Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Strada.
Kayla, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I, born and raised on the Central Coast in Gosford, Australia. I found my love for the performing arts at an early age. I Remember I watched Peter pan and fell head of heels for lead actor Jeremy Sumpter, I had to meet him. Although I have found a deep meaning for acting now, it where it originated. I was a recipient of the prestigious McDonald College of Performing Arts Scholarship (majoring in Drama) and upon graduating in 2009, I rounded out my dramatic studies in Australia at THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR DRAMATIC ARTS (NIDA). Fresh out of school, and merely 17 years of age, I moved to Singapore to work with the world’s largest movie and theme park company, Universal Studios, after beating out thousands of other contestants around the world for the role of the iconic character, Betty Boop.
Forever looking to perfect my craft, I moved to Hollywood in 2014, to study at the world-famous, Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theater. I truly believe in the importance of training and taking classes. Actors are really like athletes, you have to be ready for the marathon. I really like the quote from Philp Seymour Hoffman. Study, find all the good teachers and study with them, get involved in acting to act, not to be famous or for the money. Do plays. It’s not worth it if you are just in it for the money. You have to love it.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve had my fair share of challenges and I think this industry is full of them. You are constantly getting tested. Sometimes you do not book a job for weeks or months and you begin to question your career choice. Sometimes your hot and sometimes not so much. Rejection comes with the job. I think most actors can relate to this. Every casting is a job interview. Building a thicker skin is something I have had to learn along the way. There are always going to be people that want to bring you down, or will only support you for your successes. It’s the people that support you when times are tough that lets you know who you can really count on. Not to mention I am also dyslexic and the career path I have taken definitely brings back horrifying memories in the school classroom. Aside from the industry challenges, I feel most international actors don’t talk about the visa process. It can be a grueling experience. There have been plenty of times when I just wanted to give up. The industry is already hard enough as it is. Trying to get your foot in the door in the first place. Then to have your visa stopping you from getting potential opportunities was another thing I had to face.
I believe if you’re really passionate about what you do, there is nothing that can stand in your way.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As an actress, human behavior is my business. It’s what I’m most fascinated by and what I specialize in.
Stella Adler said it best. “Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”
I’m proud to have worked with amazing directors such as Stan Harrington in the film “Love is…” and in “The Replaceables” with Robert Praglo, who is also an incredible teacher.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with up and coming directors John Williams and Landon Sommese, creating some of my favorite scenes. I’m currently working with director Gary Dejidas on the feature film “Night of the insolent vermin”.
Working with these talented directors has made me realize what sets me apart. Being dyslexic comes with its own set of challenges. It has always made me work harder to push boundaries and strive for more.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
My parents have been a big part of my life, such an inspiration, and have always been supportive. So for me, they are my definition of success. They ran a motel back home in Australia when I was younger which is where I get my work ethic from. Growing up, I may have had my shy moments but I always knew my potential. I was a very good swimmer before I got into acting. I remember my mum telling me a story that will give you a glips of my character. It was my first competitive race. I was younger than the rest competing and didn’t want to race. My mum gave me some inspiration talk (as she always does) I put my goggles on and hit the diving board. I finished the race and got out of the pool and said “mum, I lost my goggles” to her response “Kayla you won, you won”. For me, it wasn’t about winning. I have always been a perfectionist (being Dyslexic does that to you) but life and acting have taught me that not everything will go as planned and that’s okay, its more about how you handle it. I am constantly learning and evolving and I hope I never stop.