Karlisha Hurley on the Red Carpet at the Hollywood Shorts Film Festival at TLC Chinese Theatre
You’d be forgiven for thinking that award-winning actor Karlisha Hurley, fresh off a set and about to step onto another, is just a regular person. However, it’s precisely that down-to-earth essence and comfortable feeling she imparts to anyone with whom she comes into contact that allows her to play a number of roles which resonate with viewers around the world.
Due to start filming the new TV series, Sharing is Caring any day now, Karlisha smiles when asked about the prospect of her stretching her acting muscles and playing the hilarious role of Harriet in the highly anticipated comedy. To see Karlisha’s approach to acting and honing her craft at such a young age is, put simply, impressive. At only 19, she’s able to access a variety of emotions in an incredibly raw manner.
Of course, Karlisha has maintained a connection to the dark storytelling roots for which she has become known, as she still has another criminal movie, How to Identify a Serial Killer, in the works to keep her fans happy.
Perhaps more impressive is that the Darwin native, due to turn 20 this year, is a rare breed in the industry in carving out a successful career on camera as both a TV host, and award-winning actress.
Karlisha decided to broaden her talents and star as a co-host in the online series, #ME4TV: Nextgen Talk Show, when she realized she wanted to use her platform in the entertainment industry to draw attention to issues she was personally passionate about. The series is a light hearted look at important issues and challenges actors face in Hollywood such as how playing challenging emotional or dead roles can impact on an actor, the impact of Me Two and Times Up on gender equality, how age affects an actor’s opportunities and much more. #Me4TV has found a loyal following and success on YouTube and Stareable.
In a number of episodes, Karlisha discussed with a panel about how Instagram and other social media platforms are affecting the new generations - especially kids at such a young age. When watching the footage, it’s clear she speaks with fervent concern about how some kids may suffer from intense body image issues all because of how influencers on Instagram portray their lavish lifestyles and set unrealistic body image “standards” to the younger generation.
Fans embraced Karlisha’s capacity to be authentic and respectful when discussing such a sensitive topics. In a way, Karlisha touched the hearts of many kids through #Me4TV, reflecting the need of the current younger generation for raw truth and opinions expressed in an unfiltered manner, from other young people
“Becoming a Co-Host for #Me4TV has been an amazing and unique experience. The show was created to give the younger generation a platform to speak freely about sensitive and hard hitting topics and while we take a light hearted approach to ensure the show is entertaining, we are not afraid to speak out and share our views on important issues. This gives other kids my age the chance to say ‘hey, if they can speak out, so can I”.
Of course, while #Me4TV is something for which the Australian actor has become known as herself, she’s equally familiar with disappearing into intense and dramatic roles. Karlisha’s mastery of her craft has landed her on a collection of productions; the character of Cynthia in the multi-award winning film Hello Tom Sullivan required Karlisha to use the heightened emotional command for which she has become known in indie-film circles. Hello Tom Sullivan - about a 14-year old boy and songwriter dealing with personal challenges who is rescued from bullies by a girl, Cynthia, who completely turns his life around - positioned Karlisha as more than just a manic-pixie-dream-girl. Karlisha’s character Cynthia encourages her co-star Tom to open up about his past by making him feel safe; she does this through soothing tones, playful scenes and with an innocent and yet life affirming approach towards Tom. These actions show a level of character analysis and dedication that very few actors could deliver with such ingenuity.
Karlisha’s range isn’t limited however to being an ingenue on screen. She laughs when asked about her stunt work in the thriller Nightmare Resident (initially named The Resident), a new Lifetime feature starring Daytime Emmy nominee Lauralee Bell from The Young and the Restless. Nightmare Resident is about a kind hearted Ivy League single mom, Carrie, who’s brilliant daughter, Lacey, is heading to Harvard. When Carrie meets a struggling, resourceless girl raised in an orphanage, she invites her into her home not knowing that the girl, Nikki, is her daughter’s high school rival, now set on ruining Carrie’s life and legacy from within her own home. Karlisha, plays Ginger, Lacey’s best friend. Karlisha is integral to this film as she must quickly let Lacey know about the danger of Carrie taking in Nikki under her wing after noticing that Carrie invited Nikki into the house.
Karlisha surprises fans driving the film’s plot forward by perfectly executing an insane stunt in the film. She confidently adds, “It took a lot of preparation to get that right, but I knew I could do it. It was a lot of fun working with the stunt team; they had so much faith in my abilities. Because of them I knew I could pull it off. It was just one particular fight scene that only took up a few minutes of footage but we did so many versions of it that it took a long time. But the entire team made the whole experience so exciting. ”
Combined with her natural charm, any viewer will no doubt be impressed by how Karlisha is able to fully stay in character while exquisitely executing the stunt. Although still a teenager, Karlisha has already shown immense dedication and talent towards her craft. This begs the question of what Karlisha could possible do next?
Well, she has a lead role in the feature film Wrapped directed by Calen Coates coming up, with Danny Irizarry, and mentions how she’s interested in not only the stunt and more physical side of the acting world but is looking for ways to explore new characters she hasn’t had a chance to portray yet: “Acting is so much more fun than life; I want to explore that in as many different ways as I can”.