Interview by JANA LETONJA

Actress Mika Abdalla can be currently seen in Paramount and T-Street’s coming-of-age comedy ‘Snack Shack’, which was released theatrically on 15th March and will be streaming on Paramount+ from this April. Mika is best known for her lead roles in Hulu’s teen comedy ‘Sex Appeal’ and in Netflix’s ‘Project Mc^2’, which earned her an individual nomination for a Young Artist Awards for Best Performance.

Mika, we can currently watch you in the coming-of-age comedy ‘Snack Shack’ that follows two best friends who unexpectedly win the silent auction to run the swimming pool snack shack when an army brat girl comes to town and sweeps them both off their feet. Tell us more about this comedy and its story.
The movie’s loosely based on the writer/director’s experiences growing up in Nebraska City. It’s a fun movie to watch and really reminds you of what summer feels like when you’re a kid.

How was it portraying an army brat for this film? What intrigued you the most about your character?
It was somewhat easy to connect with Brooke’s story. I’ve traveled for work since I was 11 and I had to learn how to cope with making close friends for a few months and then potentially never seeing them again. I feel like Brooke is just a way cooler, way more confident version of me, which I was excited to do for obvious reasons.

Fans know you best from your roles in Hulu’s ‘Sex Appeal’ and Netflix’s ‘Project Mc^2’. How have these two projects impacted your career?
Any experience on set helps prepare you for your next role, especially when you’re young and finding your own voice. You get to see what works and what doesn’t, and learn from it.

How did you get into acting in the first place? How did your passion for it develop?
I was the cover kid for a local parenting magazine when I was 6 and absolutely loved being on set. My mom found me an agent in Dallas and things just kind of progressed from there. My passion really developed through rejection as I got older. Things weren’t as easy as when I was a kid, and my dedication was tested. The way I felt going without work proved to me that this is what I want to do forever.

What kind of roles or stories usually challenge you the most?
Comedy is so stressful to me, which is funny because the last two films I’ve done have been comedies. Something’s working I guess.

Is there an actor or actress that you could say is your absolute idol in the industry?
I’ve always looked up to people who start out young and have these slow-burn careers, like Leonardo DiCaprio and Frances McDormand, although I’m not sure if their bananas careers count as slow burns.

Before acting, you were a competitive ballroom dancer. How are acting and dancing similar in your opinion?
They both really challenge you to not be embarrassed of messing up. To be good at either you have to be willing to try things that might not work the way you think they will.

What do you love the most about ballroom dancing and why did you quit dancing professionally?
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I did it professionally, but I did travel for competitions and stuff, which was probably my favorite part of doing it. When I moved to LA, I left the studio at home and just kind of fell out of it.

We’ve heard you’re also passionate about horseriding and golf. Tell us more about your hobbies.
Horseback riding and golf are both things I’ve done since I was really little. One of my aunts golfed and one of them rode horses, and so I guess I wanted to be like them. They’re fun, low impact ways to stay active and spend time outside, which I love.

What can you share with us about your upcoming projects that we’ll be able to see you in?
The double strike really slowed things down, so right now I’m focusing on ‘Snack Shack’ and enjoying reading new scripts. I’m also working on writing something of my own, so maybe we can talk about that next time.

all photography ADAM HENDERSHOTT