Movie goers around Australia following the build-up of the December 1 Australian release of the crowd-funded movie, The Legend of Ben Hall, will likely be aware the film was shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.
However, North Queensland folk may well be unaware that Magnetic Island’s own PiaGrace Moon, 23, is in the support role of Peggy Monks in what is expected to become an epic bushranger trilogy in this Australian equivalent of the Western genre.
PiaGrace’s rise to prominence this year includes September’s Australia-wide release of the romantic comedy Spin Out, a Tim Ferguson romantic comedy romp about an Aussie institution, the B&S ball, or bachelor and spinster ball, where bare bums are flashed, beer flows freely, and crazy antics in utes were filmed at Shepparton, Victoria. PiaGrace spoke to DUO after her support role of Taylah in Spin Out.
Her rise this year includes a lead role in a promising short film, Crossroads, shown at the St Kilda Short Film Festival. However, PiaGrace says she has been earning acting credits for some time, among them Holding the Man (2015) which did well in Australia and the United Kingdom, with great accolades from the LGBT community. Her Australian acting exposure began in television’s Winners & Losers and Neighbours.
“She is the bravest, strongest person I know. She always helped to progress my dream to be an actor as we moved around.”
PiaGrace is a third generation Magnetic Islander. Her mother, Debbie Moon, is a qualified skipper who worked in Townsville’s fishing fleet in the 1980s, and her grandmother, Noela Foletta (nee Love) who passed away in 2007, was a Melbourne television producer in the days of live TV who brought the floating restaurant, The Argonaut II, to Townsville then Magnetic Island in the 1970s. The Argonaut II burnt to the waterline and sank in Horseshoe Bay in 1978.
PiaGrace informs her acting capacity with the many challenges of moving around while her mother fought and miraculously conquered cancer treatment whilst raising PiaGrace and her brother as a single mother. Says the actor of her mother: “She is the bravest, strongest person I know. She always helped to progress my dream to be an actor as we moved around.”
PiaGrace faced battles of her own while the family in turmoil tried to keep life on an even keel for everyone as they struggled with her mother’s illness. During this time, PiaGrace, at 13 years of age, was digging deep while being stared at by people as she wheeled about her young baby nephew’s pram whenever baby’s dad, her older brother Zane, was looking for work.
The normally bubbly actor still gets emotional as she relates this experience, of being 13 with people staring down their noses at her, assuming she was a teen mother, as if such mums don’t have a hard enough time as it is.
From this and other experiences during her journey so far she has learnt that “everyone has their own battle…you should just be kind”.
Today PiaGrace lives in Melbourne.
The history of The Argonaut II wreck (and other wrecks and scuttlings on Magnetic Island) is featured in a professionally curated exhibition this year, Wrecked, at Magnetic Museum in Picnic Bay, open from 10am-2pm daily except Tuesdays.