Ella Mika is taking over screens nationwide next month as she appears in the upcoming TBS show Chad. The new show stars Nasim Pedrad as the title character. And Ella stars as Niki, Chad’s younger, popular sister, that often bickers with her dorky brother at school and in family settings. The show premieres April 6. Ella has also appeared in movies such as Birds of Prey, where she played the role of young Helena. Ella was born in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan, where her father was a prominent actor. So it was only a matter of time before Ella would also catch the acting bug! Find out how Ella got her role on Chad and what it was like filming the show during the pandemic.
Young Entertainment Mag: Your show Chad is about to premiere! How excited are you?
Ella Mika: I’m ecstatic! I can’t wait for everyone to see how hilarious each person is in the show and enjoy it. I think after the way things have been the past year, this premiere was much needed to bring some joy and excitement.
YEM: In the show you play Niki, who is the popular, younger sister of Chad. What are some similarities and differences that you have to your character in real life?
Ella: Niki can be quite the brat sometimes which I would like to say is a big difference between us. She’s a fun person to be around and is constantly arguing with her brother Chad which is a lot like me and my younger sister. I personally think Niki’s style is quite cute and she’s quite opinionated which I would say is similar to me sometimes.
YEM: How did you find out that you would be a part of Chad and that you would be playing Niki? What was your reaction like?
Ella: I went through my longest audition process when auditioning for Chad as sometimes there were mic issue which they did not realize until after the auditions were over and other times, I think they really wanted to test out my improving skills. In the end, Nasim called my phone to break the news to me that I got the part. Which I think was so sweet of her. I was so grateful to get such a great role and opportunity. And I was just overwhelmed with joy, excitement, and hope.
YEM: What was it like to be able to work alongside Nasim Pedrad as your older brother? Were you able to learn anything from her during shooting? And what was it?
Ella: It was truly a joy to work with her and I learned a lot from her through the process. One of the main things I learned was to not practice your lines so much for them to be carved into your memory. Sometimes adding in some improv can really shape the scene into becoming even better than imagined. She also helped a lot to feel that you can always have fun when shooting and it doesn’t always have to be just lines. You can add your own uniqueness to your role.
YEM: Do you have any favorite memories from working on the show that you can share?
Ella: There were so many funny memories from working on the show, but I’ll just give one really memorable one. In one scene, Nasim and I had to sneak in the house through the door and pretend to get caught. Originally, we weren’t supposed to laugh. But during one take we just looked at each other and could not stop laughing. We tried to hide it at first. But then we really let it out and tried to incorporate it into the scene as we couldn’t stop laughing for a good five minutes. I wonder if they kept that in the scene or not but if they did, it would be quite funny.
YEM: What are some of your favorite things about shooting a comedy?
Ella: My favorite part about shooting a comedy would have to be the fact that we are able to improv quite a bit. Especially on the set of Chad, the directors and Nasim were really open to a good amount of improv which gave room for so much fun on the show. I think some of the best parts of the show were the parts where some of us added improv to the scene to make it even funnier.
YEM: We understand that filming of the show had to stop and start back up because of COVID. Can you tell us more about that whole process?
Ella: It was definitely an interesting process. We stopped filming for a good four and a half months until we got the news that filming would continue in August. We only had ten days to film. So I took a COVID test and flew out about a week before filming. And stayed in a hotel to quarantine for a few days. It was such an interesting process because we couldn’t go to set for fittings. So they had to drop off our clothes at the hotel to wear and take pictures to send to them.
Then they would come back and pick the clothes back up. I was a bit restless at first as we had to spend most of our time in the hotel room to quarantine when we weren’t on set. We had to get tested at least three times a week for the two and a half weeks that we were there to make sure everyone was staying safe. The filming process was quite different as we went into hair and makeup trailer with a mask on. But we only removed our masks for the quick makeup.
We had different zones labelled green, yellow, and red. The actors were part of the red zone as we were most dangerous since our masks would be removed during filming. Those part of the red zone got tested more often than the yellow and green zone as we would be putting people at risk most. After filming we got tested again and flew back home. Everyone was understanding and helpful throughout the process which made everything a lot easier.
YEM: A part of the show is about cultural identity and the struggles that come along with that. Why do you think that it is important that we see that played out on television?
Ella: I think it’s really important that people see the cultural identity and the struggles that come with it played out on television to help people relate and not feel alone. I think a lot of the times shows aren’t very inclusive, especially in the past. And often time cultural identity and the struggles that play along with it aren’t televised. This tends to make a lot of people feel left out and as though their struggles are not shared. By having this shown in the show I think that a lot of people will be able to relate. And find comfort in knowing they aren’t alone with their cultural struggles.
YEM: Diverse representation is extremely important in Hollywood. What is it like to be part of such a diverse and inclusive cast/show?
Ella: I’m really proud of how diverse and inclusive our cast/show is. It really makes me happy to look at all of us and see so many cultures and ethnicities that will help viewers, especially the younger ones, to feel represented and included in Hollywood. When I would watch movies or shows, I rarely ever saw actors that shared my ethnicity or struggles which made me feel left out. So I’m really happy that the same thing won’t be happening to others while watching the show.
YEM: When looking at future roles and projects, is diverse representation one of the first things you look for? What are some other important things for you when looking at new projects?
Ella: I always like to look for diverse representation when looking for future roles. I also like to be flexible and switch up different characters. And make sure that it comes with a bit of a challenge. One of the more important things I look for when looking at new projects though is for the project to have an interesting or enjoyable storyline to me as well as others. That way I can truly enjoy my time as I try out or film. Which makes me act a lot better than if I were to not find it so interesting.
YEM: What are some future projects you may have? And are there any specific types of roles you would like to play?
Ella: Hopefully Chad Season 2 will be a future project I may have. I’d love to play a role in a horror movie that brings thrill and a challenge. But I’m super open to all kinds of different roles.
YEM: If there was a film or television show you could have been a part of what role would you play and why?
Ella: I think filming in Johnny Depp’s Secret Window would’ve been so interesting and such a great experience. If I was older, I would probably like to take the role of his wife in the movie which I think was played so well.
Follow Ella on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ellamikaofficial/ and watch Chad on TBS beginning April 6!