As Shervone Shields in ABC miniseries Mystery Road, Tasia Zalar is mesmerising. So mesmerising that she was nominated for the prestigious Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent at the 2019 TV Week Logie Awards. The show was also nominated for Most Popular Drama Program and Most Outstanding Drama Series, so it was a massive night for Tasia and the Mystery Road team.
“The Logies was an amazing experience because it gave the cast and crew an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate our achievements,” Tasia says.
“It’s rewarding to know the show has been so well-received by the Australian audience and that they supported all of our nominations for Mystery Road.”
Watching back her audition for Mystery Road, Tasia remembers thinking it was her best audition yet.
“Shevorne is very strong. She holds her own amongst the main characters, including Jay Swan, despite the vulnerable circumstances of her situation that she has to keep secret,” Tasia says.
“The undercurrent involved with the plot adds an element of intrigue as Shevorne hides her real intention from the audience until the end.”
Filming on location at Kununurra in Western Austria, about 40 minutes from the Northern Territory border, was also a magical experience for Tasia.
“Its landscape is so vast and breathtaking – it really helped set the scene for the Mystery Road story,” she says.
“And working with the incredible array of actors was an amazing learning experience. They were all so encouraging and welcoming.”
Tasia, who has also appeared in Foxtel’s Wentworth and ABC series The Straits, says her first time in front of the camera was making comedy skits with her friends when she was growing up. In her teens, she began to star in short films, with her debut being about a topic close to her heart – the high rate of youth suicide in Aboriginal communities.
“I’ve always been drawn to exploring what motivates people,” Tasia says.
“It’s the psychological aspect – finding the inner monologue of the character.”
Having grown up in Cairns, and with a love of immersing herself in sunshine and nature, moving to Melbourne at 19 was a big change for Tasia.
“It was fun living in Melbourne for a few years, but I wanted to come back and reconnect with where I’m from,” says Tasia, who now splits her time between Cairns and Townsville.
“I love that North Queensland is so beautiful and tropical. It’s where the rainforest meets the reef, so the scenery is spectacular. I feel a spiritual connection to this place.”
As for what’s next for Tasia, she does have a project in the pipeline but it’s hush-hush until it’s officially announced. All we can tell you is that she’s currently doing some physical training for the role… Stay tuned.