but it was really hard for me on that show to be constantly kept fighting. It was just kind of going against everything that I like to believe in. I know it’s a character and you’ve got to do your job and say your lines, but there’s a reason why it didn’t work out for me on that show. On this show, I love the nuanced and deep and authentic and complicated relationships between women. Between me and Natalie, how she looks up to me and the potential in the future for me to be a mentor to her, that would be so beautiful to explore. Also, with Noa and Vanessa, I love that the writers haven’t written some generic catfight into the show because you’ve seen that before. I think real women act differently. You saw Vanessa in such a beautiful light in this last episode. She’s not the villain, and I love that the writers chose to make her this real three-dimensional character that you root for. Vanessa and Noa do meet in episode 8. My hope is that in season 2, they interact more. Of course, she’s going to be hanging out with Daniel because this is The Baker and the Beauty, but I really want to see Noa and Natalie and Noa and Vanessa. I think the audience is really hungry for that, too.
In terms of how the show ends with the finale, will we get an answer as to whether Noa and Daniel are back together or not?
Nathalie Kelley: I think it’s the perfect ending in the finale. There will be a lot of satisfaction. You’ll also be wondering when we can start season 2 because the bomb we drop at the end is pretty exciting. I’m just going to leave it at that. It’s not a cliffhanger in the traditional sense.