Gabrielle Reilly: When you were six years old, what did you want to be when you grew up, or when did you know what you wanted to do? Did your life just evolve or did you always have a vision?
Miranda Tapsell: I've loved performing ever since I was a young girl growing up in Kakadu National Park. Not only was I teased for being short, I was also teased for being Aboriginal. Being in school plays and concerts meant that people see beyond that and I was able to show people what I was capable of.
I always wanted to be an actor, and never in my youth did I imagine being something else. It was a matter of giving this career my best shot, and I would take on whatever came of it.
Gabrielle Reilly: Do you have a plan, vision or idea of what you want for your future in 5, 10 or 30 years’ time?
Miranda Tapsell: My dreams for the future would be to produce and write my own work like the actors I admire; Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig and Amy Schumer. Their wit and intelligence comes across in their writing and they have shaped their own careers because of it.
Gabrielle Reilly: Who has most influenced your life, good or bad, and why?
Miranda Tapsell: My parents are the most influential people in my life. They told me I could be anything I wanted to be; as long as I gave 100% commitment to it. Not only that, because my Mum worked at both the primary and high schools I went to, I never got away with much.
Gabrielle Reilly: What is your philosophy on health, diet and fitness and how does that impact your week?
Miranda Tapsell: I understand there is the expectation in my industry to look toned and fit, but what motivates me to exercise is how I'm going to feel after it. Emphasis on the word “after!” The actual work out itself sucks, but I can become quite an anxious person if I don't do it so running or Pilates helps me release some of that pent up adrenaline, especially after being on stage or on set.
Gabrielle Reilly: Do you ever question your own ability and if so, how do you gather your confidence to do what you need to do?
Miranda Tapsell: I find if I'm well prepared for the next day, especially when it comes to learning lines and detailing a character; I'm much more confident in my performance. Ultimately I remind myself how much I wanted this career as a girl, how I've worked hard to get there and that I can't back down now.
Gabrielle Reilly: Everybody is rejected sometimes in life. How do you process rejection?
Miranda Tapsell: I know that there are so many factors that go into casting, things that we have no control over. So all I do is go into the room and give the best performance I could possibly give, and hopefully they think I'm right for the part.
Gabrielle Reilly: How do you emotionally process it when people criticize you? Do you ever address your critics or what strategy do you use with a critic?
Miranda Tapsell: I let criticism slide off me like water off a ducks back, especially when I read something and it's not at all constructive. Unless there's something I can actually do with that information, I don't let it affect me much. It can be hard sometimes.
Gabrielle Reilly: What do you do to relax?
Miranda Tapsell: I read books and watch TV shows.
Gabrielle Reilly: What do you read or watch to keep up with your industry or the world?
Miranda Tapsell: I love Parks and Recreation and I really enjoyed Amy Poehler's book ‘Yes Please’. I'm halfway through Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. She has some wonderful insight on gender equality and says it in such a witty and inclusive way.
Gabrielle Reilly: What are you currently working on?
Miranda Tapsell: I am currently going into season 3 of the television show 'Love Child.’
Gabrielle Reilly: On a much lighter and funny note, when I lived in Alice Springs the word “budju” (which is actually an aboriginal word which means vagina) was the fun term good friends greeted each other with, or a way of calling someone good looking. Was “budju” used as a term of endearment in Darwin also? J As I often say “only in the Territory.” I miss it!
Miranda Tapsell: Yes, “budju” is now considered a term of endearment like "hottie". Well, at least that's what it means to me when I call my Darwin friends that, and that's how they interpret it. It's amazing how language evolves. I'm careful not to say it in front of my elders though! I also refer to my friends as "cudjerie" (woman) and "muligah" (man).
Gabrielle Reilly: Is there anything that you would like our American readers to know that you don’t think they understand about your culture, religion, country or the world?
Miranda Tapsell: What I really loved sharing with the Americans I've met is how different the layout of Australia is to the US. Some of them assume that because I'm from the North of Australia, that it's going to be really cold. But I've told them the North in Australia is warmer weather like New Orleans and Miami, and it gets colder the more you travel south; we're upside down from their perspective, and it was amazing to see their reactions when I told them that. Obviously I'm a bit more knowledgeable in the geography of my own country. If an American asked me if I knew where their hometown was, I'd be lost too.