Maia Mitchell

On-screen, JUST JARED’s SPOTLIGHT COVER STAR Maia Mitchell plays the classic all-American teenager in the hit show The Fosters, but in real life, she’s a bubbly millennial who holds true to her roots from Down Under.

  • Photography: Justin Campbell
  • Writer: Nicole Pajer
  • Editor: David Niederhoffer
  • Stylist: Monty Jackson
  • Hair: Derek Yuen
  • Makeup: Mai Quynh
Maia Mitchell with an M
-Maia Mitchell | Photographed by Justin Campbell

Maia Mitchell in black and white wearing a floral suit

Fashion Credits

Styled By: Monty Jackson

Looks 1 and 7 Look 2 Looks 3 and 6 Look 4 Look 5

Maia Mitchell sitting on the ground wearing thigh high boots

The budding actress got her start acting in school plays and local theater productions in Australia, starring in several local shows, such as the children’s series Mortified, Trapped, and Castaway before catching the attention of Disney Channel producers. She’s since risen to prominence through her role as “Mack” in Disney’s Teen Beach Movie franchise. Relocating to the U.S. hasn’t appeared to make Mitchell’s swoon-worthy accent falter though. And one of her greatest feats has been her ability to rapidly bury it to become flawlessly American. The rising star jokes, however, that she promised her “mum” that her efforts to be convincingly American won’t impair her from speaking off-screen in her native tongue. “She’d kill me if I had American accent,” she admits with a smirk.

Off camera, Mitchell has a smile that lights up any room she enters. The Ozzie stunner is bubbly, endearing, and comes across as the ultimate girl that you’d want in your squad (Take note Taylor Swift). She’s the gal that everyone wants to befriend and she always appears to be having a good time, no matter what the day throws at her. Her Instagram account, which has garnered 1.5 million fans, is stocked with photos of the young actress doing everything from lounging on the couch with beau Rudy Mancuso to beaching it with Bieber and snuggling with her pug pup, Sadie. And though her social media life looks extravagant, Mitchell assures us that she’s a typical adolescent -- who grew up with posters of The O.C. plastered on her bedroom walls, has a fear of tripping while filming in heels, and spends her free time frolicking at the dog park.

Portrait of Maia Mitchell sitting on a block

When she’s not paling around with onscreen flame “Brady” (Ross Lynch) on the Disney set, Mitchell is busy portraying “Callie Jacob” on ABC Family’s groundbreaking series The Fosters, a show that Mitchell is extremely grateful to be a part of. The role has opened her up to a new realm of acting, tackling issues such as growing up in an abusive home, being fostered by a bi-racial lesbian couple, and exploring feelings for adopted brother Brandon (David Lambert).“I’m super proud and lucky to be on a show that is pushing some barriers and maybe opening people up to things they haven’t seen or types of families they haven’t seen before,” says the budding actress. “It’s super cool.” And after three seasons on the show, a blossoming fandom, and the success of the Teen Beach franchise, it’s clear that Mitchell’s career is just getting started.

“Maia is the most talented younger actor that I've ever had the pleasure working with,” says The Fosters creator Bradley Bredeweg. “When we first started, she had such an honest and pure way in, wide-eyed and excited about the process and the show that we were putting out into the world. She always plays each moment straight from the heart. To watch her grow and become the incredible young woman that she is today, now three seasons later, has been one of the most cherished experiences of my career. I'm a lucky man to have Maia around!”

Next up for Mitchell is a role in Elijah Bynum’s directorial debut, Hot Summer Nights, where she will star opposite Timothee Chalamet (Interstellar) and will portray the love interest of Alex Roe (The 5th Wave). And while Disney has been mum on the details, we would be down with seeing her hop on a surfboard one last time for a Teen Beach 3!

Maia Mitchell standing while showing a hint of leg

Maia Mitchell sitting on a block while wearing thigh high boots

Just Jared: Congrats on the success of Teen Beach 2 - over 13 million people have seen it! What was your favorite memory of filming the Teen Beach movies?

Maia Mitchell: Definitely mucking around in between takes. We had the most ridiculous locations and outfits. Our cast was ridiculous too. We made the most of it, which was fun. Filming the sequel, we were all together again after being separated for so long, so it was kind of like a big reunion. We’d all hang out and sing campfire songs.

JJ: Any word on a Teen Beach 3 happening and if so, are you on board?

MM: I have no idea about Teen Beach 3. I’m sure they are buzzing about it right now but I don’t know. We’ll see! It would definitely be something I’d be interested in talking about.

JJ: What’s it been like to be part of such a groundbreaking show like The Fosters?

MM: The show has been really huge for me. It’s what’s kept me in America. The cast and crew definitely feel like home to me now. But in terms of what it’s about and what the show reflects, I’m super proud of it. Two moms raising foster kids and adopted kids, it’s a part of reality now that hasn’t been explored as much in the media and should be. A lot of people’s stories aren’t being told. I feel very lucky. I don’t feel an entitlement or ownership over it. I’m very lucky that I’m an actor that got employed and I get to be on that show. And I’m very, very lucky that I am and very, very grateful. It feels great to be a part of something that’s doing good things.

JJ: Noah Centineo just replaced Jake T. Austin as your brother on The Fosters. How has that switch been for you?

MM: It’s been good. We’re all very excited to have Noah. He’s awesome and super cool. I think we’re just ready for a fresh start and I’m really excited to be working with him.

JJ: Jennifer Lopez produces The Fosters. What has it been like to work with her? Were you starstruck when you first met her?

MM: I was pretty starstruck when I met her, but she’s very easy to be around. She’s really engaging, connected and will look you in the eye and give you the time of day. She supports our show 100%, which feels really nice. I love having her be a part of it. She’s very real.

Portrait of Maia Mitchell wearing a feathered look
JJ: You were recently cast in Hot Summer Nights playing the love interest of Alex Roe. What can you tell us about the movie and your character?

MM: I play a character named Amy in a coming of age film. It’s about this kid who basically goes to Cape Cod for the summer and gets involved with drug dealing with a friend that he meets there. It’s kind of a bad boy older kid who is sort of a big fish in a small pond in Cape Cod. And he falls in love and my character Amy plays the girlfriend of this character who is kind of this bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks and so she shows him the light. She’s the daughter of the sheriff. It’s an independent film, which is exciting and I loved the script. Elijah [Bynum], the director, is amazing.

JJ: You started performing as a child in school plays. Do you have a most memorable performance?

MM: My favorite play was Hating Alison Ashley. I got to play Alison Ashley and my friend was Erica Yurken. We got to just hate each other and it was really really fun.

JJ: What about the most embarrassing play that you’ve ever starred in?

MM: I did this play, I don’t even remember what the name of it was, but it was based on a book. And I had to play a woobly, which is basically like a Teletubby, except we just say “woobly.” My mom was like, “Really? I paid this much money for you to be a woobly?”

JJ: In addition to acting, you also sing. Tell us about the first time that you ever sang in front of people. Were you super nervous?

MM: Yeah. I was very nervous. I don’t claim to be a singer or performer in terms of music. I did it in high school and that was always really nerve-wracking when we had performances. And even recording for Teen Beach 2 was pretty scary. I’ve become a little bit more comfortable with it but I don’t think I’m going to try and have a singing career. It’s just not where I’m comfortable.

JJ: What was the biggest on-screen blooper that you’ve ever had?

MM: There’s been a lot. Teen Beach 2 was pretty ridiculous. We were shooting some crazy numbers and I was having to dance in platform heels, which is a nightmare for me. So there were many times when we were doing this scene in Teen Beach 2 for “Gotta Be Me,” the dance number. The bleachers were moving and so they had the bleachers on wheels and they had people moving in and I had to walk down the bleachers with Ross at the same time, but they kept asking me to look up and to not look at my feet. These things are moving and I’m in heels, but we’re doing dance moves while we’re walking down. It was like the scariest thing ever. And I almost tripped but Grace [Phipps] luckily grabbed me and I don’t think it made it in the movie. There was a lot of stuff like that, which was kind of crazy. But I fall over all the time. There are a ton of bloopers of me.

JJ: Everyone seems to have a Twitter blooper in this day and age. What’s your biggest social media blunder?

MM: I feel like everything I tweet is potentially a social media blooper. Last night I was really tired and I was Googling pillows with holes in the face so that you can just literally sink into it. And I tweeted that last night. So I’ll probably delete that. (laughs)

JJ: What are your favorite bands?

MM: My favorite bands are The Cure, The Talking Heads… I love Joni Mitchell. I’m kind of old school, but I like a bit of everything. I like Fetty Wap. I like a bit of everything.

JJ: Whose posters did you have on your wall as a kid?

MM: I had so many phases when I was a kid. I had like every poster. There was a point when I had Adam Brody just everywhere. Seth Cohen everything! I moved past that now thank God! I used to love Avril Lavigne. I had this giant Avril poster during the “Girlfriend” days and I thought she was such a rocker and I was so edgy by loving her. It’s weird to think about now.

JJ: What’s your favorite phone emoji?

MM: Probably the little monkey [that covers up his eyes]. It changes all the time.

JJ: Something you never leave your house without?

MM: Gum because I have an intense fear of bad breath. I never leave the house without my phone. If I’m wearing heels and I have a meeting or something, I always take flats as an alternative, always.

JJ: Current celebrity crush?

MM: Jeff Goldblum. I’m weird.

JJ: What’s the weirdest American slang you learned after coming here from Australia to work?

MM: It’s weird to think about American slang now because it feels like my vocabulary. When I go home, often people are like, “What did you just say to me?” But you guys say you’re going to “take a shower.” Where are you going to take the shower? We say, “Have a shower.” Stuff like that is different to me.

JJ: People have said that if Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez had a baby, it would be you. Who is the celebrity that you get mistaken for the most? Who do people tell you that you look like?

MM: I get so many different people, I can’t even keep track. I’m like, “I look like me guys!” I get Kendall Jenner, which I don’t really see. Selena Gomez. That GIF thing that went around was like the bane of my existence for a second. I get so many different people. Some people have said Zendaya. I don’t know. Like everyone! I apparently look like a hybrid of everyone.

Behind The Scenes: Beauty Feature

Celebrity makeup artist Mai Quynh wanted to keep the makeup palette in warm matte tones to go with the bright bold prints from the 70's vibe of the clothes.

For the eye, Mai used the Becca Ombré Rouge Eye Palette, applying the warm medium brown shade to the crease of Maia's eyes.

Dylan Penn Behind The Scenes getting her hair done

She smudged the same shade along her lower lash line, lined the upper lash line with the Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink, and winged the outer line into a cat-eye shape. Mai then applied two coats of Clinique High Impact Mascara in Black to the top and bottom lashes.

Dylan Penn Behind THe Scenes getting her makeup done

Dylan Penn Behind The Scenes getting lipstick applied

To complete the look for Maia’s skin and complexion, Mai moisturized the skin with Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer and La Mer Lip Balm. Then she applied Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation in Suntan using a damp beauty blender sponge. Mai dotted and blended the Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen in Peach Glow underneath her eyes. She then set her face using YSL Poudre Compacte Radiance in #4. Lastly, Mai dusted Kevyn Aucoin Powder Blush in Natura to the apples of her cheeks using the Nars Yachiyo Kabuki Brush.

For Maia’s lips, Mai mixed the Make Up For Ever Flash Color Palette in 902, combining rosewood, pink brown and sienna to her lips.

Dylan Penn Behind The Scenes getting her hair done

Dylan Penn Behind The Scenes getting blush on her cheeks

Maia’s hairstyle was created by hair guru Derek Yuen and was inspired by an effortless, lived-in street style. To create this look, Derek started by spraying Bumble & Bumble Tonic Lotion to dampen the hair and prepare for styling. After combing through, he layered a nickel sized amount of Bumble & Bumble's Bb. Texture Creme and distributed that evenly throughout. Then he started to dry the hair by using his hands and tossing the hair gently back and forth to create texture, separation, and lift.

Once the hair was dry, Derek used a 1-inch Marcel iron to create some more defined waves around the front and randomly throughout the hair. To finish the look, Derek sprayed Bumble & Bumble's Bb. CitySwept Finish, to break up the hair and add a little bit of sheen towards the ends. To ensure the hair lasted all day, he put label.m Resurrection Style Dust at the roots and shook up the hair with his hands.

Dylan Penn Behind the Scenes getting work from hair and makeup


  • Photographer: Justin Campbell
  • Photo Assistant: Michael Preman
  • Stylist: Monty Jackson
  • Hair: Derek Yuen
  • Makeup: Mai Quynh
  • Writer: Nicole Pajer
  • Editor: David Niederhoffer
  • Web Producer: Chris Choi


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