Exclusive: Yetide Badaki

New Starz series American Gods is already getting started with a bang.

The new series, adapted from Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name, stars English actor Ricky Whittle as Shadow, a man grappling with the death of his wife and the impending battle between the Old Gods and the New Gods.

However, the premiere’s most astonishing scene features another actor, Yetide Badaki, who plays Bilquis, a love goddess based on the Queen of Sheba. And, Bilquis gets her energy in one very surprising way — devouring men with her vagina during intercourse. 

Fans of the book and viewers of Sunday night’s series premiere got to see Bilquis put her power to use in a shocking sex scene that didn’t stray too far from the book’s description. Talking to ESSENCE about her character’s unique ability, Badaki revealed that shooting the scene was a pretty incredible experience.

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“You walk in and there’s this incredible set with red walls and this huge bed with trapdoors,”she explained, “There was all kinds of choreography that we needed to hit, And, then there’s also new cutting-edge technology that’s being used to create all that and the incredible effects.”

The scene is snatched right from the book and Badaki acknowledges that it takes the viewer a minute to realize what they’re seeing because it’s quite surprising, a man literally gets sucked into Bilquis’ vagina. 

“As an actor you go in looking for the chacracter’s journey in there,” Badaki tells ESSENCE, “What I found fascinating is that in that short space there is a whole arc, actually, that happens for Bilquis. People were telling me there were moments when she looks so incredibly young, but also incredibly ancient.”

Bilquis only appears briefly in the book, but Badaki is a regular on the show, meaning writers get to expand her character and fans will find out more about Bilquis. Maybe there’s even an interesting love arc for the love goddess. 

“I think that’s a fascinating idea of what love would look like for Bilquis, of what that kind of love would mean,” Badaki says. “In a way, I think it’s a kind of ancient, fantastical will they, won’t they. I mean, you know what happens, you know the end result if she does fall in love. And, so that could result in a lot of tension.”

If there is love on the horizon for Bilquis, we’ll pray for the poor soul who catches her eye.