Actor Maia Mitchell plays dress ups with Stellar in Los Angeles.
For actor Maia Mitchell, the bright lights of LA are a long way from her hometown of Lismore, NSW. The high-end fashion she models for Stellar is equally at odds with the local flea markets she used to visit. And yet, the 23-year-old has made the transition from local starlet to Tinseltown up-and-comer look positively effortless.
Having made a name for herself on Australian children’s shows Mortified and Trapped, Mitchell was scouted as a teenager by a US manager who urged her to put auditions on tape. From there, she booked a Disney Channel pilot as well as another project for the network – Teen Beach Movie – which allowed her to show off her musical talent.
At 18, just as Mitchell was set to return home, another job was picked up. She is now known for her role in The Fosters, which recently started its fifth season and airs locally on Foxtel. The show features a bi-racial lesbian couple who have opened their home to multicultural foster children, and Jennifer Lopez serves as an executive producer.
It has provided some much-needed stability for a young actor trying to establish herself in a cutthroat town. “It’s been great… to have some kind of consistency and family community as I do get homesick,” she tells Stellar.
Still, she is enjoying the glamorous side to her job. Mitchell was recently shot as part of the Bonds Homegrown Tees campaign – her first collaboration with an Australian fashion label – joining singer Cody Simpson and model Charlee Fraser as brand ambassadors. She also works with a stylist for red carpet events. “When I dress myself and go out at night I tend to stay really casual,” she says. “But when you’re doing an event, I feel like it gives me a licence to be creative.”
Mitchell insists she is still getting used to fame, especially when her fans include fellow celebrities. In 2013 she was stopped by Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters at the American Music Awards. “He was like, ‘Hey, I just wanted to let you know my family are huge fans,’” she says. “It was this crazy, surreal moment where Dave Grohl was thanking me for inspiring his kids to play music!”
Although she’s now based in LA, life back home is never far from Mitchell’s mind. “Eventually I’d like to settle down in Byron Bay and have a family,” she says. “But until then I just want to work really hard, and try to do as many films as I can and just expand myself as an actor.”