By Shayley Blair and Dov Kornits

Ava Caryofyllis has been in demand since her break into commercials at 5, although she was already a toddler fashion model! “I had Shirley Temple curls back then,” she shared with FilmInk. “My dad [Andy Caryofyllis, who is also an actor], thought it would be fun for me to try and get into acting from an early age and I thought it would be fun too.”

Ava’s film credits include Kate (2021), Little Monsters (2019), Dirt Music (2019), Hearts and Bones (2019), and playing Young Jane Foster in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022).

Another reason her face and name may be familiar is her prominent role as Iris, daughter of Marta Dusseldorp’s Stella in the Australian television series Bay of Fires.

When asked of her favourite acting experiences so far, she replied enthusiastically: “Can I have two!? I’ve been lucky enough to be on some really cool film and TV sets. Filming for Dirt Music in the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia was just amazing. I even got to do some underwater stunts. We had an Aboriginal elder standing on the peninsula watching for sharks and crocodiles! It was totally safe but very exciting.

“But I must say that the three months I spent in Tasmania with the wonderful cast and crew for Bay of Fires was my favourite. We stayed in Queenstown and became like a little family. Everyone in the town was so lovely to us. We got to film in so many amazing places on the West Coast.”

Juggling a demanding role in a series which creatively tackles genres of dark comedy and drama, with the need to keep up with schoolwork – would surely be challenging. But it was made easier with an on-set tutor. “I go to a great high school, and they are very supportive of my acting and I’m sure my teachers will (continue to) keep me supplied with lots of work for those downtimes on set!”

Of the Bay of Fires filming experience, she also revealed, “it was hard at times being away from part of my family, my friends, and my school for just over 3 months. But it gave me something in common with my character Iris,” she says of Bay of Fires’ plot which revolves around her mother and brother being placed in a witness protection program.

Ava would love to teach acting to kids and explore other film industry areas alongside her acting career, once she is an adult herself. “It would be great to teach something that you love doing. Hopefully, I’ll have a lot of tips and tricks up my sleeve by then to pass on to my students! I would even love to do some work on the production side of film and TV. I’d be happy to follow in the steps of someone like Margot Robbie and dabble in both areas!”

Working on such a diverse array of projects has given Ava an invaluable education on the entire operations of televisions series, and both indie and blockbuster films. Each experience brings unique insights. “Indie films have given me the opportunity to watch what is happening behind the scenes more closely, as everyone in the crew and the cast often have more than one job and dig in to help each other, and it is easier to get involved a little in the creative and production processes – even like sourcing some of my own wardrobe. I do like learning what goes on behind the scenes. TV series and blockbuster films have given me the chance to meet some big stars, like Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman – I met her in make-up and she thought it was funny to meet me as the younger version of her – and to learn my lines and deliver scenes in tight timeframes. There is also a big buzz working on a major blockbuster – like Thor. The soundstages and the details that go into the sets are mind-boggling.”

Already a rising star herself, when asked about ever being starstruck on set, Ava recalls that when she was younger, she didn’t yet appreciate that people she was acting with were such massive stars. “With the exception of Josh Gad on the set of Little Monsters – because every 5 to 7-year-old on the planet knew who Olaf was at the time and the voice he used for Olaf, was actually like his real voice – so he had none of us kids fooled.”

It seems Ava Caryofyllis’ position in the constellation of film and television is already set, and no doubt her talent will continue to shine, attracting even more great roles for many years to come.

Bay of Fires is currently screening on ABC TV, with the final episode airing on September 2, 2023. The entire series is also available to stream on iview.