Following your calling and pursuing your dreams takes courage, determination, perseverance, patience and certain percentage of stubbornness, these are qualities that I could use to describe young Australian Actress, Writer and Producer, Kayla Strada, whom has traveled thousands of miles pursuing her dream, a dream that brought her to the moment in time where we met at a Café in Hollywood during a beautiful summer morning where she shared the story of her journey with us.
Kayla Strada was a very quiet child – native from a town forty five minutes outside of Sydney, Australia – who discovered her passion for drama and acting at the early age of thirteen years old, a passion wherein she found a way to express herself, she joined GMS Entertainment in Australia where she started her career doing musical theater on plays like “Alice in Wonderland” and “West Side Story” just to name a few. She gradually got into more acting based plays and later auditioned at the McDonald’s College of the Performing Arts where she majored in drama. “My passion manifested on its own, I auditioned for Universal Studios in Singapore and got the role of Betty Boop, I interpreted the main character for three years, it was a wild experience, an experience that opened my doors to new things” shares Kayla. Her journey had taken her through this great path, a path that exposed her to a huge cultural experience at the age of eighteen and wherein she found herself traveling for the first time outside of her hometown.
After portraying Betty Boop, she returned to her hometown where she had a blank canvas and decided to trace a new story. She traveled to Los Angeles in exploration of new challenges and learned about the world renowned school Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Los Angeles, she had an opportunity to visit the school and “I immediately fell in love with this institution, it was done deal” says Kayla with a great smile on her face as she remembers the moment. Once she was accepted at Stella Adler new doors opened for her, she began to do a lot of writing and producing of her own. During this period of her journey she turned a monologue that she had written some time back into a short film called “Next”. In this short film, she played the role of “Chelsea” which is an extended version of herself, “Chelsea reveals that the character suffers a dyslexic condition that I suffer myself, I think that facing my fear through Chelsea was my way of breaking through, of not being afraid and to be upfront with it, a lot of people tend to hide their problems. My parents always told me that my condition was a gift, and found myself working extra hard to accomplish things that may be simple to other people such as learning the lines of a script, an experience that has helped me to find my way”.
Kayla’s short film “Next” has brought her many satisfactions such as a nomination and award for Best Short Film and Dialog at the Action On Film Festival (AOFFest), she also won the award for Best Actress at The Nova Film Festival. “At this moment I feel inclined to continue acting, but being able to write and produce makes me realize the effort involved, people think it is easy to make and produce films, it is all about teamwork and I have come to learn that working with a team makes things easier, at the end it is a gratifying experience” says Kayla. At a young age Kayla has learned valuable lessons, lessons that she tries to transmit through her roles and work, “I love to interpret different roles that deliver a message at the end, messages about not giving up if you find your calling, about pushing the boundaries and barriers, about being persistent, and not letting other people take advantage of you.”
Kayla has been involved in different independent projects, her latest work includes a collaboration with actress Mena Savari from “American Beauty”, “this was really inspiring as I respect her work, I try to surround myself with projects that have a meaning.” Speaking of inspiring projects Kayla also mentioned that she is currently collaborating on a feature film directed by Stan Harrington called “Love Is” which is a romantic, sexy and sometimes even tragic love story about the true meaning of love, starring Kayla Strada in the role of “Maddie”, a film written and produced by Stan Harrington, Bryan Wriggle and Kayla.
Kayla’s goals are to continue working in a Hollywood movie set, to create and be able to do more theater, film, and television just as one of her most influential figures does, actress Kate Blanchet, whom she admires for her ability to do theater and film. Moving from Australia to Hollywood has been a big deal, “it has been a great journey, I have met wonderful people along the way and the Australian community has been amazing” adds Kayla. Always willing to learn, always thoughtful, persistent and stubborn at times, Kayla continues living her dream by doing what she loves and working on beautiful stories that deliver messages of love as “this world needs love” Kayla says, and someday be able to give even more back to the community.
You may follow Kayla Strada’s journey through her website www.kaylastrada.com wherein she posts updates of her latest work and collaborations.
By: Julieta Isela