Having landed the title role in Tati’s Hotel back in 2011, actress Mya-Lecia Naylor the following year filmed for Tom Hanks movie Cloud Atlas where she played Miro. Over the past few years, Mya could be seen in popular TV show Millie Inbetween as Fran before joining the cast of Almost Never, CBBC’s latest hit show, as part of girl group Girls Here First. Sitting down to chat to Mya, she tells us about Tati’s Hotel, filming for a long-running CBBC show and being a band member in Almost Never.
What was your first acting role and how was the experience?
The first thing I did on TV was Absolutely Fabulous but I was only two at the time so I don’t really remember much about it. I was only filming for about a day and it was a Christmas special so from what my mum tells me, we all got around on Christmas Day and watched it.
What do you remember from your time as Tati in Tati’s Hotel?
One of the things I remember most from filming Tati’s Hotel was being sat in the tutor room where I’d have to get tutored and we’d have to study and work. It was around November, near my birthday, and I remember looking out the window and seeing that it was snowing so all of the cast and crew went outside and we had a snowball fight which was so fun!
How much fun was it to film?
Filming Tati’s Hotel was amazing. My favourite part was the puppets. We had about three puppets on set – Alexander, who was a telephone, Cuckoo the clock and Chester Cat, who I would have in a lot of my scenes. It was really fun to work with puppets because I was very young and it made it seem really real.
How did you find your time filming Almost Never?
Filming Almost Never was amazing. My favourite part filming Almost Never was any scenes that we’d have where we’d be performing in front of a crowd. We did one of our songs, Boogie Wonderland, which was amazing because we actually got a crowd reaction and it was really fun to do that! Also, any scene that I got to wear my silver tinfoil outfit because it gave me one of my favourite lines in the show which is, “what are we, a band or a packed lunch?”.
For those that haven’t seen the show, can you say more about it and who you play?
Almost Never is a comedy-drama about a boy band, The Wonderland, who are trying to make it big whilst also juggling family, friends and school life. I play Mya, who is the leader of the girl band, Girls Here First, and my character is also in a relationship with the character Oakley, who is in the boy band, which can cause a few problems along the way but it’s funny in the end.
You’re part of Girls Here First in the series, have you always enjoyed singing?
Yeah, I’ve been singing since I was about ten years old as more of a hobby but I did go to singing lessons and it was just something that I’d always wanted to do alongside my acting.
What did you get up to in between filming your scenes?
Since I’m still at school, I had to do tutoring offset with a few of the other girls and boys as well, so if we were not on set, we’d be tutoring. If we were not tutoring, me and the girls would usually go out to town and go shopping or watch a movie.
What do you enjoy most about the show and have you had much social media reaction to your role?
We’ve had a lot of social media reaction, more than I anticipated at first, but it’s so good to see all the fan accounts posting edits and who they ship together in the show. I love talking to them, they’re always so positive and we get such a positive response to all the stuff that we do online.
Who is Fran in Millie Inbetween?
Fran is Millie’s best friend and she’s also kind of her stepsister. It’s complicated, but that’s what the show is about.
What was it like being part of this cast?
Although it’s cheesy to say, it’s almost like a family. Being with the same people for about five years in a row, we did grow to be really close, especially Marley, who played my younger brother Jake on the show, we actually felt like siblings and we were really close.
How is it being involved in a long-running CBBC series?
It’s really fun being involved in a long-running show because you actually get to connect with the people who you’re working with and you see them again next year and it is, like I said, a bit cheesy and family-like. In terms of acting, it’s nice because you get to see the character develop and change and you get to grow with the character rather than just play it once and then forget about it.
Who did you act alongside in Cloud Atlas?
In Cloud Atlas, I acted alongside Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. Tom Hanks was so nice, he took us on a tour of the set on the first day I was filming.
How long were you filming?
We were only filming for a week but one of the memories I have is going into town and it was around Christmastime and they had a big fairground set up and I remember going into town with my family.
You recorded for the BBC Radio 4 drama Mr Reasonable, would you like to do more radio work?
I haven’t thought about doing it again but it’s not something that I’ve done a lot so I would really like to do it again because it’s very interesting.
Are there any plans for your YouTube channel?
It’s hard at the moment since I’ve got my GCSEs in about two months, but as soon as that’s over I really want to get back into the habit of posting on YouTube weekly and really engaging in that.
Do you have any roles coming up that you can talk about?
Nothing that I can talk about at the moment. I have been filming a few things here and there but everything’s a bit hush hush at the moment so I can’t really speak about it yet but be on the lookout because there’s going to be some amazing projects out real soon!
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