Modern Miss

Online TV show ‘KateModern’ has made a star of Tara Rushton. She tells Dan Poole about becoming a success in the UK.

Now, I’m no fuddy-duddy (or am I if I’m using phrases like “fuddyduddy”?) but when I first heard the words “interactive multimedia drama” I thought it meant that somebody was dishing out a very personal beating to their broken computer. I was quickly taken to one side by a clued-up colleague,who explained that in fact it was the latest form of online entertainment, involving “webisodes” that last for between three and five minutes and are watched on your computer.

It all started in America with LonelyGirl15, an online series which created such a stir that the New York Times ended up investigating whether or not the videos were real. The same team are behind the UK version,KateModern, which airs on the social-networking site Bebo and is now in its second series, which clocked up roughly 3 million hits in its first nine days.

How very interesting, I thought to myself (as I stroked my long beard and adjusted my comfy slippers). Keen to investigate further, I dusted downmy computer to watch a few episodes – sorry, webisodes – and was soon getting involved with the escapades of Gavin, Julia and Steve. However, it wasn’t long before I identified someone who definitely needed to be called upon for further questioning about this internet phenomenon: Tara Rushton.

“People say it’s a little bit like Lost and a little bit like Skins,” explains the really rather lovely Rushton (who plays Charlie in the show) in her broad, Australian accent.“It is based on five 20-somethings who live in East London and it documents their lives.

But there is kind of a sci-fi,mystery element that underlines the whole story because we’re trying to find Kate’s killer.”

Yes indeed: Kate Modern herself was killed off at the start of the second series; a bit of a bold move you might think, but the format of the show means it is constantly breaking new ground.“You can interact with the story, talk to the characters, comment on the plot – we get feedback all the time,” explains Rushton.

“What I find so interesting is the fact that people are coming together and discussing the show, but they’re also coming together to discuss things that lie outside of the show that affect them. People actually come to you on Bebo and share their experiences and they feel like they’ve got a place to do that. It’s the way that communication is going.”

Rushton herself is planning on going places, but equally interesting is finding out where she’s been. Back in Australia she studied a diploma in journalism before doing a degree in media and communications at Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales.“ We looked at public representation in the media, including things like film studies. We did a lot about the way Asian nationalities have been represented in Australia, how that carries over to today and the role that media plays in that.”

Did she enjoy it? “We had to constantly churn out work – it was really intense.We had to do a lot of presentations but lots of essays too, like, loads of essays! I actually enjoy essays though – I feel that there’s that whole pressure with exams, while essays are more personal. With exams I feel a lot of pressure, a constant strain, and getting through that freaks me out a bit!”

Initially – as you might be able to guess from what she studied – Rushton was keen on getting into journalism, but having done internships at various Australian magazines, she decided it wasn’t for her. She ended up getting into modelling for a year and a half, a profession that took her everywhere from America and Thailand to Germany and the UK.

It was while she was in London that she got an audition for KateModern, almost as soon as she touched down. “I got bored of modelling,”Rushton says. “Coming over to London and getting such a great opportunity was perfect, as it kind of gave me a chance to re-evaluate.With the people I’ve met and working on the show, I feel so lucky to be doing what I’m doing – I’m living my dream!”

As for her future plans, Rushton has already taking courses in singing and vocal technology and will soon be learning about the Stanislawski method of acting at City Lit adult-learning college. Having found a career she enjoys, Rushton seems determined to make her name in it.“I’d like to be able to pop over to LA to have meetings with agents there, and just generally see what’s around,” she says.“In London it is so competitive – you really have to fight for it. It’s really difficult but it’s like that in every industry – you’ve just got to persevere.” Exactly what you’d hope to hear from an interactive multimedia actor.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + + uncapped commission + benefits: SThree: Did you ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + benefits + uncapped commission: SThree: Did you kn...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Web Developer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions