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While she admits she was a bit nervous on Day 1, she said everyone in the cast and crew soon made her feel comfortable and at home when she arrived on set. She works with an acting coach, veteran TV thespian Tom Carey, and says she has also learned valuable tips acting opposite co-stars Shaun Johnston, Morgan and Amber Marshall, who plays lead Amy Fleming.
The admiration is mutual. Marshall says Ava is one of the most prepared actors she has ever worked with, despite being relatively new to the craft.
“She completely blew me away this season,” Marshall says. “She had so much dialogue and tricky dialogue, too. Her character is very wise beyond her years. Ava would come to set, she would know all her lines, she would know what direction she wanted her character to go in. She really impressed us.”
Ava joined a Calgary talent agency in 2019, inspired by a younger sister who had gotten into acting before her.
“She asked for an audition with the same agency that her sister was with,” says Ava’s mother, Melissa Tran. “I humoured her. I wasn’t going to deny her the experience that I had given her sister. Running through the lines with her, I was like ‘Wow, she’s actually quite good.’ They really liked her audition and took her into the agency right away.”
The same agency now represents all three Tran siblings, including Ava’s nine-year-old and six-year-old sisters.
As for her future plans, Ava says she wants to continue acting but would also like to be a flight attendant on the side.
Her friends at school were suitably excited to see Ava on screen for the first time last Sunday, even if it was only in one scene. As with everyone else involved in the show, Ava had to keep the shocking death of Ty a secret. Not a problem. She says she has no trouble staying mum on plot points no matter how curious her friends may get.
“I just tell them, which is kind of obvious, that I’m going to be a new character and not any of the backstory or anything until I’m allowed to,” she says.
Heartland airs Sundays on CBC.