markella kavanagh

You might know Markella Kavanagh from her stint in “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” but this rising star isn’t just limited to Middle Earth.

Nope, she’s been killing it in a whole bunch of other projects too. From indie flicks to edgy TV shows, Kavanagh is quickly making a name for herself as one of the most versatile actors of her generation. And with the kind of talent she’s packing, there’s no telling where she’ll go next.

One of her latest endeavors is the Stan Original Series “Bad Behaviour,” directed by the talented Corrie Chen and based on the memoir by Rebecca Starford. The show tackles the brutal and lifelong effects of high school bullying, and is led by a formidable all-female creative team. Kavanagh takes on the role of Portia, a wealthy and powerful young woman who is untouchable in her pursuit for social dominance.


In “Bad Behaviour,” we’re taken back to the cutthroat world of high school, where only the most ruthless come out on top. Despite being a decade removed from her school years, when Jo (Jana Mckinnon) finds herself unable to escape the long-lasting effects of bullying. When Portia unexpectedly reenters her life, the stakes are raised and Jo is forced to confront the ghosts of her past.

Kavanagh’s performance as Portia is nothing short of breathtaking. She embodies the character’s cool and collected demeanor with ease, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats with every calculated move. As Jo becomes increasingly entangled in Portia’s web of manipulation, Kavanagh’s talent shines through, making for an unforgettable performance.

We sat down for an engaging conversation with rising star Markella Kavanagh about her captivating performance in “Bad Behaviour” – a must-see for fans of nuanced storytelling and powerful acting.

markella bad education

Happy: Portia is intensely complex and powerful, how did you prepare for the role?

Markella: A lot of the preparation came from building a really solid backstory – her childhood and the experiences that she’s had, her relationships with her parents and her family. I also had a music playlist for her. 

Happy: How does the series compare to school in general?

Markella: Thematically, there are elements of the story that we can all hopefully relate to in some way, whether it be navigating high school friendships, navigating friendships that you form in high school and have lasted many years, how you’ve grown with them or perhaps you’ve outgrown each other and what that looks like. So hopefully people can relate to one or the other in some way.

Happy: Can you talk about Portia’s decision-making process in the story, and how it relates to the theme of bullying?

Markella: Portia divides the group and it helps her feel like she’s in control. That’s something quite interesting at that age – or at any age really – but for these girls, so much feels out of their control, like knowing who they can trust. And so for Portia, it’s about regaining a sense of control over the unknown. And that’s her cunning, calculated, toxic way of navigating the group’s dynamics.

Happy: How do you think the story addresses the issue of bullying and the impact it can have on individuals and communities?

Markella: It’s something that I think is really interesting because it can affect individuals for many, many years after. I think we all kind of know that it can, but to actually see the ramifications of behaviours that are left unchecked or that haven’t been addressed. You can see what the direct consequences of that are. It can also exist in all sorts of forms, from emotional manipulation to more physical harm. And so I think it’s just really addressing the fact that it’s not just during a finite period of time and that it should be taken seriously regardless of age and stage of your life.

Happy: How do you think your character’s actions and decisions reflect on the broader societal issues surrounding bullying?

Markella: I think it’s important to discuss the ramifications of people not feeling like they have a support network and what a support network looks like. Whether it be family, whether it be friends, whether it be mental health support. It’s important to make sure that none of that is stigmatized and that people feel comfortable being vulnerable with someone.

Happy: What are you up to today/what’s a day like for you?

If I’m filming, then I’ll come home, eat and sleep. Perhaps I might watch something. But if I’m not filming, then it depends on the day. My day will often involve some kind of preparation for work or maybe some writing and reading and spending time with friends.

Happy: And when you’re home in Australia, what do you love about where you live?

I love the food here, and I love how grounded it is in Australia. Everyone is lovely, and I miss my friends and so I love seeing them. Markella: I love seeing my family and I love Summers in Australia. It’s such a lovely time to be at the beach.

Happy: Describe your average work day

It’s different depending on what I’m doing. But when I’m filming, I’ll get up and go to the film set, and when I come back I eat and then sleep as much as I can. 

Happy: What would be your ultimate day?

Markella: Probably a road trip. I love a good road trip with friends and loved ones, blasting some music and then going somewhere and reading and maybe a swim. Just a really nice relaxed road trip.

Happy: What did you read or watch growing up that fuelled your passion for acting?

Markella: There’s a film called Bicycle Thieves which definitely fuelled my love for acting and storytelling. And then I also watched Shoplifters more recently, it had such an impact on me. I had no idea where it was going to go and it reignited a love for writing and filmmaking as well. 

Happy: What did you read or watch last that opened your eyes and mind to a new perspective?

Markella: It’s funny, normally I will look up what happens in a film before I go and see it. I don’t know why I always do that but I like to be able to watch it for the actor’s perspective or to try and see how the filmmaker wanted to tell the story. I don’t want to be distracted by what the story actually is. And so the last film I saw where I didn’t do that was Everything Everywhere All At Once and I just had no idea what to expect and it surprised me at every turn throughout the film. I hadn’t seen anything like it in a while and so I think that just inspired me in a way. I hadn’t quite seen a film like that structurally and so it inspired me in that way too.

Happy: What kind of things do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Markella: I love reading, I love writing or going to see a film. I do love still going to the cinema when I can. And chilling, going for walks, spending time with friends.

Happy: Most importantly, what makes you happy?

Markella: Being able to do what I love and seeing people I care about happy. Seeing them do what they love.

With a stunning all-female creative team and a cast of talented young actresses, “Bad Behaviour” is a must-see show that tackles difficult themes with nuance and skill. Make sure to tune in to Stan from February 17 to catch Kavanagh’s unforgettable performance in “Bad Behaviour.”

Check out the trailer below: