• Kyliric Masella plays lead role, Fuzzy Mac in the new teen drama series, Grace Beside Me (NITV)Source: NITV
13-year-old Kyliric Masella speaks about her role as Fuzzy in new teen drama Grace Beside Me.
Laura Morelli

6 Feb 2018 - 2:35 PM  UPDATED 9 Feb 2018 - 9:18 AM

Kyliric has been dancing, singing and and performing since the age of three. However, the new television star would never have guessed that acting would end up being her primary work. 

Last year, Kyliric landed the role of Fuzzy Mac in upcoming television series 'Grace Beside Me'. Originally a character from Sue McPherson's acclaimed teen novel by the same name, Kyliric beat out approximately 30 other girls for the main role. Without any prior acting training, Kyliric says she was shocked to find out that her audition made such an impact. 

"I never tried it [acting] and my Mum randomly told me to try out for a South Sea Islander and Indigenous girl, so I thought, 'why not'?"

Not long after her first audition the Dharumbal and Tongan girl, who also has German and South Sea Islander heritage, received three call-backs and was later given the main role. 

"It was surreal, I was shocked and nervous especially because I hadn’t tried acting before."

Kyliric says that Tessa Rose, a seasoned actor who plays Fuzzy's Nan, has been a great mentor for her.  

"I'm so grateful that people take the time to help me and really guide me down a good path," Kyliric says. 

"I hope I can one day be that positive influence in a young woman's life, be it from them seeing me on screens or with any help I can give to people."  

However, Kyliric says that playing a role isn't all about reading lines and mimicking gestures. She says that she's found that a good performance requires getting into the mind frame of a new person. And lucky for her, Kyliric says that Fuzzy is a fun personality to take on.

"I love her connection to family, ancestors and how she's so bright and happy."

Getting into the mind of her character was an essential task for Kyliric, who in fact, did not read Sue McPherson's novel, which the series is based on. 

"I wanted to read it, but I didn’t want it to change my perspective of the kids because it’s [the series] a kids version. This book is more targeted for older viewers. so I wanted to keep it fresh, new and with young vibes."

It's not every day that a 13-year-old gets to travel across Australia and work in the majestic Scenic Rim region of South-East Queensland. She says filming in Beaudesert was, "pretty crazy" and being from Sydney, the historic and rural town of Beaudesert was "a big change". 

Balancing high school and a full time acting role can be a challenge, but Kyliric said it was surprisingly easy.

"We had tutors who helped us out quite a bit whilst filming in Beaudesert, which was good because we've had exams. But everything [taking on the acting work] has been so worth it and I’m even confident that I did great [in exams]."

If she’s not filming on set or studying hard at school, you can find Kyliric dancing at Brent Street Studios in Sydney's Entertainment theatre. Kyliric is passionate about musical theatre and loves learning new theatre songs. 

"When this series comes out, it won't just teach Aboriginal kids about culture and educate them about the past, it will also teach the rest of Australia, and hopefully help them learn about the oldest living culture in the world and respect for First Nation peoples."

Growing up, Kyliric says didn't know much about her Aboriginal culture and thinks programs such as Grace Beside Me are a really important learning resource to teach youth about culture.

"When this series comes out, it won't just teach Aboriginal kids about culture and educate them about the past, it will also teach the rest of Australia, and hopefully help them learn about the oldest living culture in the world and respect for First Nation peoples," she told NITV. 

"I hope they realise the importance of Aboriginal culture and how strong it is. To know the history of Australia’s black past is a must for our generation so we can teach it to the next one."

Kyliric also sees the series as being important for migrant families and people of diverse cultures.

"It's allowing children of colour and multicultural families to turn on the TV and see someone they can relate to," she explained. 

"When I was younger I loved watching performers on TV so I was able to look up to Jessica Mauboy and I feel so lucky to have an Indigenous role model because years ago it wasn't always that easy to see people of colour on TV."

Grace Beside Me is a coming of age story with an unusual spooky twist. As Fuzzy Mac sees spirits, Kyliric says that some spooky stuff kept happening on set.

"I was living in a house with TJ [Tjiirdm McGuire who plays Fuzzy's best friend Yar] and we both aren’t into the spirit or ghost thing, but a few crazy things happened, things would happen during the night like noises and weird things, and we ended up having a smoking ceremony in the house to rid the bad energy," she said.

"Once that happened it felt a lot brighter. We ended up getting a lot more sleep." 

Once filming finished, Kyliric says it was difficult to say goodbye to the friends she'd made on set. Particularly her on-screen best friends played by Tjiirdm McGuire and Mairehau Grace.

"The three of us were so close and it was pretty hard to say goodbye. When we went home we weren’t seeing each other at all. Mai lives in NZ and TJ lives in Perth, so we have to have a reunion."



Grace Beside Me airs from Friday, 16 February at 7.30pm on NITV (Ch. 34). #GraceBesideMe

Episodes of Grace Beside Me will be available from Friday, 16 February on SBS On Demand via https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/grace-beside-me

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