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Actress Emilia McCarthy of ‘Zombies’ talks with LI kids

Actress Emilia McCarthy with Kidsday reporters, from left,

Actress Emilia McCarthy with Kidsday reporters, from left, Matthew Franklin, Aidan Klocek, Julianna Costelli and Isabella Fuertes in Manhattan, Nov. 10, 2017. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We met singer, actress and dancer Emilia McCarthy, who stars as Lacey in the new Disney Channel film “Zombies,” when she was in Manhattan recently. You know her from Netflix original series “Hemlock Grove” and from the Nickelodeon TV show “Max and Shred” — she stars as Abby Ackerman.

Are you excited about “Zombies” coming out?

I am excited. I am just excited to see it — we put so much work into it, all the singing and dancing. I can’t wait to see it all come together.

What has been your favorite role so far?

I have to say “Zombies.” It was the first time that I got to sing. I am used to singing in my shower, and this movie gave me the opportunity to sing in front of so many people. It gave me a chance to break out of my comfort zone and explore another side of me. In this musical I got to sing, dance and act.

What is your favorite type of dance?

I really like combination of hip-hop and jazz. It is a popular style right now. This is the first Disney movie that incorporates break dancing, hip-hop and stuff like that. It is really cool for Disney to do this.

What inspired you to be an actress?

I was around your age and I woke up one morning and thought, I want to be an actress. I told my mom and dad that this was my plan for my life, and I asked them to please help me. The got me an agent, and that agent got me auditions. The very first audition that I went to, I got the role, and it filmed in Arizona and Mexico for six weeks. It was a crazy experience. The actual experience of doing it inspired me to keep doing it.

Did it take a long time to get into makeup?

I am very grateful I was not a zombie. All the zombies had to come on set about two hours before shooting to get into makeup. They had to spray on this white stuff so that they looked dead, like zombies. They had to wear green wigs. All my character had to wear was a ponytail, and she wore the same outfit every day because she was obsessed with cheerleading. Every outfit was a cheerleading outfit. It was super easy for me.

Did you have strong motivation for acting?

Because I actually had the chance to do it, my motivation was to continue doing it. I wanted to continue having that experience.

Who is your role model?

Acting-wise, it is Michelle Williams. She is like a chameleon. In each role she is like a completely different person. That is kind of like a good role model for me as an actor. You want to become all these different characters.

Have you ever missed your family because you had to travel for acting?

No, because my family always comes with me. They don’t give me a chance to miss them!

If you weren’t an actress, what would you want to be?

I really like psychology. I am in school right now and I am taking psychology as my minor, and I think acting is kind of similar because it is the study toward human behavior.

Have you made any close friends while acting?

I have made a lot of close friends. It is fun when you film a movie — you kind of become a family because you are seeing each other every day. We are all working toward the same goal.

What is the best advice you have received?

It is one that I use when I am on auditions. It is: Expect the worst and hope for the best. With auditions it really works for me because I am always kind of expecting the worst. That helps me because then things don’t seem as bad as I expected.

Did you ever audition for something and not get the part?

Yes. It happened a lot. We all audition every day of the week, and maybe you will get one or maybe nothing at all. There are hundreds of auditions that you go to, and you can only get so many. There is a lot of rejection.

How do you like to calm yourself down before a performance?

I like to do some breathing exercises if I am really nervous.

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