Olivia Mai-Barret is a 23 year old British actress, singer and dancer and we had the opportunity to interview her while she was filming the third season of the Disney Channel series – Penny on M.A.R.S. She graduated Italy Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and performed in television, commercials, videos, theatre and short films. Her signature role is Penny Mendez, the protagonist of the series.
Besides fame, this role brought her back to a country Olivia is familiar with, Italy, Milan to be more precise, where the action of the whole series takes place. When asked if she enjoyed doing filming in Italy, Olivia’s answer was “definitely” as she got the chance to discover Milan for the first time. A huge school set was especially constructed for the show, but there were also scenes shot on an university campus in Milan and also several locations throughout the beautiful city. One of the most peculiar things while filming was the fact that the show was filmed on a busy campus at a real-life university, the show’s cast members saw a lot of real-life students and teachers going to lectures, without knowing if they were actually members of the Penny on M.A.R.S. crew or not.
The production of season three is currently underway, it is expected to premiere sometime next year. When asked if there was a favorite season for Olivia, she said that she loved every one of them, and the show’s plot got better with every season. There’s many storylines in Penny on M.A.R.S. that everyone can relate to. In the show, there’s a lot of fun and relatable characters coming from different social environments, who are building friendships, pursuing dreams and of course, there’s the families behind each character.
As the show’s protagonist, Penny is always in the spotlight, she tries to figure out her life while keeping a big secret of her own. She’s the daughter of a famous pop star called Bakia, who’s always on tour around the world, which makes it difficult for both Penny and Bakia to have a proper and normal mother-daughter relationship. On top of that, the mother’s agent is constantly putting pressure on Bakia to keep a secret to protect her daughter’s identity. The same secret has to be kept by Penny, she’s also trying to succeed by her own means without being treated differently in school. However, in the back of her mind, it’s always her father who Penny is searching for, which is also an important part of the show’s plot.
Olivia was asked about her character and personality traits they both share, Olivia says she’s like Penny because she’s also a shy person, but also funny, honest and caring. They both have a few other things in common: they both went to art schools, they love to perform, but Penny is more shy than what Olivia used to be when she was 16 years old. Olivia was also asked about other characters from the series that she admires, she named Camilla (played by Shannon Gaskin), who’s basically like her sister in the show. She likes Camilla in particular because she’s beautiful, confident, outspoken, bubbly and funny. Regarding her favorite male character in the show, Olivia invited Hungarian fans to watch third season to find out who he is!