Few and far between are fortunate enough to discover various passions, if any, in the earlier stages of life. However, rising Mixed-ish star Arica Himmel is a profound exception, as she transformed an innocent pastime of creating short films using family pets and household objects, into her eventual professional career path. Now, Arica has knowingly made her former-self abundantly proud, as she has successfully transfigured a world of home-made films and hopeful dreams to top-notch movie-sets and Hollywood Boulevard. In this exclusive interview, we chat with Arica to discuss all things Mixed-ish season two, challenges she has experienced throughout her career, and advice she has for aspiring actors.
Megan Morgante: Did anything/anyone, in particular, inspire you to pursue acting?
Arica Himmel: My mom. Even though she isn't an actor, I've always been surrounded by the entertainment industry. She really just inspired me to be confident and pursue my passion, and my passion was acting.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?
AH: I started by doing Off-Broadway. I remember the experience of my first show, and I just loved being on stage. Later on, I started auditioning for TV shows. I did a web series called Thanksgiving with Amy Sedaris and Chris Elliott and after that, I did a movie that went to Sundance, which was really cool. Actually, right after Sundance, that's when I got the audition for Mixed-ish. That's what led to this job, my first big thing, and it's been really exciting.
MM: Speaking of the show, the second season of Mixed-ish aired earlier this year…. Congratulations! Can you give a quick synopsis of the new season?
AH: This season on Mixed-ish, we see Rainbow and her family still navigating their life in the suburbs and being different. But, Rainbow has sort of gotten used to how the real world works and how society will view her. Now that the family is accustomed to how things are going to work while living in the suburbs, they are learning more and Rainbow gets to have fun with her friends and just explore who she is.
MM: What can we expect to see from your character, Rainbow Johnson, in season two, and do you feel like you have any similarities to her in any way?
AH: You can expect Rainbow to be more confident. In season one, she was definitely holding back, but now she's blossoming into who she is having fun with her friends. I would definitely say that I am similar to Rainbow in how caring she is. I'm very caring and love to give back.
MM: What would you say your experience has been like thus far working on the series and making this amazing show come to life.
AH: The experience has been amazing. The people on the show, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tika Sumpter, and Tracee Ellis Ross have all been there for me and it's just been such a warm experience. When you're stepping into the Black-ish universe, it's a big deal. We deal with topics that are not easy, but we kind of explain them in a fun way and meaningful way. I love being a part of this journey with them and the whole experience is just awesome.
MM: Besides the new season of Mixed-ish, do you have any newer upcoming projects for the new year that you're particularly excited about?
AH: So far, I do not have any projects yet. But, I am definitely looking forward to exploring new things. Maybe getting in on some action behind the camera, producing, writing, and just creating. I'm really excited about that.
MM: Do you have aspirations to dive into the directing or writing realms?
AH: Yes, I have love directing and writing. When I was eight-years-old, I had my own production company called Catified Films. I created a bunch of films around the house with my cats and toys, so I definitely have aspirations to become a filmmaker.
MM: Do you have any advice for younger actors who are looking to break into the industry?
AH: Yes! My advice for younger actors would be to always work hard and never give up. It took me a long time to book a job like Mixed-ish, so I would say to keep working hard, keep trying, and eventually, you're going to get what you want. One day you're going to book that role.
MM: Do you have any hobbies or passions that you enjoy partaking in, outside of acting?
AH: I love beauty, skincare, and makeup. I love creating homemade lip scrubs and face masks. I also love reading, I have so many books in my room. My favorite book would have to be The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. It's like a detective/thriller novel, it’s amazing.
MM: Have you ever experienced any notable challenges throughout your career?
AH: Going back to the whole never give up advice, there were definitely times where I was constantly going to auditions and just not booking anything. It was hard and stressful, even at a young age, because I felt like I was trying so hard but no one wanted to pick me for a role. Over time, I learned that it really does take lots of hard work and dedication, and one day the role will come to you.
MM: Going back to one of your passions being beauty, what would you say your personal style consists of?
AH: I would say my personal style is quirky, fun, and very Generation Z. Right now we've just created this whole Indy-style that's going on while also bringing back 90s fashion. I also love fun prints and coordinating sets.
MM: Who would you say your ultimate inspiration is, whether that be in life or in the entertainment industry?
AH: I would say Ava DuVernay. Being a Black woman and a filmmaker in this industry and creating so many jobs for Black people is so inspiring. She showed me that it's important to work hard and create art that you love. It's not about pleasing other people; it's about doing what you love and caring for your people.