Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge speaks to rising star Mikaela Binns-Rorke about her acting and modelling career.
Q: When did the modelling journey begin for you?
A: LOL. I have not known much different!
I started out doing a load of TV commercials when I was very young – I think my first audition was when I was 4 years old, I got it… and I think it all progressed from that.
Q: Have you always felt comfortable in front of the camera or did it take getting used to?
A: Always have… it’s a second home to me.
My path is not so much modelling as it is acting. I have been fortunate enough to shoot like crazy but I view it as an additional skill, just like dance and singing training. The main purpose was to have fun and create and learn not to take myself too seriously all the time. When Instagram came along it was a perfect fit as it allowed me to share and take inspo from all the others out there too.
Q: You get to work with a number of fantastic photographers. What do you look for in the photographers you collaborate with? Is it important to connect with them on some level?
A: I have been… but I am still very fussy. I’ve aligned with a few shooters I really wanted to work with and there is a whole list of others I would kill to work with if they would have me!
It used to be just about the lighting or making me look good… now I am taking inspo from photographers like Bryant (@bryant) who know what they are doing but have such a natural flow to their story. Sometimes I feel like putting in effort to be a certain version of me and others I just don’t want to… so they all have their place.
Q: What has been your favourite photo shoot experience so far?
A: It’s super hard to choose what my favourite shoot so far has been… I’ve done too many to remember exactly! One shoot that has been super memorable was definitely one from ages ago with Marius Luppino. I had my hair and makeup done to look like an ice queen and as the makeup artist was fixing my hair for the shot, I just started crying because I am super sensitive… it was hurting and it ended up working so well for that shot.
Q: How do you chill away from modelling and being on camera?
A: In my break away from work I like to chill out and just watch some Netflix or YouTube… going out with friends and having me time a lot ’cause I need that!!
Q: You had a terrific lead role in Lyndsay Sarah’s short film, ‘Dirt‘. How did you find that experience and getting to flex your acting muscles?
A: I was VERY lucky with that. Lyndsay is beyond talented and the crew she pulled together to make Dirt a reality were all incredible. The role was not your average 14 year old – that’s for sure. I don’t see me at all in that character, which is great. I usually look back at work and there are elements of me I spot but I’m pleased with Penny and she is now part of me. Watch out!
Q: You got to work with a talented cast and crew, including a special effects and stunts team. I imagine it was a big learning opportunity for you. What were your biggest takeaways from ‘Dirt’?
A: I froze my ass off in the early hours of the morning in the woods with a t-shirt and shorts while everyone else was rugged up! It was incredible because all those people on set were so giving up their time, so pressed for time and had to work so quickly. Their roles required just as much ‘suck-it-up’ as mine did just in different ways. I loved the fight training… the physicality of moving like a totally different person, walking like someone else, subtle movements that are big on screen… all so much fun.
Q: There is some wonderful fan art on your Instagram page. How did you interact with – and cope with – the big social media following you have built?
A: I LOVE my supporters! To think that people care enough about me and what I am doing is amazing.
I try to respond to all my comments myself. I think if someone takes the time out of their day to give me their thoughts the least I can do it acknowledge them!
I avoid the DM’s now (which is sad because there are some lovely messages I know I am missing out on). The lack of filter on some people out there was an insight. I used to have to deal with stuff no one wants to see, threats, marriage proposals, requests for whatever things did it for someone and general hate for the sake of it… not great for anyone to have to look at… so now I just don’t.
They can talk to me in public on the page and if I connect, then I connect.
Q: What are your hopes and ambitions for the future? Do you want to be involved in more film projects?
A: That is 100% the goal. Television is the new film too. I just want to work. To take on characters and keep doing it.
Title image by Marius Luppino