“I do like to keep playing and exploring new characters,” Kat Hoyos says when we tell her how much we enjoyed her performance as an ‘ethnically neutral’ preacher’s daughter in Chasing Comets. “I am conscious of this. Some actors don’t mind playing that same type of character in other projects they do, and that can keep them pretty busy. They have their niche, there is a demand, so why not. This works for some actors, and for some it doesn’t. The risk with my decision is that it can take time because there is the element of ‘but she can only do this’ or ‘I don’t see her as anything else’. I’ve been on the other side of casting and I know the sorts of things that get brought up, but thankfully, this project has given me that door to open to the general public and a more naturalistic side to my acting.”
Best known for playing Layla Habib on Channel 9’s Here Come the Habibs, Kat in real life is actually nothing like either of these characters, proving her versatility as a performer.
Growing up in Melbourne and Sydney, from the beach to the western suburbs, Kat puts down this experience as very useful when exploring characters that she plays on the screen.
Recently, Kat spent time in the US for pilot season, which opened her eyes to the different casting approaches there compared to Australia. “There is a vast difference with what I’m being seen for here and what I get seen for other there,” she tells us. “My ethnicity is Colombian, South American, so anything I get seen for from the States is latinx, or open to any ethnicity. It’s exciting that I can be looked at things closer to my heritage. Over here, it’s Middle Eastern, European, Ambiguous. I’ve never received an audition in Australia where they’ve looked for a Latina. Only in the TVC world, and an international campaign. I understand, it’s migration that obviously plays a part in what type of stories get told from the country it is based in, but it definitely plays a part in whether I can get my foot in the door to be seen, or the reason that tips them over to the other choice.
“I’m lucky that now I do get seen beyond that with specific casting directors, producers, directors and networks I have good relationships with,” she continues. “They have seen my work in the room beyond anything ethnically driven and that’s what I would always like to be seen for – beyond a culture, ethnicity, or look. It’s just a case of what essence I can bring to this character. I know there are people in those positions who really do push for looking beyond that, but it’s more the people at the very top that we have to keep expanding their perceptions with this.”
And what’s next for the busy actress? “In between auditions in the room, self-taping and teaching, I’m working on building an online course for performing artists transitioning into a professional career. This has been a side project that I’m also very passionate about, as I do love helping other artists who are motivated and dedicated to make it work. I also plan to head back to the States again as I have the 01 Visa, and do pilot season again as I created some fantastic traction there this year. I also want to further develop my improv skills and head back into The Groundlings for some more training as I really loved it,” she says referring to the famous improv school that has launched the likes of Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.
“I’m a go-getter, always keeping busy learning, exploring and doing my best.”