For someone born and raised in Maryland, Mia Matthews considers herself a bonafide South Floridian these days. Two major work opportunities have come her way in the Magic City: 1. Miami-set high school Nick supernatural comedy, Every Witch Way, as Desdemona, an elder with evil on the brain. 2. The Hulu drama South Beach, in which Matthews is Karen, a publicist for a local record label who works just as hard as she plays.
Adding to the married mother of two’s workload: Matthews recently began the Masters program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.
We spoke to the busy lady who resides in Palm Beach:
What are your thoughts on “Every Witch Way” since the series ended?
It was a really special show. I think we were all a little surprised by how wildly popular it became. I think because it was a telenovela style format, the kids got really attached to the characters. It was heartwarming to experience how passionate and committed the fans are to the show. After three seasons, they had become my second family. The kids were so great: talented, fun and such professionals. I also become extremely close with the adults. We’ll all be friends for life. My daughter Bianca Matthews will be in Nick’s upcoming EWW spinoff, W.I.T.s Academy.
How is the atmosphere on “South Beach?”
It was a shift working on an “adult” show again. I didn’t have to curb my language!
When did you first know you wanted to go into showbiz?
When asked what I wanted to be someday on a questionnaire in third grade, I distinctly remember just writing “a star.” I also considered becoming a petroleum engineer or a circus clown [laughs].
Who is the inspiration in your career?
My mom and dad. Neither is involved in the arts, but both have been huge supporters and role models. My mom went back to work when her kids were older just as I did. My father was a race car driver and gave it up to raise six kids. He recently started racing again at the age of 83! If he wasn’t too old to pursue his passion, I certainly wasn’t.
Whose career do you aspire to or admire?
Mandy Patinkin. I have had a huge crush on him since high school. He was one of those fortunate actors that excelled in all facets of acting: theater, TV and film. Homeland is one of my favorite shows, and The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies. Also, he can sing!
What was your favorite movie/TV show growing up?
Fame. I’m pretty sure I wore out that VHS tape. I would have given anything to be pirouetting around a fountain at a New York High School of Performing Arts!
Can you tell us the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
“When people are mean or disrespectful to you, it says little about you but speaks volumes about them.” I don’t take other people’s mean-spirited actions so personally anymore.
Any downsides to your glamorous career?
It’s fun, but I spend most of my time trying to find work.
What are your favorite places to hang out in South Florida?
At home! I also love to people watch on Lincoln Road, shop at Bal Harbour and get dressed up to go to Mar-a-Lago.
What is a normal workday like?
My days on set are never typical. Sometimes I leave my house before the sun comes up. On a perfect work day, I can drop my kids off at school, head down to Miami to shoot and be home in time for dinner. It’s wonderful when my life has that much balance.
What about days off?
I try to dedicate as much time as I can to my family when I’m not working to make up for any time lost when I am.
What other projects are you working on?
I am in pre-production for a feature film, a ghost story for teens, Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket, which stars [South Floridian actress] Bailee Madison and begins filming in September. In January, I’ll be performing in Zoetic Stage’s production of Rapture, Blister, Burn, about issues women are facing, at the Arsht Center. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Drama.