When Oliva Kate Iatridis was 13, she knew she wanted to be an actor.
Growing up, her mom used to take her to talent auditions just for fun. Soon, Iatridis said, being on the big screen was her ambition.
"I told my mom at 13, like, 'I am going to be an actress, so there's nothing you can do to stop me,'" she said. It was a statement her mom was very supportive of.
"She's the best. And she totally was like, 'Absolutely. You know, if that's what you want, it's what you're gonna do.'"
Ever since then, the Inuvialuit actor has been auditioning and working her way up.
Recently, she got her first taste of being on a major network television show that features Hilary Swank.
"Things are going good the last couple years," Iatridis said.
Iatridis was raised in Yellowknife, but her family roots are in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., and she now lives in Vancouver.
The CTV series she's starring in is called Alaska Daily, a show that got the attention of people in the North back in September, when the crew travelled to Dettah, N.W.T., to film.
It follows the journey of Eileen Fitzgerald — played by Swank — an award-winning investigative journalist who "leaves her high-profile New York life behind after a fall from grace to join a daily metro newspaper in Anchorage," the show's website says.
Iatridis, an Inuvialuit actor, said getting into character is one of her favourite aspects of acting.
"I think it's so amazing how everybody is so unique. We all do things so differently, we react differently to things. So when I'm building a character, it's really important to me at least to just find their tics and how they respond to things rather than how I would respond to things," she said.
"Sometimes you build these characters, and you become really attached to them."
For the character she played in Alaska Daily, she auditioned for a few characters, but the one she was cast in just stuck, she said. In the plot line, Iatridis' character is one of several victims being taken advantage of and is the spark that helps other victims come forward.
"I think this character has a special place in my heart, just obviously because of the scope of this show," Iatridis said.
"I think she's an admirable character, and inspires me as a person to be brave like her."
But what's even bigger to her, Iatridis said, is the fact it's the first time she's heard a show mention the phrase "murdered and missing Indigenous women".
"I mean, right in the first episode. So I feel like the show is just unique in that sense. It's really the first of its kind to be so just like raw and real about the issues that Indigenous people face," she said.
"And to be filmed partly in Yellowknife, and even Alaska, I think, creates just something that Indigenous people can connect to."
Iatridis said it's a huge honour to be part of it.
"It's really a kind of a trailblazing type show. And not only is it a large network show, but the message behind it is absolutely the biggest honour to be a part of and I totally preach it as well."