Australia is about to fall under the spell of Kyliric Masella, the 13-year-old Sydney-based star of a ghostly new children’s TV series.
Masella had little acting experience when she tried out for the part of Fuzzy Mac — a teenager who sees the ghosts of her ancestors — in Grace Beside Me, a 13-part series that will premiere on NITV in February and air on ABC ME later in the year.
“I just thought ‘let’s just try and give it a go’,” Masella says.
“I ended up going there for a few rounds and ended up getting the role.”
Masella, accompanied by her parents, spent four months rehearsing and filming in Brisbane and the Queensland town of Beaudesert where she juggled school work with acting.
She says she washed her hair and fluffed it up every night to get Fuzzy’s trademark look.
“Fuzzy is just an ordinary teenager going through her teenage years, but she’s having a bit of trouble because her ancestors are interrupting her life and kind of getting her to do things she doesn’t want to do,” Masella says.
“She’s a pretty chilled girl who likes hanging out with her friends and loves Aboriginal culture.”
Both Masella and the series took centrestage in Sydney on November 14 when SBS and NITV previewed their headline shows for 2018.
The series is NITV’s first foray into drama. A second season is already in the pipeline.
Masella’s mother is from the Durumbal Aboriginal tribe in Queensland and also has South Sea Islander ancestry. Her father is Polynesian-Tongan.
A singer and dancer since she was about the age of four — she has performed for Nikelodeon and Saturday Disney — Masella says she’s fallen in love with acting.
“I found it very interesting to find ways to not be yourself,” she says.
“I was quite a shy girl so I was pushing my confidence. I love acting. It’s really helped boost my confidence.”
Masella’s mother Kristy says her daughter has always had a presence.
“Kiki is a big personality,” Mrs Masella says. “She’s very confident, got a bit of spunk about her.
“I guess when you put her in front of a camera she’s not shy. She’s got this lovely bubbly warm personality.
“She’s a great fit for an actor, but it’s a bit of a surprise — there’s no acting or performing talent in her parents! Having a daughter who is a talented performer is a nice surprise for our family.”
Meanwhile, NITV’s 2018 line-up includes a mix of entertainment, documentary, sport and news.
Wik vs QLD will commemorate the 21st anniversary of the landmark case, Black Divaz will follow the first Miss First Nation Indigenous drag queen pageant and Digging Deep locates the descendant of 11 Indigenous Light Horsemen.