Earlier this year, Mirabelle Lee played Elena Cruz in an episode of 9-1-1, and she voices the roles of Sarah, Becky and Ellen in the animated series El Deafo on Apple TV+. Amongst her many projects, Mirabelle’s work includes playing Nia in an episode of Sydney to the Max, Bella in B Positive, and she stars as Moriah in the award-winning horror film Slapface alongside August Maturo. With her twin sister Anais, Mirabelle was part of the music video Die For You by The Weeknd, and they are planning on writing a script together later this year. Recently, Mirabelle has filmed for the upcoming Disney pilot Saturdays as Sonya, with a release date not yet confirmed. Mirabelle chatted to us about voicing the roles of Sarah, Becky and Ellen in El Deafo, working on horror film Slapface and filming the upcoming Disney pilot Saturdays.
You’ve most recently been seen guest-starring in Series 5 of 9-1-1 as Elena Cruz, how was your time filming your episode?
Filming 9-1-1 was so much fun! I worked with some amazing actors and learned so much from our amazing director (Marita Grabiak). The episode required a lot from me emotionally, having to cry for hours on end, and it was such a valuable and fulfilling acting experience.
Can you tell us about working on El Deafo and was there anything that drew you to the project?
I loved working on El Deafo! This project was a new but thrilling experience. I had to play three different characters, all with completely separate personalities and voices, and while it was a challenge, I had the best time figuring out how to make them each equally unique. What drew me to this project was the amazing representation and concept. You hardly ever see deaf characters on television, especially not in children’s television. I love how this show gave these characters a chance to be heard in their own way, and through such a fun concept.
What were your roles like to voice and how was it seeing the show come together?
My characters Sarah, Becky and Ellen are all completely different from each other. Going into play them, I was nervous about how I was going to be able to make them all different from each other. But with amazing direction from our director, it all came out amazing in the end. It was so exciting to see them all come to life!
It has been announced that you have filmed as Sonya in upcoming Disney pilot Saturdays, is there anything you can tell us about this?
I cannot say much about Saturdays but what I can say is that this show is so important to me and shares such an important story. Saturdays is for sure my favourite project I have ever worked on, the cast and crew are now like my family. From the writing, acting, and fashion, everything about this project is amazing. I am so excited for you all to see it!
What was Moriah like to play in Slapface and can you tell us about the film and your character?
Working on Slapface was such a valuable and unforgettable experience. Moriah was such an interesting character to get to know, being as she had so many layers to her. To uncover each of those layers one by one while filming was so exciting and fulfilling. Moriah is a complicated person, having to battle the choice between popularity and true friendship. She is someone who a lot of teenagers can relate to these days, struggling to fit in and find normalcy. What I love about her is actually the fact that I cannot confidently say that she is a good person, but she is also not a bad person either. She is simply a person who makes mistakes and is trying to navigate the world around her.
How did you find the experience working on a horror film?
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be in a horror film. When I found out I had booked the role of Moriah, I dropped to the ground, overwhelmed in disbelief, excitement, and gratitude. It was such a unique filming experience as well. We filmed in Fishkill, New York, a small and eerie town, so we were constantly surrounded by creepy sights. But despite filming in the woods where a serial killer had once run rampage through, our set couldn’t have been filled with more love and fun. Everyone on set taught me so much and gave me memories that will last a lifetime.
What are some of your stand-out highlights from filming Slapface?
One of my stand-out highlights from filming Slapface was a scene with August Maturo and I where Lucas and Moriah were having a miniature date in the woods. When we were filming, it had to be maybe 20 degrees outside and we were shivering uncontrollably. We had heat warmers everywhere. Despite this sounding uncomfortable, it was actually one of my favourite moments. We shared so many laughs because of how hard we were shivering and also the scene we were filming at the time. That moment is hard to describe in words, but I felt a juvenile yet happy energy running through my veins at all times, seeing everyone through rose-coloured glasses.
Last year, you played Nia in Disney series Sydney to the Max, what did you enjoy most about playing the role and working with the rest of the cast?
What I loved most about filming Sydney to the Max was the people I worked with and also being able to be a part of a Disney girl group. I think everyone has dreamed of being in a girl group at least once in their lives, and this is what I got to do on this set! I was able to dance and sing with some amazing people and just overall had such a fun time.
What was it like on set of B Positive as Bella?
Working on B Positive was such a positive experience. I had an opportunity to learn and watch some amazingly hilarious actors and also got to feel what it was like to work on a multi-cam show! Prior to filming, I had only worked on single-cam shows so while it was a new experience, I enjoyed it so much.
How was it working on The Weeknd’s music video for Die For You?
The Weeknd is one of my favourite artists so when I found out I was going to be in his music video, I flipped out. The entire role came very unexpectedly. I found out that Anais and I got the role after school one day and my parents picked us up early. They told us that we had booked a role in a music video and we had to drive to LA immediately to film. We were so confused because we didn’t ever recall even having auditioned for it! My dad got a call from a random number saying that they wanted Anais and I in the video. But when we arrived there and realised that this was all real and we were really going to be in The Weeknd’s music video, I was beyond excited.
Can you tell us about some of the other projects you’ve been part of over the years, which have included Unleashed, The Blacklist, Madam Secretary and Blood Ties?
All of the roles I have done throughout my career hold such a special place in my heart. Each acting opportunity reveals something new about humanity to me and allows me to get to know more people, by actually becoming that person. Acting is such an exciting and fulfilling job and I am so grateful that I have found my passion at a young age, and I’m able to live my dreams as well!
How did you get into acting and is it something you always wanted to do?
I got into acting — actually the entertainment industry in general — by accident. My sister and I were scouted in the park when we were three years old by a photographer and we ended up doing a photoshoot with a high-end children’s fashion brand. From there, I realised I loved being in front of the camera. Two years later, we were signed with our modelling agency when they sent us out on our very first movie audition, just to try it out. We ended up booking that role which was Janie in the movie Blood Ties. From my experience filming Blood Ties, even at five years old, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I have always said that being on set is my happy place. From the lights and camera to a new script waiting for me in my trailer, I love it all. I am endlessly grateful that I have such supportive parents that believe in this passion of mine and have supported me in every way to get there.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch and what do you enjoy doing away from acting?
While being an actor, I actually don’t watch a lot of television and movies! I have always been more of a reader. But my staple show at the moment is probably The Kardashians. I personally find it very entertaining and watch it with my sister non-stop. Away from acting, as mentioned before, I love reading. I dream of having a library in my house so I can have an endless supply of books. My favourite genres are psychological thrillers and contemporary romance. I also love to bake, cook, and do yoga!
You have worked with your sister Anais on a number of projects, how is it having both of you in the same industry and what do you enjoy most about working together?
What I enjoy the most about working with my sister is always having my best friend with me. Imagine doing your favourite activity in the world with your all-time best friend; that’s what it’s like working together. We are always cracking jokes in between scenes or helping each other with our lines. Anais is definitely my biggest supporter. She even once stayed up with me until such a late hour to break down every line for a chemistry read I had the next day. I love working with her and I hope we can do more projects together in the future!
What are you hoping the rest of the year brings for your career?
What I’m hoping the rest of the year brings for my career is just another way to tell stories. This summer, Anais and I plan to write a script together so I hope by the end of the year that can be running! My lifelong dream is to be able to tell the stories of those who are unheard. Whether it’s through writing the script or acting in it, I want to give a voice and spread a message through all of the work I do.
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