top of page

Shot by Connor Sprague


Fresh doesn’t reflect the hefty resume Mia has established; it does, however, describe her. Bright, smart and in the sunrise of her prime, Mia’s #sunbeam energy and giggle attitude is in- fectious. From her impeccable and trailblazing attire (3 outfit changes on a Tuesday in lockdown? OFC!) to her thoughtful yet humorous take on life, Mia is a true Gen Z native. She has positioned herself not only as an actress but one of insight; to listen and to learn from. In other words, she’s lowkey killing it.

Clockwise from top left: Mia shot by Charlotte Macs; Mia shot by Charlotte Macs; Mia shot by Charlotte Macs; Mia's home shot by Charlotte Macs; Mia shot by Connor Sprague; Mia shot by Connor Sprague

Interview with Charlotte Macs

Mia first got into acting in Year 1, when she played an opera singer in her school’s annual performance. She recalls taking the role extremely seriously, untrained vocals filling every room of her home. Coming off the hype of this performance, when her family relocated to Jakarta, she enrolled in an ex-pat drama class.


In an iconic juxtaposition, her peers were “the rich white kids, with their oil baron parents [laughs], and there I was with a socialist dad”. During this time she landed the Merryl Streep role of “old witch” in the class’ production of Into The Woods. “I loved it! I remember thinking, this is what I’m meant to do.”


After high school, without the grades to pursue the International Studies degree she desired, she was “auditioning and working in hospo”. With only a few short films to show for 2018-2019 (notably Chicken, winner of the Australian Short Film Today’s Virtual Audience Award), Mia questioned her path. “At the end of 2019 I was like, this isn’t really working, I feel like I maybe need a Plan B because I’m not making any money and I need to make a living”.

She enrolled in a bridging course just in time for COVID’s breakout role in ‘Global Pandemic.’ “When we transitioned to online learning I was like, “‘Oh fuck, it’s already hard enough for me to do this course in person’, and so I dropped out”. Immediately after, she was cast in her breakout role as Tiger in Netflix’s Sweet Tooth. “That was big for me and it was so much fun, I was working and living overseas in Auckland. This was during the first wave, which New Zealand rocked, so it was this perfect time of normalcy and joy.” On her return she booked two incredible projects: Pieces of Her, coming out this December on Netflix, and independent film, The Longest Weekend.

In such a highly scrutinized profession any positive recognition goes a long way. At 17, fresh off her performance in the Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, Mia was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Sydney Theatre Awards. As she describes it, when the ever-relatable queen found out about the nomination, she was like, “OMG this is so exciting! Holy fuck this is gahhhh”.


However, is the art itself always more important than its reception?

For Mia this question was answered when at the same awards show her ATYP acting coach Chris Tomlinson offered some sage advice. “Just remember if you don’t win, we don’t do it for the critics. We do it because it’s art. If you don’t win this, it’s not a reflection of your talent.” Like any insecure teenie bopper, when she didn’t win she was “quite sad but it was ok, what Chris told me really helped and has always stuck with me. You’re not doing this [acting] for the reception. You’re doing it because it’s thought-provoking and it’s how we express being human”.


On Pieces of Her, what was it like to work alongside Joe Dempsie (Skins, Game of Thrones) and Jessica Barden (End of the Fucking World)?

“Being able to watch them work and work with them was just insane. I grew up watching them and they were people that inspired me. Watching their performances as an actor, you see just how good they are and what you want your own performance to look like and convey.

Omg, I remember the first scene I did with Joe. Instead of just watching him be incredible, it took me a few takes to be like, oh yeah, I’m in the zone, we’re actors doing this together. Even just being able to talk to them both and forming a friendship where you can talk about your fears and anxieties about the industry was incredible. There was this one scene with Joe, I was so in my head and really not feeling it. He sat me down and was like, “Don’t doubt yourself. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t deserve to be here.”

That support was intertwined in the whole project... because the thing with Pieces Of Her is, it’s written, produced and directed by women. All the top guns on set were women, and that makes such a difference. Working with men is great, but when you’re working with women who’ve really had to fight to be there from 20 years ago, they have a real under- standing of what it’s like to be some- one our age in the industry. When they give you critique it’s not to make you feel insecure or scared, it’s like no, I believe in you, and I also believe you can make these changes and be the best performer you can be.”


Just like any 22 year old, Mia is dancing with her mental health, trying to get the tempo right. For Mia, the dance is a little more challenging.

“I’ve spoken pretty openly within my friendship group about the fact I have bipolar type 2. Ten years ago there would have been such a stigma attached to it but I feel in the last few years, as the mental health conversation has progressed, I feel a lot more comfortable talking about it. With mental illness, I think it’s super important to be able to discuss it so people understand there isn’t this shame around it. That said, I’m very privileged and lucky because I have access to the right treatment and psychs to help me understand my brain.”

As she speaks, you can see her lighting up, advocating from experience. For her, diagnosis was a game-changer.

“Before being diagnosed I really couldn’t deal with the ups and downs — I thought it was something random — whereas now, being diagnosed, I can really recognize those emotions. It also changed the narrative. I wasn’t just a naughty kid acting out, I actually had a legitimate hurdle to deal with.”

The effect of this awareness has elevated her work. Experiencing those highs and lows has given her an advantage, allowing her to access the full range of emotion.

When playing a character, Mia recognises, “Oh I know this, I understand this feeling. I know where this character is at because I’ve experienced this before.”

What are your top 3 films and why?

1. Do The Right Thing, because its message is still relevant even today

2. The Big Lebowski, because I associate it with family

3. The Death of Stalin, because it has one of the best ensemble casts ever

Who do you think is the most exciting young and emerging creative in Sydney right now?

Ari Kwasner-Catsi



bottom of page