Senta Moses Mikan [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! As you all are aware, the holiday season is upon us. And avid readers here at TWS know that we are not the most festive blog in existence. We’ve even gone as far as to, in a somewhat passive aggressive manner, showcase artists and films that are deliberately the exact opposite of festive. See last year’s “12 Non-Holiday Films for the Holidays”. But, we are trying to lighten up a bit over here. Why not? Life’s too short to be so pretentious and aggressive, right? So we decided to show a bit more holiday spirit this year. Okay, not too much though. Baby steps, Everyone.

Today we have some amazing words from a brilliant actress who has been working in the world of performance for almost literally her entire life. We are talking about someone who started as an infant! And she happens to be have appeared in one of most beloved Christmas films of all time. That film would be Home Alone. And the amazing actress we are so fortunate to have grace our digital pages today is the great Senta Moses Mikan. And while we are trying to be more festive around here, we did ask a Home Alone related question. But, we are more excited about the work she has done more recently, as well as her stand out performance in the amazing series My So Called Life that left us far too quickly! I can vividly remember my pre-teen devastation  when the show didn’t come back around the following year after it aired, and being just oh so pissed!

Senta has continued to work on some pretty amazing projects over the years, and even has a new web series coming out that I hope you all check out as you are sure to enjoy it! We discuss this project and more in the wonderful words below. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the amazing Senta Moses Mikan!

You began acting at a very young age, and have been doing amazing work ever since. With that, what inspired you to continue to work in the world of acting? Having been doing it since before you can physically remember, did the job just sort of become a part of your personality in a way?

Hmm…I think the simplest answer is that I still love it. Being on set is my happy place and I’m so grateful for every job that I book. I feel like I’m getting away with something. Like, I can’t believe people pay me to do this! Do they know how fun this is??? And I find something in every role that inspires me or speaks to me in some way. A lot of times I play characters that are a little “off”, so it’s challenging to figure out what makes them tick. Why do they do what they do? Or how do they go about getting what they want. The investigation of the character is what inspires me. Or the talent of my cast and crew. Nothing is more inspiring than talent, right?

And to answer your last question, it’s absolutely a part of my personality. I’m an actor. I grew up on sets. Acting is how I earn my living, and frankly, I’m not qualified to do anything else. No seriously, not qualified to do ANYTHING else. When I look back on my childhood, I can see that it wasn’t typical, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. And that’s probably why I’m still in the entertainment industry. I absolutely love it…and I don’t have a “Plan B”. I’m almost a cautionary tale.

What was the very first paid gig you can remember doing? And was there anything from this experience that you can remember learning from that still affects your work today?

Oof. I have such a bad memory. I think I’ve trained my brain to remember lines quickly and then forget them as soon as I’m done with the scene and unfortunately that pattern has carried over into the rest of my life. The first paid gig I can remember is The Blues Brothers. I was four or five, I think. It was freezing cold. We shot in the middle of winter on a street in Chicago. I remember warming up in my Mom’s car in between setups. I also remember having to pee during the dance sequence on the Blues Mobile and not wanting to tell anyone. So I did what any 5 year old would do, I peed on the car. Through my wardrobe. Not my best moment, but hey, when you begin your film career peeing on the Blues Mobile, it’s all downhill from there. So I guess the thing I learned from that experience was to speak up. If something is wrong or if I need something, I say something. That’s not always easy to do as an actor, but it is absolutely necessary.

You are a member of one of the most infamous families in holiday film history, the McCallisters of the legendary film Home Alone, and it’s wonderful sequel. What is it like to be a part of something just absolutely legendary? The holidays must be exceptionally insane for you after appearing in this holiday classic, right? How has the fan interaction based around the Home Alone universe been?

First of all, I’m very proud and grateful to be a part of those films. I know they’re a holiday tradition for a lot of people, and it’s fun to reminisce about that moment in my life. I’ll never get over the fact that I worked with John Hughes. It seems kind of surreal since his other films were such a huge part of my childhood. I only regret that I didn’t speak with him more about it. I’m sure I was just scared of geeking out, so I kept my enthusiasm under wraps. I’m not super eloquent around people that I admire, but who is? When we were making the first movie, I was very young and I don’t think any of us knew we were making a holiday classic. We were just making a movie with a bunch of fun people. And the second one was the same, but with a little more security and a fancy trip to NYC. So I guess what I’m saying is that it hasn’t affected me as much as you think it would. It’s only around the holidays that people mention it to me. Or want to interview me. Or post on social media a snap shot of me, in all my frizz and teenage awkwardness, with Joe Pesci. Talking about “Home Alone” has become my holiday tradition, and I don’t mind it at all. It’s very cool. I’m very blessed. I only hope someday to run into Peter Billingsley from A Christmas Story, so I can tell HIM what a huge part of my Christmas he was…and still is.

Another infamous project that worked on that was sadly taken away from us far too quickly was the absolutely incredible series My So Called Life, in which you were superb as Delia Fisher. I am curious to know what you think your character would have developed into had the show not been prematurely removed from us? And what do you think Delia would be doing today? 

Ohhhh, I loved doing that show so much. And that character? C’mon! What an absolute gift from God. I’m ready for a reboot, are you? I’ve read interviews with Winnie Holzman, the show’s creator, and she mentioned that if the show went on, Delia would have gotten back together with Brian. She would have forgiven him??? WTF? But I get it. He was a catch. A little misguided, but we’ll chalk it up to his youth. And I would have loved to see how their relationship played out. Eventually, after a bit of back and forth with Angela, I believe Brian would have realized how great Delia was. He would have asked Rickie to teach him some moves on the dance floor and there would have been some grand public gesture in front of the whole school. They’d be married now with two curly-haired kids and a sensible, well-researched Volvo. I don’t know. But I do know that I’m a sucker for a happy ending. And I feel like Delia would own a cupcake shop, but maybe I’ve been watching the Great British Bake Off too much. Anyway…

In the world of television, you have performed in just about every genre and/or brand of show possible. From soap operas, to dramas, to teen dramas or shows geared for children, sitcoms, etc., you’ve done them all. So with that, I have a very serious question to ask: Of all the television sets you have worked on, which type of show provides the best craft services overall? And is there any one project in particular you can think of that had some bomb snacks?

Nice misdirect, but I can roll with it. My favorite crafty was on Faking It, a single camera comedy on MTV. Will Garcia, our fabulous crafty, is not only one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, he’s outstanding with snacks. Just outstanding. And I got so spoiled. Now I walk around my house like, “Where are the snacks? I’m hungry! Where’s Will?” He created a monster. A PB&J, cookie-eating, monster. As far as the type of show with the best snacks, that’s hard to say. It’s not really about the type of show, but more about the type of person who runs crafty. That might be symbolic of the rest of the entertainment industry too. It’s all about the people!

I am very curious to know more about a project you are currently working on entitled Badge of a Quitter. How did this project come to life? And how did you come up with the story itself?

Badge of a Quitter is a web series that I wrote and created with Carla Cackowski. We met at Second City and Carla came to me earlier this year with the idea of a grown woman going back to girl scouts. I loved the concept, and jumped at the chance to work with kids that were shorter than me. Not an apple box in sight! We took about 4 months to write the six episodes, flushing out the “why’s”, the characters, the plot, etc. then we shot it in early October. Carla directed it and I starred in it. My sweet friends, Kendra Shay Clark and Helen Geier, cast five incredible little girls to play our scouts. My husband, Joe Mikan, is editing it together right now and hopefully we’ll be streaming on Vimeo sometime early next year.  It was so much fun and such a blessing to be in creative control of a project. We wrote the show we wanted to see and we shot it, using as many friends as we could. It was a blast and with any luck, we’ll need to shoot a second season! I really hope people love it and want to see more. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @BadgeofaQuitter or on our website: www.BadgeofaQuitter.com

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m auditioning now, looking for my next gig (Ah, the life of an actor), so hopefully I’ll be cast in another show real soon! Until then, I’ll keep writing and creating projects for myself. I’m not real good at sitting around and waiting for the phone to ring. I’ve taken up watercolors, which is super meditative and somewhat daunting. I have a bunch of home improvement projects on my slate, I’m in denial of my 4’11” stature and completely addicted to HGTV. I’ll continue volunteering with organizations that help the homeless in our city. But most of all, I’ll spend time with my husband, my family and my friends. Because without them, what’s the point?

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

My husband’s face when the Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers and clinched the NFC North. His whole face lit up and that made me smile! HUGE!

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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