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"Getting to Know You" with Kaia Podd

WESTMINSTER, CA - "I realize that there are so many unique stories to be told, and they can all be interpreted in different ways. When I’m in a show, I know I’m part of something way bigger than myself. You just don't get that feeling anywhere else," Kaia says about what motivates her as a performer.

A freshman at Huntington Beach High School's Academy for the Performing Arts majoring in musical theatre, Kaia's experience includes Ally in Counting Shoulders, the Two of Clubs in Alice in Wonderland, and Chava in Fiddler on the Roof. In addition to theater, Kaia is an avid dancer, piano player, and songwriter.

Excerpts from our talk:

When did you know you wanted to start performing? I used to go see shows when I was younger, and I was always so immersed in them, and wished I could be a part of it. As I got older, I decided to do just that and started performing! What has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor? Really standing out in shows as featured roles.

How do you prepare for an audition? Any advice you would give to actors going out on auditions? I practice my song, take deep breaths, and tell myself that there is nothing to fear. For actors auditioning, I would say that there is nothing that can hurt you! Just be present and show everyone what you’ve got!

What is the most frustrating part of being a performer? Getting so close to a big role, or accomplishment, and not getting it.

Do you have a dream role you want to play? My dream role is Velma Kelly in Chicago, because she’s a really fierce, independent, and realistic woman. What I mean by realistic is she has dimensions, and she isn’t good, nor evil. I think I could bring my spunk and add depth to the role.

What is your process like in preparing for a role? I listen to the roles songs on loop all the time. I look at videos of other people performing the role, and I practice everything that the role does so it becomes second nature.

Attending a performing arts academy, what training have you done to better your craft? I think training is extremely important. I have taken many voice, dance and acting lessons, and I’m still taking all three this year. I recommend that performers in musical theatre take as many dance classes as possible and train their voice and learn how to take care of their voice.

What is the most fun role you’ve ever played? The most fun role I’ve ever played was the Duke of Weselton in Frozen. I got to be someone completely different from myself and just be totally wacky and crazy!

On the flip side, is there a role that was particularly tough? The hardest role I’ve ever play was Mabel in Pirates of Penzance. I had to hit some high soprano notes at the very top of my range while dancing, which was not easy.

Do you have a favorite actor or performer that you look up to? I have so many, but one of favorites is Sophia Anne Caruso. She takes characters to their deepest meaning, and really captures every element of them.

What is a fun fact about you that people wouldn’t be aware of? A fun fact about me is that I love to write fiction and fantasy stories. One day I want to turn them into screenplays!

Any advice to other actors or aspiring performers? My advice would be to train as hard as you can, and although life and show business can be unfair, you can’t let it get to you. You just have to be the very best you can be.

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