Television and theater star Mia Matthews may have gone on a bit of a hiatus (14 years!) following her Spin City days, but she returned in 2012 and has been on fire ever since. Most recently, Matthews starred in the six-episode Hulu Original Series South Beach as Karen, as well as Nickelodeon’s Every Witch Way as Desdemona. BookTrib had the pleasure of sitting down with the actress to discuss all things South Beach, her charity work and why “author” may soon be added to her list of accomplishments.
BOOKTRIB: Let’s talk about South Beach. Tell us about the show and your character, Karen.
MIA MATTHEWS: It’s a show about two rival music companies in Miami. And there’s a murder, so it’s very kind of Empire meets Nashville. It has a little of that telenovela, night-time soap feeling. And I play Karen, the publicist for one of the music companies. It’s so fantastic because you can watch TV anywhere now. There’s a lot to choose from and there’s a real benefit to having it so accessible. Plus, people love having all the episodes streaming, so you can binge it. It’s just so much fun.
BT: Would you be onboard for another season if Hulu renewed it?
MM: I’m counting on it! I didn’t get killed off so that’s a really good thing. But, who knows? Nobody knows who the killer is. So everyone’s still a suspect! I love filming. It’s fun as an actress to not know what’s going to happen next to your character. It’s kind of like life.
BT: Your background is hugely in theater. Are you still involved with theater even though you’re based in Florida?
MM: I do a lot in Florida. And actually, while I was filming Nickelodeon’s Every Witch Way, I was fortunate enough to do to a play, Little Dog Laugh, which was great fun. And I have two shows that I am set up to do this coming season. For me, I love being on set, but I really do miss the feedback of a live audience. So if I can balance them both, I really like to do that. And I could [in that instance], so I was fortunate.
BT: Charities are pretty important to you. What are some that you really try to dedicate time to?
MM: I gave up the business of acting for 14 years [because] I was raising my children but I thought it was very important that I do more and that I continue to give back. And so, it was pretty much a full-time job for me. I committed myself to so many. And I mean the more that you learn, the more that you realize how much is needed…so, I got involved in a lot. Right now I’m on the board of education committee for the Kravis Center of Performing Arts. I feel very strong about trying to use arts [in] education. I’ve seen how these kids have been reached … when you incorporate arts into the curriculum. I worked a lot with the Miami City Ballet, The Center for Creative Education, The KidSanctuary (which is a shelter for kids) and The Center for Family Services, which I worked a lot with as well. So I’ve done a lot and I will continue to for the rest of my life.
BT: What projects are you currently working on?
MM: Well, I’m really excited about this film that I am shooting, called Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket with Bailey Madison. I have kind of a crazy, quirky role, which is always much more fun than playing the boring part.
BT: You’ve worked in so many different areas, is author something you would like to try one day?
MM: It’s so funny you say that, because today I was going through my Google Docs on my phone and I found all of these stories and big blogs I had written. When I wrote them I thought, “They’re not very good,” and then I read them and I’m like, “This is actually kind of funny!” And I would love to get back to writing. I used to feel like there was a preciousness about it and that I wasn’t articulate enough. But if you speak from your heart and you have a voice almost everybody has something to say and I definitely have a story in me.
BT: Would it be a memoir, a novel?
MM: I think it would be a memoir, but loosely based on a memoir, as we say. So I don’t get anybody in trouble, especially myself! I would love that. And I want to be the reader on the audio book, because I love audio books. I want to narrate my own book, too. I’ve always wanted to be one of those narrators because I love audio books and I think it would be something that I would be good at. Telling your own story, I think, is the best way to go.
BT: What books are you reading right now?
MM: Well, I love to read. Like I said right now just because of how much commuting I do, I’m so grateful to the audio books. And I actually think that you’re reading, even though you’re listening. A friend of mine who had a book club in Palm Beach got 12 very, very different women together, and one was an editor of a magazine. As our book club went on, she went on to become a published author, and I thought “We’ve got a heck of a book club here!” Now I’m reading her third book in her trilogy. The 10th Saint was the first one and The Oracle is the last one. I have to actually keep my dictionary close by when I read her books, but that’s good because I know my neurons are firing when I read them. I always have a self-help book by my bed. And I’m actually listening to Alan Cummings’ book Not My Father’s Son. I love any hard-luck stories or overcoming any adversity.