Lounge Talk: Mia Healey
Getting stranded on a deserted island is a familiar plotline, but when the only survivors happen to be eight teenage girls unaware they are part of a social experiment, things become… surprisingly relatable. Back for a long-awaited second season, Mia Healey returns as Shelby Goodkind in Amazon Prime’s hit television series The Wilds. Mia’s charm and talent for connecting with her character quickly made her a fan favorite in a series full of unexpected twists. So, amidst the survival, secrets, and self-discovery, here’s more on Mia and what it takes to bring Shelby Goodkind to life.
2018 was a big year as you graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art and landed the role of Shelby Goodkind. In what ways did your performing arts background help shape you for what to expect from playing Shelby in The Wilds? What things were a surprise?
I think the biggest takeaway from studying performing arts was how working on the craft dissolved my ego. While I was a student at NIDA, I found myself able to truly see outside of myself and into a character’s mental and emotional state. It brought so much truth into my life and forced me to confront corners of my mind that I had been hiding in.
Talk me through what you were feeling when you first learned you got the role of Shelby.
I remember experiencing this overwhelming feeling of joy. I was completely ecstatic and excited. That’s a feeling that I now understand actors chase. It was wonderful. Most of all, I felt so grateful to be given an opportunity to do what I love.
Through the two seasons of The Wilds, we see Shelby’s optimistic and cheerful personality start to falter as the audience learns more about her past and her insecurities. What was it like preparing to tackle this complex character and watching her progression from Season 1 to Season 2?
Trying to match Shelby’s desperate and anxious energy on the day, physically, was how I sometimes was able to connect with her. I would sometimes crawl into a ball or stare into the distance and let my mind race like hers, so that I could feel the pain she was in. Once I was able to tap into that, I would smack a smile on my face. That’s how I can find her in certain scenes. I realized how important it was for me at the end of the day to reconnect with Mia by putting my personal jewelry back on with intention or physically shaking her energy out of me. It’s an important balance to create because even though your mind may know you’re not going through the same things as your character sometimes it’s hard for your body to forget.
The audience really got to see your acting skills shine through the many action-packed, emotionally charged, and mysterious scenes. What scene did you have the most fun/found most difficult to shoot?
The most fun scenes were definitely the ones where Toni and Shelby were joyful together. That’s an emotion that Erana and I share often so it felt natural and the furthest thing from work. And the toughest would have to be the breakup between Shelby and Toni when Toni can’t even look at her. It was heart breaking.
Season 2 ends with a pretty big cliffhanger. If there is another season on the way, what do you hope to see next for Shelby in her relationship with Toni and with the entry of the boys?
Fingers crossed there’s a third season! I would love to see how Shelby tries to control her new environment to keep herself feeling safe whilst also dealing with men. It’s a completely new world for her and everyone else that’s trapped, so it would be a whirl wind for sure. I would love to see how Shelby and Toni evolve together and if they can work things out. Here’s hoping!
“I found myself able to truly see outside of myself and into a character’s mental and emotional state. It brought so much truth into my life and forced me to confront corners of my mind that I had been hiding in.”
Filming in open nature isn’t always the easiest. Did you encounter any challenges constantly filming outdoors?
I really enjoyed it for the most part! Although when we were able to film on a regular set it felt very classy haha!
Do you have any quotes you live by?
My dad always says “The most important words you will ever say are the words you say to yourself, about yourself, when you’re by yourself” and I try to live by that.
If you could describe your fashion style in three words, what three would you use?
Energetic, friendly and fun.
You have a beautiful singing voice! What is your favorite song to sing when no one is listening?
Oh gosh haha thank you! It would have to be defying gravity from Wicked. Shamelessly! That and Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys knight & The Pips.
Who would you want to be with you if you were stranded on an island?
My sister without a doubt. We’d be in a lot of trouble but we would laugh.
Which cast member of The Wilds would survive the longest in the wild?
Probably Erana. She’s very determined.
After a long day of filming, what is the first thing you do when you go home?
After I feel back to “normal,” I go to Erana’s room, have a glass of wine and debrief.
What is a memory from childhood that has shaped who you are today?
I used to be so determined to remember everything. There was one time in the country where I was lying on the grass at night and I had my legs in the air. I was wearing blue gum boots and all I could see were those boots and the thousands of stars. I told myself “I will not forget this moment” and I haven’t. I always think about it. It’s a memory that reminds me to stay as present as possible and even though I now realize I won’t be able to remember EVERYTHING, I still try to be grateful for the good and hold onto memories where I was present and happy.