Earlier this year, with the Series 5 release of Disney’s Raven’s Home, Mykal-Michelle Harris joined the cast as new regular character Alice Baxter, and in September, Raven-Symoné and the cast announced the show will return for a Series 6. In the Disney+ reboot of Cheaper by the Dozen, Mykal-Michelle played Luna alongside a cast including her on-screen parents Gabrielle Union (as Zoey Baker) and Zach Braff (as Paul Baker), and from 2019, she had a series regular role as Santamonica Johnson in Mixed-ish. Amongst Mykal-Michelle’s other projects, she voices London in the animated screen adaptation of Ada Twist, Scientist, played Madeline in The Affair and Young Bonnie in Big Little Lies. Mykal-Michelle is one of the hosts of The Kids Tonight Show, which is based on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and she, alongside her fellow hosts Recker Eans, Olivia Perez and Dylan Gilmer/Young Dylan, has been nominated for Outstanding Host at the first-ever Children’s & Family Emmys. Having worked on the Mariah Carey music video All I Want For Christmas Is You (Make My Wish Come True Edition), Mykal-Michelle was asked to present an award to Mariah at the Variety Power of Women Event in Los Angeles. Recently, we caught up with Mykal-Michelle about joining Raven’s Home as Alice Baxter, playing Luna in the Disney+ reboot of Cheaper by the Dozen, filming as Santamonica Johnson in Mixed-ish and being a host of The Kids Tonight Show.
In the popular Disney series Raven’s Home, you play the series regular role of Alice Baxter, what is she like to play and how is it on set of the series?
Alice is amazing to play. She is smart, kind and a family “fav!” 😀. Everyone in the family comes to her if they need plans to create schemes and devious plans. She is also the youngest in the family (which is the same as I am at home) so everyone gives her just a “little extra” love! Being on set with Auntie Rae (Raven-Symoné) is so, so, so awesome! She is so special to me. She teaches me so much on a regular basis.
How much did you know about the show before booking your role and how was it joining the cast in Series 5 earlier this year?
Ohhhhhhh, I knew the most I could. I watched the entire show prior to even knowing I had the role. I was binging Raven’s Home during the pandemic. When my mom told me I had the audition, I was soooooooooooo excited. It was almost a dream come true. THEN, when I was blessed to BOOK the role……. mind blown!
I didn’t know how I would be received because it was already a tight group. But when I arrived, everyone was very welcoming. This team is one of my very favourite teams to date.
Is there anything you are enjoying most about working on Raven’s Home?
Yes, the people! It’s hard to do a great job when you don’t enjoy the people. My Raven’s Home family isn’t just a family on set. We spend time together off set too. It’s a real family.
You play Luna in the Disney+ reboot of Cheaper by the Dozen, what was the film like to be part of and how was it seeing the completed film for the first time?
Playing Luna and having an entire family of kids was amazing. Before that film, I usually was on set with mainly adults. It was a little chaotic at times (I must admit) but it was all worth it.
Can you tell us about your character Luna and how was it filming with the rest of your on-screen family?
Well, Luna and her twin Luca were super special. They had a great bond with each other. And, again, he wasn’t just my on-screen brother, Leo Perry and I are great friends since that movie. Daddy Zach (Braff) and Mommy Gab (Union) were great to work with as well. I really have been blessed to work with great opportunities.
What was it like voicing the role of London in the animated screen adaptation of Ada Twist, Scientist and do you have a favourite aspect of voice work?
Soooo, animation is a whole other thing. LOL. I enjoy animation a whole bunch but I feel like it’s a little more work (at least for me). You have to act with your whole body but yet only your voice is “read!”. I’m tired even explaining it. LOL. But London is the best! She, too, is kind and together they are very, very smart.
My favourite aspect of voiceover is watching it all come together in the end. It’s amazing to hear your voice come out of an animated character.
In 2019, you started your series regular role of Santamonica Johnson in Mixed-ish, what was she like to play and how was it developing the character throughout both series?
Santi was, is an awesome young lady. She was ALSO the youngest and ALWAYS got just a little extra attention because she was ALWAYS into something. LOL. She was sassy, kind and loved fashion like Aunt DeeDee (Christina Anthony). What I liked about that show is that it “taught” while it was also very, very funny. I was sad to see Santi go!
Do you have any favourite memories from your time filming for Mixed-ish and how was it seeing the fan response to the show?
Well, that was my very first series regular role so it was an entire learning curve. I also was only six going on seven years old so I was also learning a lot about just being a kid. It will be an experience I remember forever because it was my first. I also fell even more in love with my craft because I was learning so much. Mixed-ish is where I learned I was a multi-hyphenate. I am an actress, and a director and an executive producer. Now I am actively exploring all of those avenues of the business. Keep watching……
What do you remember from your time filming as Madeline in The Affair and Young Bonnie in Big Little Lies?
I would say I remember the people. I remember how they made me feel. All of the people on both productions made me feel very special. BUT…… the thing I remember about Bonnie specifically is that because my “mom” on the show was a mean mom, the first take of a specific scene was so scary to me that I cried in real life. LOL. It took me a little while to warm back up because I had never experienced that kind of parenting. Again, something I will always remember.
You are one of the hosts of The Kids Tonight Show – which is based on the long-running late-night talk show The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, how are you finding the experience working as a host and what is the show like to be part of?
Well, the amazing part of this show is we are now EMMY-NOMINATED. We are so very excited to be an Emmy-nominated team. We had an entire great time on the show and I guess it showed. LOL. Mr. Jimmy (that we affectionately call Mr. Jim Jim loool) was an entire great time. Working with him was like working with our best friend. The four hosts really got along very well. The guests we interviewed were amazing to work with as well. While I truly loved all of the guests, my starstruck moment was with Mr. Lester Holt. Woooooooooooo, I couldn’t even talk when he arrived.
At the first-ever Children’s & Family Emmys, you’ve been nominated for Outstanding Host alongside your fellow co-hosts Recker Eans, Olivia Perez and Dylan Gilmer/Young Dylan, what was it like hearing the news?
It was one of the most amazing moments of my career so far. I mean, when my mom found out, she screamed and we were rehearsing on Raven’s Home. Auntie Rae said “what, what?”. Auntie Rae read the email that my mom showed her and congratulated me. I was still in the dark LOL. Auntie Rae announced it to the entire production and they all congratulated and that was how I found out. It was crazy!!! I am honoured that someone sees our talent and says “great job!”. We are honoured.
You’ve been part of Mariah Carey’s music video for All I Want For Christmas Is You (Make My Wish Come True Edition) and you presented her with an award at the Variety Power of Women Event in Los Angeles, can you tell us about these?
I mean, what is there to say about my Auntie Riah? She’s “Mariah Carey!” I enjoy being in her company and, again, watching and learning! She deserves all the awards she ever receives. I am simply proud that she asked me to present the Variety Award. It was special in every single way.
Where does your love of acting and hosting come from and how did you get started in the industry?
Well, as I stated in a previous question, I am a multi-hyphenate so I love many lanes in this business. For me, this love started before I even knew it was a thing. I was three and I went viral because of a video that my mom posted on Facebook. After a few weeks of the video, we were a signed talent out of California and then it became a passion that I may not have known I had if it wasn’t for the series of fortunate events! 😀
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Great questions. As an actress, we watch many, many films and shows in order to research techniques or characters, directing styles and things like that. So, I’ve seen quite a few.
Favourite films include: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (1 & 2), I am just starting the Harry Potter movies and so far I love them, I have been spending a lot of time watching 90s sitcoms. I love The Cosby Show, A Different World, Friends and Living Single.
Do you have any upcoming career plans that you can tell us about and what are you hoping the next year brings for you?
Yes, I have some very specific plans for my immediate future. I just signed a “First Look” deal with Disney Studios and am working hard to try to get my own content out there for you all to see. I am doing my best to explore different parts of this business and have my hands in many different parts even at 10 years old. I want other young people to know that it’s not impossible to have your voice heard. If you work hard, be excellent in your craft and have faith, it can and will happen. I’m not special, I’m just blessed.
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