Kenosha, WI — After going to auditions, callbacks and interviews with the director, Olga Petsa finally scored a chemistry read — showbiz talk for checking to see if actors click and have chemistry. The day after, upon request, she returned to perform again.
Choked up with stress, she joined the Zoom call and was told to wait for the director to bring the other actors on to do the scene.
“And then she waits one second and she says, ‘No we won't, because you got the role!’ And I screamed, “Are you kidding?”, and my mom was screaming next to me,” said Petsa.
“It was a very memorable experience,” the 15-year-old added. “My mind went blank for a moment, I was so shocked. It was my first big role. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I'm gonna be on Netflix!’”
“Mixtape,” a film directed by Valerie Weiss, debuts Friday on Netflix and Petsa plays Nicky, a “badass character,” as she describes the character.
“‘Mixtape’ is about discovering who you are both as an individual and being a part of a group. I love the foundation of it. It's based on family, friendship, love, and music,” said Petsa, a Canadian resident. “I'm excited to see what people think, and what message they take away.”
She has always been a curious person at nature, and loves to play characters who have layers of depth to them.
“From a very young age I loved being creative, whether that was creating dances, songs, or performing in front of my mirror for friends and family,” she said. “But I never thought of it as a career, especially living in such a tiny country. I didn't think it would be possible to go to that next level.”
After she moved to Canada as a child, she felt it opened multiple doors for her acting career because it was then she began taking acting classes.
One of her main role models is Emma Watson, especially her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series.
“She's not only an actress, she uses her voice so much to speak and be a part of significant conversations,” said Petsa. “And as a young girl I find it so important to know you're capable and your voice will not go unheard. She inspires me to speak about what I want to share.”
She specifically enjoys seeing Watson’s involvement in feminism. She hopes to get more opportunities to have a seat at the table to discuss equality issues.
Petsa created playlists that represented her character to help her get in touch with the role. She described Nicky as being hard shelled, but someone who still has a large heart who cares about people.
She can relate to the confidence Nicky holds. Like Nicky, she also uses makeup, clothing and hair for self-expression.
Petsa also said having a consuming schedule was the hardest aspect of production to adjust to, especially when figuring out how to balance her social and school life. Using books, music, and family are her ways to come back down to earth, which she now appreciates more because of how much she uses those outlets.
“It was a very positive environment. Everyone clicked immediately,” she said. “I couldn't have asked for a better start to my journey.” she added about her overall experience.
“I try to think that regardless of what I've achieved or taken part in, I'm proud of myself regardless. And I think it’s so important to be pleased with what and how you do,” she stressed. “If my words are able to help one person, that's enough for me.”