IN CONVERSATION WITH MIKAELA HOOVER
Interview by Jana Letonja
Iranian-Italian actress Mikaela Hoover brought her talent to the role of Floor the Rabbit in the highly anticipated ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3′, which was released on 5th May. You might also remember Mikaela from Netflix’s rom-coms ‘Love Hard’ and ‘Holidate’. Up next, she’ll be seen in HBO’s crime thriller series ‘Duster’.
Mikaela, you were part of the highly anticipated ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’, which was released this May. How exciting was it to be a part of the ‘Guardians’ franchise?
It is truly surreal. I am so grateful to be a part of such an incredible franchise and to play such a sweet character.
Additionally, you have an upcoming role in the upcoming HBO series ‘Duster’, where you’ll be portraying Adrienne Barbeau, Hollywoood’s original scream queen. What can you tell us about this project?
I can’t share too much about the project, but I can tell you I was absolutely elated when I received the role. Adrienne Barbeau was such a trailblazer and incredibly ahead of her time.
To play such an iconic actress, I studied her interviews, how she spoke, her mannerisms and I read her book to try to understand her early years. In the evenings, I would watch her series ‘Maude’ and I made sure to watch her films too. I’m excited for you all to see it.
The production on the series got halted due to the writer’s strike. What is your view on what is currently going on in the industry?
I am sad to see that it has come to this, but I am hopeful that it will be over soon with all writers being paid what they deserve. I am hopeful we can all get back to doing what we love.
In the last few holiday seasons, we’ve been able to see you in Netflix’s rom-coms ‘Love Hard’ and ‘Holidate’. What do you love the most about rom-coms, as an actress and as a viewer?
I love romantic comedies and it’s a dream to be able to be in them. Honestly, they are just as magical while you are making them as they are when they hit the big screen.
Acting in both films was wonderful, but ‘Love Hard’ was particularly special because I assisted in producing the film too. We shot the movie in Vancouver, Canada, which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was also filmed during the pandemic, so I felt incredibly lucky to be working. I am really proud of that film.
You’ve also starred on some of TV’s most beloved sitcoms, including ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Two and a Half Men’. How would you describe the experience of starring on a sitcom?
I love acting in sitcoms. Comedy comes more natural to me, so working on those shows is always a treat. I feel more at ease in those roles. The live audience sitcoms reminded me of my theater days in college, there’s something so special about performing in front of a live audience.
When did you discover your passion for performing? And how did it develop from there into your career?
I started performing for my family at a very young age. After performing in school plays, I moved to LA to study theater at Loyola Marymount University. When I graduated college, I hired an agent and started auditioning. It was very important to me to focus on my degree and experience those college years outside of auditions. I always knew I would try and start my career after. Oddly enough, my first two projects were both shot in my hometown of Spokane, Washington. I was living in LA, auditioning and the first two roles I booked took me back home.
You are of Iranian heritage and hold an immense pride in your culture. How do you aim to bring more recognition to Middle Eastern talents in the entertainment industry?
I appreciate you recognizing how much pride I have in my Iranian heritage. For me, I always try and think about the power a role can have when you can create visibility beyond typical stereotypes that our community can face. I know I can always be doing more to bring recognition and representation to Middle Eastern talents and I hope to inspire others to do the same.
You are also incredibly involved in several causes and charities, including Global Down Syndrome, and raising awareness for children’s Autism and mental health. Why are these causes and charities so dear to you?
My cousin had Down Syndrome, so I was introduced to it at a very young age. I believe if you are in some position of recognition, you should always use your voice to help bring awareness to important causes and especially causes that resonate with you. I am so happy we are now seeing more actors with Down Syndrome and Autism on the big screen.
You were diagnosed with OCD at the age of 13. How do you deal with it? What helps you overcome it?
When I started developing severe symptoms, I had no idea what OCD even was. It was so unbelievably isolating and lonely because I thought I was the only one. I started seeing a therapist at 13. Despite the struggles I faced with OCD, I have worked hard to not let it define me. I find ways to manage it and I encourage others who have similar mental health issues to know that they can still achieve their dreams and goals despite the struggles.
Mikaela, besides ‘Duster’, what can you share with us about your other upcoming projects?
I am auditioning now for a few projects that I am very excited about. The experience with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3′ and the CGI and voice work was so fun that I would love to continue working in that space as well.
THIS INTERVIEW WAS CONDUCTED BEFORE THE SAG-AFTRA STRIKE!
photographer BOAZ KROON
makeup ANA SAFAZADA