Ella Proberts was enticed to act with the promise of sweets. “My best friend in year one told me her drama teacher gave them all lollies in class and I was instantly very intrigued,” she says. “I kept begging my parents to go, so they signed me up! Even though I never got any lollies, I very quickly fell in love with acting. Drama class was my favorite place to go.” Eventually she joined the Queensland Theatre Youth Ensemble, where she absorbed lessons that would serve her well for the rest of her career. “I learned that it takes time, consistency and good sportsmanship to become good at something. There were so many talented young kids there who all wanted the same thing. The only way we could all do well and be happy was to just be friends, have fun and support each other (as well as learn our lines and do our work). The magic of total immersion had her hooked. “Once you experience the feeling of being totally transported into another world and another life, it’s sort of addictive. Honestly, it sounds a bit weird (to be fair, it is a bit weird), but I think that’s why it’s so much fun. I haven’t really been able to get away with having so much fun in any other job.”
You can see Ella in her film debut as Daniela in The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay. “The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay is about four teenagers from around the world who come together in Australia to participate in a Marine Biology internship. There is a bit of a ‘curious case’ along the way, but where Daniela comes in is when she has some issues with an old friend. Daniela is a bit of a complex character, which I actually really like about her. She’s dealing with a lot of change, which I think is quite relatable for pretty much anyone at any point in life. I think the film captures the pressure she puts on herself to make decisions and conform to what other people want her to be, which sort of makes her a worse version of herself. She has to put her expectations aside and re-evaluate what’s important to her to be at her best.”
Off set, Ella is passionate about investigative storytelling. “I like that it’s an opportunity to learn more about other people and other parts of the world to a depth that I wouldn’t normally be able to achieve. This ends up really helping with acting, both in that I’m learning to understand people who are different to me, and how I have learned to interrogate characters.” Combining journalism with art is a vital process to foster understanding. “I think art should go hand in hand with journalism when we’re telling real people’s stories, because it humanizes the subject and creates a new level of depth and empathy, whether it be through a photo, video, artwork, or piece of music. I think it’s just part of human nature to be both affected by and connected by art in some way.” She is also the Regional Leader for Girl Up Australia and New Zealand. “Girl Up is a United Nations Foundation initiative, aiming to promote advocacy for female rights. Basically, it works through girl led clubs (in schools, unis, colleges, and communities) all around the world. There are more than 5000 clubs in 130 countries. Each club works to raise money to support female rights, mainly donating back to UN women, UNESCO and other UN agencies that support adolescent girls.” Ella’s ambitions could lead her down many paths, but she’s excited to see the outcome. “I know that I’m doing all of the things I love, so I’m trusting that it will come together how it’s supposed to.” When you’re walking with confidence and pride, the destination will always be positive. The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay is now streaming on Disney+.
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“The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay” Actress Ella Proberts on the Importance of Advocacy and Understanding. Photo Credit: Grace Wriggles.