A young child can visit a fire station and think that the pole looks fun and want to be a fireman, and although the reasons may change, the idea never fully left their brain. They could go want to be a doctor because of a trip to the doctor’s office where they liked the color of the bandage that was used, but grow to become a highly-skilled surgeon. Many people decide what they want to do from a young age for a plethora of different reasons that as a child seem like the right ones, and as they grow their passion is there despite what triggered it changing.
Kayla Strada was 13 and growing up on the Central Coast in Australia, which is about 45 minutes from Sydney, when she first decided she wanted to get into acting. And although her initial reasoning for wanting to get into the profession may have changed, it was without-a-doubt the right choice.
“I had a celebrity crush on Jeremy Sumpter who starred in the 2003 live-action version of Peter Pan. Like any school girl crush, I of course wanted to meet him,” she joked. “And, how, I thought to myself? Oh I know, I will become an actor!”
Of course, that has all changed now, but the initial spark of interest was enough to change her entire life.
“I was very shy as a kid, so it shocked my parents to think I wanted to do anything performance based,” she said. “I feel like, although acting has always been a part of me, I didn’t know what it really meant to be an actor.”
This truly changed with Strada’s first big role, which was Anybodys from West Side Story. She performed at her local theatre company in Australia. Early on, she was recognized as an emerging talent and was awarded the prestigious McDonald College of Performing Arts Scholarship, and continued her studies at Australia’s National Institute for Dramatic Arts (NIDA). Achieving all of this by the young age of 17, she had the unique opportunity to work with Universal Studios to play the iconic character of Betty Boop, and beat out thousands of other actresses from around the world looking to play the role. Strada considers the role one of the most fun of her career, and describes Betty Boop as “such a joy to play.” Afterwards, she moved to Hollywood to study at the world-renowned Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theater.
Now, she has a long list of achievements in her blossoming career as an actress. She won the award for Best Actress in a Short Film at Nova Fest (North Virginia International Film Festival) for her work in Next, playing the role of Chelsea Johnston. The film also appeared at the Action on Film Festival where it won the award for Best Short Film and was the runner-up for Best Dialogue in a Short Film. She appeared in the pop group Kicking Sunrise’s new music video Here’s To the Sunrise, and has her first feature film role appear in award winning director Stan Harrington’s new film Love Is… where she will play the role of Maddie.
“The nature of a shoot required to make a movie like Love Is... is exceptionally trying, so getting to work with actors that not only come prepared but also have incredible talent and insight, like Kayla, makes everything just that little bit easier,” described Harrington.
Strada has had the opportunity to work alongside many talented actors during her career, such as Mena Savari (American Beauty), Yorgos Karamihos (The Durrells), Rick Peters (Dexter), and May Quigley Goodman (Golden Girls).
Despite her success, there are still some barriers that this versatile actress deals with on a daily basis.
“The challenge of acting is letting go. You can’t let anything get into your head,” said Strada. “I am actually Dyslexic so for me my challenge lies within the lines. I have different methods of reading a script than what most people do.”
And clearly she overcomes all obstacles with the utmost grace.
“I love that acting is a constant learning experience. When you grow as a person, you grow as an actor, and you grow as a character. Essentially, life is about growing and changing and I like that about acting,” she said. “There is not math question with an answer. It’s purely about your journey.”