From the small screen to the Broadway stage, we can’t get enough of teen actress Maya Jade Frank.
The 16-year-old has performed in Broadway’s Mary Poppins, Les Misérables, and EVITA, and made audiences laugh as Belissa in Disney Channel’s sitcom Bizaardvark.
When she’s not acting, this talented teen is working hard to spread positivity on and off social media, and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Everly Mag talked to Maya Jade Frank all about Broadway, Bizaardvark, her dream co-stars, her passion for acting, and more!
Everly Mag: How did you get your start in acting?
Maya: When I was six [years old], I was waiting with my sister Tehya at one of her auditions and she asked the producers if they could see her little sister. I went in and sang the only song I knew, Bare Necessities, and they ended up writing in a part for me. That was my first big show – Hurricane: The New Musical off-Broadway. It was a great show!
I remember after our first performance there were so many people laughing, crying, and applauding. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to perform. I loved making other people feel something; that’s what made me happy. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my sister, I would never have started performing. Thanks, big sis!
Everly Mag: What was it like performing on Broadway?
Maya: Being on Broadway is magical. The sets are so big that they tower over you and the people are so talented and inspiring. I performed in the original cast of EVITA [revival] on Broadway alongside Ricky Martin, [and] as Jane Banks in Mary Poppins.
I think the most amazing part of performing onstage is that it’s live. Every performance is different and unique! That’s what makes it memorable.
Everly Mag: What was the biggest challenge you faced performing on Broadway?
Maya: I think my biggest challenge was in Mary Poppins. I had to keep my energy up while remembering lines, music, and choreography. Also, getting a three-hour workout running up and down the staircase of the Banks’ home was exhausting! But, I would do it all over again.
Everly Mag: What’s it like playing Belissa on Disney Channel’s Bizzardvark? What’s the best part of being on set?
Maya: Playing Belissa is so much fun. She is a bit quirkier than me, especially in her wardrobe choices! I think one similarity we share is that when we set our minds on something, we go for it. We Carpe Diem! The best part of being on set is being surrounded by so many fun and talented people.
Everly Mag: Who inspires you?
Maya: Emma Watson is one of my favorite actors because she was Hermione Granger (!) [and] she is an amazing actress [who] always stands up for what she believes in. She helps to promote education for girls in Zambia and Bangladesh, and is a UN Ambassador for the HeForShe campaign, [which] she started to help raise awareness for gender equality.
Tina Fey is another one of my role models. She is a comedian, writer, and [is] completely hilarious. In all of her films, she maintains a sense of who she is and uses that ability to encourage audiences all around the world to be who they are and follow their own path in life. She also wrote the screenplay of Mean Girls. Tina is the definition of FETCH!
But, my sister Tehya would be my most significant role model. Every day, she shows me how to be brave. Life throws curveballs, and she has shown me how to stay strong, kind, and true. Just from watching her live life with grace, which totally makes me feel somewhat inadequate (haha), I have learned to be confident and strong.
Everly Mag: What are the challenges you face as an actress? Do you ever get nervous?
Maya: I think the most challenging part of acting is to stay real and present and not to lose sight of who you are when [you’re] performing a character. Honestly, I don’t usually get nervous. I’d say it’s more [like] excitement! Once I step onto the stage or set and do what I love, all the butterflies fly away.
Everly Mag: What’s your personality like? What do you like to do when you’re not acting?
Maya: I would say I’m always the one to make my family and friends laugh or smile. When I see someone upset, for some reason I feel like it is my job to lift their spirits.
When I am not acting, I’m either at school, with friends and family, and of course [with] my dog Thurman. I love going to the movies, my favorite part [is] the trailers! You can also find me eating truffle fries at some of my favorite places [to get] food by the beach.
Everly Mag: Describe social media in 3 words.
Maya: Scary, helpful, inspiring.
Everly Mag: What are the best and worst things about social media? How can teens make social media a more positive place?
Maya: Social media is a great outlet for people to grow their businesses [and] have more exposure to promote themselves. Even though social media has many attributes that are great, it can also be a very scary place full of cyberbullying, inappropriate posting, commenting, and more.
I think in order to make social media a more positive space, teens must carefully look over what they post, and completely understand that it will be out there in the universe forever.
#StayKind #Comment Positive
Everly Mag: What are your career goals going forward?
Maya: In my acting career, I hope to be an EGOT Winner. That’s when you win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. I hope that the films and television programs that I am part of will promote positive messages to the audience.
Everly Mag: Who do you hope to work with in the future?
Maya: There are so many wonderful and inspiring actors, directors, and writers that I admire. I just hope I get to work with many or some of them in the future. I do think it would be amazing to work with Mindy Kaling, Leslie Mann (my grandma’s life would be complete), Judd Apatow, Julian Jarrold, Steven Spielberg, and the love of my life Chris Pine.
Everly Mag: Tell us about some of your favorite things!
Maya: Favorite book is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I hate to be cliché, but it would take over 3 pages to list my favorite movies! I watch so much TV. I love 30 Rock. My favorite color to wear is black or white. My favorite color just because is turquoise and baby pink. Favorite food is sushi and ice cream – Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. Favorite social media app is Instagram. Favorite game is Home Design. Favorite school subject is History.
Everly Mag: Finally, is there anything else you want our readers to know?
Maya: My sister Tehya and I started a website where we share our favorite tips and give a sneak peek into our lives and our rad friends. We’ve started a do-good business called 13 Wishes by @TheYaSisters that brings a voice to causes that need to be heard.
If you liked this interview, you may also like:
- Real Teens Talk: Role Models
- Interview: This Is Us Actress Isabel Oliver Marcus
- Interview: Actress Emily Skinner
- Interview: We Are Savvy’s Spencer Barbosa
Feature Image Credit: Maya Jade Frank