Mika Abdalla is going full S.T.E.A.M.(Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) ahead

Born and raised in Plano, bubbly and innocent 16-year-old Mika Abdalla (pronounced Mee-ka) balances a career in acting while she finishes senior year. She recently filmed seasons 2 and 3 (premiering this October) of an Emmy-nominated Netflix original series Project Mc2, a program that encourages young girls to unlock their potential in the areas of science, math, art, engineering and technology.

Mika abdalla. Photo by violeta meyners

We sat down with Mika Abdalla at the quaint teashop Dubs Tea & Water in Plano, where she made her own Arnold Palmer with a twist—peach tea and lemonade.

In Project MC2, Mika plays the lead character, McKeyla McAlister, who teams up with a squad of super-smart girls to become secret agents who use their science and tech skills to save the day. “This is definitely the biggest thing I’ve done.” She even has a look-alike doll sold online. Mika loves the show’s message. “It empowers girls and shows them that they can do just as much as boys can do. It shows them that it’s okay to be smart and do whatever they want. [They don’t need to worry] about being cool or fitting in, because in the long run, it really doesn’t matter.”

In real life, Mika Abdalla is as much as a go-getter as her screen persona. She spends 11 hours a day on set, five days a week during filming, and still has to complete schoolwork. When Mika is home in Plano, she attends Spring Creek Academy—a school that is flexible with unique schedules. She will graduate a year ahead of schedule in May 2017 and will attend college next fall. “I’m looking at A&M, UT and SMU, and I was looking at UCLA, but since I’ll only be 17 when I go, I think moving [to Los Angeles] would be too much.” Mika plans to study agriculture, criminal justice or theater. She thinks agriculture will be a great fit because of her love for horses. “Plus,” adds Mika, “I’ve always wanted to own a wine vineyard, which I’d be able to do in California while still pursuing acting.”

Who inspired you to pursue acting?

I guess, my mom. I was a very shy kid, even up until seventh grade. My mom would do everything to get me out of my shell. I would literally hide behind her because I didn’t want to talk to people—I was terrified. When I was 6 years old, my dentist had an open call for Dallas Child magazine, and I was like, “This is terrifying. Mom, I don’t want to do this.” But decided to be a big girl, and I booked it. I loved all the lights and getting dolled up.

What was your first acting role?

Either Barney and Friends that I did for probably two years or one of many national commercials.

What was the turning point in your career?

When I booked the American Girl movie, I was in seventh grade and played a third grader. It’s hard for preteens to get roles, and I was tiny and okay with playing someone young. That was the turning point where it started getting serious, and I decided I should get a manager.

Who is your role model?

Jennifer Lawrence because she’s herself. She’s not afraid to speak her mind or share her opinion. Also, Leonardo DiCaprio. He puts so much into every role and researches a lot to prepare.

Besides being predominantly self-taught, who do you give credit to?
Cathryn Hartt, Cathryn Sullivan and Amber Horn. They’re all based in DFW.  
[Cathryn Sullivan has taught many Disney stars including Selena Gomez.]

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself living in LA, acting and living on the beach.

What three words best describe you?

Awkward. Weird. Worldly.

Famous folk from Plano, Texas

Mika Abdalla is from Plano, Texas. So is Rex Burkhead, Bryce Gheisar and Chase Crawford.

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