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Posted on August 04, 2013 and filed under Interviews, Maia Mitchell, Photos, Photoshoots

Maia recently did an interview with Today Online talking about her career, life growing up and Disney Channel. The interview and photos are courtesy of the site.

Q: Tell us a bit about growing up in Australia. How in touch were you with Hollywood?
A: I wasn’t really in touch actually, I am from a small town in Australia called Lismore, and I had a wholesome upbringing where my parents didn’t allow me to watch much TV or movies. So, it was definitely left of field for me to want to pursue a career in entertainment, but it’s always been what I wanted to do.

Q: Any actors or directors whom you have always looked up to and would like to work with?
A: Yes, I would love to work with Meryl Streep — because she’s Meryl Streep. And Jennifer Lawrence is someone who I think is incredible and also an amazing role model for young women, because she is so poised and cool, and amazingly talented. For directors, I love Baz Luhrmann because I think all his stuff is so incredible, and I love Quentin Tarantino, too.

Q: So you might one day consider pursuing a pop career?
A: Well, not pop music. I like folk and soul music, so it would be a bit more alternative. Some musicians I love are The Smiths and The Cure, and Joni Mitchell was a big inspiration for me while growing up. Maybe I would go in that direction. I am not really thinking about it yet.

Q: What are your earliest memories of wanting to do something like this?
A: I did a lot of performing when I was growing up, doing theatre classes and so on. I always knew that I wanted to perform in some respect. I had to rule out dancing because I had a bad back, and eventually, I went on TV and spent my teenage years acting.

Q: Which was the easiest part of having to sing, dance and act?
A: The easiest part was the acting. It was something new for me because I had never done a film, much less played the lead before. So carrying the film was something new, and required more preparation, but it was great. And I also had to learn how to surf, which was fantastic. People are always surprised that I haven’t done it before in Australia. I also had to learn and record a song in a studio for the first time, and I had to dance with professional dancers which I hadn’t done in a couple years. It was crazy and a lot of new experiences, but I am so glad I did because it was so fun.

Q: What did you enjoy the most about the whole filming experience?
A: Performing the musical numbers and being on the beach in Puerto Rico, which was beautiful. We were in ridiculous ‘60s outfits and singing and dancing and acting at the same time. So, the overall experience was simply incredible. Even though it was challenging, it was really fun and there was this amazing energy on set that didn’t make it feel like effort. And it was something that we all genuinely wanted to be a part of and we were all excited to be there.

Q: Has it been easy for you, growing up in Australia, to find work opportunities abroad?
A: Yes. A lot of actresses would kill me for saying that but it’s actually been pretty amazing and I am very blessed that it happened to all land in my lap. When I auditioned for this role I hadn’t even thought about moving to Los Angeles, and it’s definitely been a situation of important people coming into my life, which has brought experiences to me that have been amazing. I am definitely glad to be in America now and I think it’s the right place to be. I am loving being in that environment and being surrounded by people who share the same goals and interests. I think it’s really cool.

Q: What has it been like relocating from Australia to Los Angeles?
A: It’s been great. I am a very independent person so it has been fun for me to be in a different country and to see new things. It’s a very exciting time for me, meeting new people, being in a different culture.

Q: Do you see yourself wanting to do the same things that past Disney actors have done?
A: Yeah, I am not prejudiced between television and film and I would like to keep doing both. I think that the line between television and film actors has been very blurred. There’re many people crossing over to do cool projects, and it is certainly my goal to do the same. I just want to keep working as an actor. I don’t have a preference for either, and I like both for very different reasons. I love TV because you spend more time with the character and it’s more intense. It involves big days and you go on set every day and you spend so much time with the character, and the character arc is so much longer. Whereas in a film, the character arc happens much quicker and it’s more intense such that you might shoot two pages (of script) a day whereas on TV you might shoot ten. They’re both very different experiences.

Q: Along with working on a big project like this, have you had to make compromises regarding your privacy?
A: I am a very private person so I am definitely very conscious of that. But what’s great about the Disney Channel is that the fan base is younger, so it comes from a really good place. I haven’t had any weird or negative fan encounters, everything has been positive. And I get cute things all the time: yesterday at a meet-and-greet with fans, I got a pair of Elmo ears. Also, someone once made me a cool ring out of scotch tape.

Q: Do you feel stressed having to be a role model?
A: I am not stressed by it; I don’t think it’s a negative thing at all. Certainly, working for Disney and taking on the role, I knew I had to be a role model and promote wholesome values. I think that it’s something I can use to my advantage. I am very blessed to have Disney channel in my life and to be promoting these values because I agree with them.

Q: Along those lines, what would you say is your biggest vice or guilty indulgence?
A: My guilty pleasure is probably candy. I eat so much of it, it’s terrible. And I am not good at exercising, though I surf now in Malibu so I guess I do some sort of exercise. However, the surf is not that great in California – but maybe I am biased because I am from Australia. Near my home is Byron Bay which is very popular for surfing and it’s one of the best surf spots in Australia. And I will be going back home soon so I am excited.

Q: Throughout your career so far, who has been offering you the most support?
A: My mum has always been my biggest role model in every sense. She has been very involved in my career and has helped me shape it. But in terms of people in the industry, my manager is the one who brought me to America and has been to one giving me good advice and keeping me grounded. But I think that you have to surround yourself by those kinds of people.

Q: What are some things you do to stay grounded?
A: I think that it shouldn’t be something you have to remind yourself of. I think if you remember what is important in your life and the people you are passionate about, which, for me, are my friends and family, and working in acting. If you keep that in perspective, then I think the rest comes from there, rather than thinking about the other stuff.

Q: What else you are passionate about aside from performing?
A: I love singing and I write music and play the guitar, and those are things that I do for myself, it’s my second passion. I am not sure it is something I want to explore professionally, because it’s kind of just, when you live such a public life, it’s important to have something for yourself, something that you love, which you can take ownership of, and which is only yours. And that is certainly what music is for me. If at some point I felt that I was at the top of my musicianship, and I was passionate and wanted to do that, I would just take some time off and really just focus on that.

Q: What’s your personal style like?
A: I definitely have a strong eye for what I feel is my style, but I am not very good at describing it. I guess it is kind of classic but also a modern spin on different styles. In my personal life I am very low key and I don’t wear makeup. I don’t own a pair of heels and I am very casual. I definitely enjoy the dressing up as part of the job but it is not something I do much in my own life.

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