Ramirez Heads To Rome!

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Gladiators and sex and slaves, oh my! Yep, that's what THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS alum Marisa Ramirez (ex-Carmen/Ines) has been thinking. If you tune into STARZ' SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA -- the prequel to the cable network's popular SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND series -- you'll find out why. "I play Melitta, Lucretia's [played by Lucy Lawless] personal servant," Ramirez says. "I was in New Zealand for three months shooting five of the six episodes."

While the series delves into the past to relate what happened prior to Spartacus' time, the racy nature of the first drama remains intact in this spin-off. "My costume is pretty much a curtain -- it's material draped around me that the wardrobe person just cut and cut and cut until there wasn't much left!" Ramirez grins.

In addition to having to change her accent -- "The Valley Girl/East L.A. one had to go away!" she laughs -- Ramirez also had to do something else for the first time: nudity! "My soul took a big hit," she confesses. "It's not really life-changing, but once you do it, it's something you can never take back." Fortunately, the scenes, which take place with her character's gladiator spouse, Oenomaus, weren't gratuitous. "It's art... I was pleased with it," she states.

SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA premieres Friday, January 21, at 10 p.m. EST on STARZ. For more information, visit www.starz.com.

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