Mixtape Cast Talks Diving In The 90s For Netflix (EXCLUSIVE)

We spoke with the three stellar revelations of The Mixtape, Gemma Brooke Allen, Olga Petsa, and Audrey Hsieh.
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If you’re looking for a feel-good, family-friendly, heartwarming movie, Mixtape on Netflix might be just what you’re looking for. Set in 1999, Mixtape follows the story of Beverly (Gemma Brooke Allen), a young girl who lives with her grandmother (Julie Bowen). One day, Beverly discovers a mixtape that her parents made before they died. Through this playlist, and with the help of her two friends, Nicky, (Olga Petsa) and Ellen (Audrey Hsieh) Beverly will get to know more about her parents and about herself.


We spoke with the three stellar revelations of Mixtape, Gemma Brooke Allen, Olga Petsa, and Audrey Hsieh.

How did you and Julie Bowen prepare to create the relationship between Beverly and her grandma Gail? 


Gemma Brooke Allen: We did a few zoom rehearsals to practice the scenes together, but honestly chemistry-wise, there wasn’t a lot to do we just hit it off and had that chemistry on and offset. Val worked with me a lot on preparing for the role in general and had me watch some movies and talk about Beverly and what she was going through. 

Mixtape. (L-R) Gemma Brooke Allen as Beverly, Julie Bowen as Gail in Mixtape. Cr. Jake Giles Netter/Netflix © 2021

I love Ellen so much, and her relationship to her little brother Justin is so unique, especially the “Double/Stare Daring ” game they have together. If you were to “Stare-dare” someone from the cast of Mixtape, who would it be and what would you dare them to do?  

Audrey Hsieh: I would stare-dare Olga Petsa to come to LA because Gemma and I miss her so much! She lives in Canada, and I’m sad I can’t see her in person right now. 


I love the relationship Nicky has with her family, it’s very real, and it seems like a funhouse to live in. What memory do you keep from the scenes between your character and her brother Kyle?

Olga Petsa: The Jones house is indeed a fun house to live in. Full of chaos and love. I had a blast working with Anthony Timpano (Kyle), and Ben Cotton (dad). Both tremendously talented actors, and such kind, funny people. My favorite scene with them both must be the “Nicky vs Kyle” fight. I remember experimenting through that scene – how to kick Anthony, how he’ll fall, how Ben will react. I feel we did an awesome job, the scene came out both intense and fun, as we intended. I hope we cross paths again, and maybe Anthony will get a second chance to be crowned winner.

This story takes place in 1999 right before New Year’s Eve. What did you like the most about filming during this time period?


Gemma Brooke Allen: I have always dreamed about living in the 90s. It seems like it was a very fun time because I had always listened to 90s music, watched 90s movies (90s Rom-coms are my favorite), and fell in love with the era. It was super fun especially because 90s fashion is coming back in style now. 

Audrey Hsieh: I loved the clothes! We all had the privilege to work with the fabulous Miss Mona May, and she really picked out some rocking outfits! The clothes were so amazing and beautiful, it was awesome.

Olga Petsa: Older music is my jam – so taking part in a film that’s happening in the ‘90s was a dream come true. Of course, there were groups and songs I haven’t heard of before, and learning about them was so cool! I mean, The Kinks, The Quick, Girls at our best, The Stooges! My parents were dancing about in our home as I was listening to the playlist that Valerie prepared for us. I surely feel more musically educated, after this “Mixtape” journey.


What is your favorite aspect in your character?

Gemma Brooke Allen: I love a lot of things about Beverly. Her chutzpah and determination are one of my favorite things about her. Also how she lives in her own quirky imaginative little bubble and is completely herself in her own little world. 

Olga Petsa: When preparing for the role of Nicky, I realized how we have a few similarities, but one stood out immensely: Being confident in who you are. Both Nicky and I express ourselves through our music choice, clothing, hairstyles, makeup, and attitude overall. Portraying Nicky inspired me to be who I am to the fullest of my abilities. I hope she inspires other people to do and feel the same.


Who do you relate to the most in the movie, or which character do you feel the closest to?

Gemma Brooke Allen: Beverly! Because I think she’s a very relatable character in that you feel for her and everything she is going through because everyone just wants to know they are loved and liked. Also like Beverly, I can be a bit awkward and not really fit in but that’s also totally ok with me. 

What was the atmosphere like on set? Was it as fun and rock as in the movie?


Gemma Brooke Allen: So totally yes! It was such a blast working with friends my age. I never really worked on a set with friends my age and I loved it. Also, Julie and Nick are so funny and down to earth and are amazing director Val was such a mama bear and always made sure we were okay and supported us. 

Olga Petsa: From the moment we met, everyone clicked. Additionally, Valerie Weiss, our director, did a phenomenal job in bringing us all together and building that team spirit. She kept the environment positive while keeping everyone on task. Not a day passed without laughter, music, dance parties, and overall love from this set. And to top it all, Mona was there to overjoy us with amazing clothing choices that made everything even more rock.

Audrey Hsieh: The atmosphere was amazing! Everyone was incredibly nice and supportive, both the cast and crew were lovely. Everything you see on screen is exactly what happened behind the scenes. We all had so much fun!


You have some crazy cool outfits in Mixtape. What is your favorite fashion item that you wore and that you think we should bring back in 2022?

Gemma Brooke Allen: Really good question! There isn’t one thing I can pick out as my favorite. I think it should all come back, I love the 90s bucket hats, big baggy rocker tees, the gloves that costume designer Mona May made out of tights/socks and cut a hole for a thumb to look punk gloves, and the hairstyles I particularly love the twisties in the hair and wear my hair like that now all the time. 

Audrey Hsieh: Honestly, I wore a lot of berets in this movie, so I’ve kinda grown attached to them! I don’t know much about fashion, but I think people should wear more berets!


Olga Petsa: I was exhilarated from the very beginning knowing that our outfits would be 90’s style. Imagine my excitement when learning that Mona May was our costume designer! The entire costume team was exceptional. Clothing from that time seems to be the new style today – which I love!! I do believe that by 2022, 90’s style clothing will be the new normal. I particularly root for fingerless gloves, comfortable, stylish, and useful too.

Mixtape. (L-R) Gemma Brooke Allen as Beverly, Olga Petsa as Nicky, Audrey Hsieh as Ellen in Mixtape. Cr. Jake Giles Netter/Netflix © 2021

Did you keep anything from the set? Maybe your favorite piece of clothing?

Gemma Brooke Allen: Yes, I have the guitar that I played at the Y2K party, the actual mixtape, and song list, and the walkman. I also go a few clothing items from Mona May and the burgundy hat that I wore to The Voyeur. 


Audrey Hsieh: Yes, I kept a few pieces of clothing and 2 fighting mullets buttons! One of the pieces of clothing I kept was a beret.

Olga Petsa: Well, I kind of “borrowed” Nicky’s drumsticks. I didn’t keep the drums though, although I wanted to. My first-time drumming was just a few weeks before filming MIXTAPE. I had an awesome coach that taught me everything and beyond what I needed to know. Before that, I assumed that drums are meant to take your anger out on! But the more I learned, the more I recognized and appreciated the sereness it brought me. Even my dog Mr. Ron enjoyed listening to me, not so sure about my neighbors.

I loved the originality of the mixtape. What is your favorite song to dance to on this mixtape?


Gemma Brooke Allen: To DANCE to, my favorite song would be Teacher’s Pet by The Quick and Better Things by The Kinks. These are good songs to rock out to. 

Audrey Hsieh: I really like Dancing in the Moonlight, so that’s definitely my favorite song in this movie!

Olga Petsa: “Better Things” by the Kinks. There is a scene in the movie, where Ellen and Nicky dance to Better Things in front of Beverly’s home – to prove to her that better things are on their way. The dance was created by Audrey Hsieh (Ellen) and I. We improvised, experimented, and worked around the feedback we received from Valerie Weiss. I love the song, its music, but even more the lyrics and their meaning. Stay optimistic because better things are coming!


What song of the mixtape best describes your current mood?

Gemma Brooke Allen: Better Things by the Kinks because it’s positive and hopeful for the future.

Audrey Hsieh: Getting Nowhere Fast!


Olga Petsa: “Crash right through it” by Jackson Rathbone. “The whole world changed when you crashed right through it.” My whole world truly changed when MIXTAPE came out. I feel so grateful for this movie, the people involved in its making, and the fans/viewers!! With all my heart, thank you.

Have you watched Mixtape on Netflix yet? Let us know in the comments!

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Maëlle Beauget-Uhl

Written by Maëlle Beauget-Uhl

Articles Published: 97

Reporter and news writer with an educational background in broadcast journalism at the New York Film Academy and a professional background in entertainment reporting and news writing.