Mia Mckenna-Bruce is a born Entertainer
Written By: @vaughnericstewart
Photography By: @klarawaldbergphotos
Styling Assistant: @jonathanalogba
At just two-years old Mia Mckenna-Bruce began dancing. By six-years-old she was visualizing herself as an actress. And by eight, she became a professional actress. Mia obviously was meant to entertain, and she loves everything about it. Cool America caught up with Mia to talk about her growing career.
Hi, Mia, how did you get started in acting?
Hey!! Thank you so much for having me. So, it’s a bit of a bizarre one really. I was watching the TV series of The Titanic. I think I was maybe around 6 years old. And it TRAUMATISED me. I couldn’t sleep, I was honestly distraught. So, my mum got the “director” to call me up and explain that it was a tv show. He explained to me about actors, costume; make-up, scripts and loads of other things that come along with making tv and film and convinced me that what I watched wasn’t real. I found this so amazing and thought I want to do that, that’s a real job! I then became obsessed with Shirley Temple. I watched the same documentary about her every afternoon when I got home from school, making notes on how she made a career of acting. I always remember one part quoting she always had exactly 52 curls in her hair. So, I definitely thought for a while if I had 52 curls in my hair, I’d get to be an actor and I’d attempt to roll my hair up while I slept in 52 little balls to make it curly. She was also American so I persisted to just speak with an American accent for a lot of my childhood. This is what got me obsessed with becoming a real-life actor, I found an ad in our local newspaper for an amateur production of Seussical the musical. We definitely thought I wouldn’t get in; I just was desperate to try to act in front of people and see what the thought and see how it felt. I somehow managed to bag the job! I think I was 7 by this point and it’s what lead me to land my first agent! Oh, and I should also add, it was only recently I found out that the “director” my mum had call me, was actually just my grandad putting on a different voice!
Was there a particular actor/actress, movie or TV show that inspired you to become an actress?
Sorry, I spoke about this in the last question, but watching Shirley Temple is what made me want to give it a go. Kate Winslet has always, and will always be a huge idol of mine. I think she’s just so REAL, it’s so inspiring.
“I definitely thought for a while if I had 52 curls in my hair, I’d get to be an actor”
What was your first role?
My first professional job was playing Alison Summers in Billy Elliot the Musical in the West End. I was about 8 years old so it was very surreal getting to be a part of something so iconic.
Any advice for any aspiring actors/actresses that you can share?
BREATHE. I used to let nerves get the better of me. To the point I’d physically be frozen to the spot unable to move or speak. Then once someone told me that nerves are the same emotion as excitement, the only difference is the way that you breathe. Sounds so simple and kind of crazy but honestly just breathe, even just one huge deep breath can really help settling nerves.
Tell us about Persuasion and your character Mary Elliot?
PERSUASION is a modern adaptation, of the much-loved 1800s novel. This film has a more playful and inclusive tone than most traditional pieces we see, which is what makes it so wonderful to be a part of. It keeps the well-known love story at its center, while allowing more people to see themselves in these characters. It’s all romance and second chances and regret. What’s not to love!
Mary is the youngest Elliot sister. She’s married to Charles Musgrove and they have two children. She was THE most fun to play. She’s super high strung, hysterical, and very dramatic. From the first time I read the script I was like “omg she’s like 1800s Moira Rose” (from Schitt’s Creek) which was just a dream role to play.
“So, doing an (American) accent always adds more of a challenge.”
Was it difficult to get into your character’s head?
As much as I hope I’m quite different to Mary, I don’t think I found it particularly difficult to become her. First of all, once you’re in those beautiful costumes, surrounded by the most stunning sets, it’s hard not to believe you’re a part of that world. Second, we had the most wonderful team around us. That makes such a difference in being able to just kind of throw yourself into it. Carrie was just phenomenal in getting the best out of us.
Are you currently working on any other acting projects?
Yes! We’ve just completed filming Vampire Academy, where I get to play a vampire that’s being released September 15th on Peacock. I’m also starting on another film this September, which I’m not sure if I’m allowed to speak about yet!
Besides acting, do you have any other ambitions in Entertainment?
Acting is definitely my main passion. I also love to dance. I started when I was 2 years old and was always convinced, I’d go into a career as a dancer before I discovered acting.
What gets you excited about a project?
EVERYTHING. I just LOVE to be on set. I love getting the chance to act, as any role, and being surrounded by amazing cast and crew. I find every step of each job so exciting because everyone is entirely different. I’m super lucky that I’ve been given opportunities to play very different roles, telling very different stories.
Out of all the characters you’ve played, which role did you find the most challenging?
I think I’d have to say my role in Vampire Academy, she’s American first of all. So, doing an (American) accent always adds more of a challenge. I also broke my ankle during the shoot (not actually on set) which made things a lot harder as I had to film for 4 months unable to walk and with a cast on my leg!!
“I find every step of each acting job so exciting because everyone is entirely different.”
And the easiest and most natural role you’ve slipped into?
I did a film last year called Kindling, which isn’t out yet. We shot the whole film in 25 days. It’s a story that’s very close to my heart and the whole team on Kindling became like a family very quickly so everything we were doing felt very natural.
Three directors you want to work with?
Emerald Fennell, Christopher Nolan and Francis Lawrence.
Aside from acting, what makes Mia tick?
Animals. I’m a huge animal lover they are my favorite.
What’s your perfect day away from work?
Walking my doggo, getting coffee, getting a Chinese takeaway and watching a movie with my fiancé.
What’s your favorite film?
Silver Linings Playbook and Centre Stage.
What’s something you like to do alone?
We are a celeb/fashion magazine. Who are you favorite designers?
I love Reformation
Five things on your bucket list?
Swim with pigs in the Bahamas
Take my family to Thailand
Adopt more dogs
Be in a musical again — stage or screen I’m not fussy.
Open an animal sanctuary
Our magazine is called Cool America. What’s Cool about you?
Probably how un-cool I am. Is that a thing?