Marisa Abela is settling into the world of professional actress. The young star, who made her major screen debut early in the pandemic with HBO series “Industry,” is finally getting to lean into the journey of an up-and-comer. Last week, ahead of the show’s season finale on Monday, she marked an appearance at New York Fashion Week off the list, joining Chloe Fineman and Evan Mock at Bergdorf Goodman’s Good Night party.
The second season of “Industry” represents an even bigger breakout moment for the young actress, with her character given one of the main arcs of the season. Abela describes this new season as “a bit savvier” and “concentrated” than the first. On a personal level the 25-year-old actress notes that she approached her character, the multilingual and cultured Yasmin who makes a pivot from sales to wealth management, with more nuance this season.
“We were shooting this time in a pandemic, which we weren’t last time. That was very different,” says Abela. “We [the cast] were seeing each other a little bit less, and I was also seeing them less on set because Yasmin’s storyline doesn’t have as much to do with Harper and Robert this time around,” she adds. “So I found that I had more time by myself, so I was working maybe more in solitude — which isn’t a bad lesson to learn.”
Unlike season one, which was released concurrently in the states and U.K., the series premiered on HBO in early August, with a BBC release date yet to be announced. In addition to friends and family reaching out to congratulate her, Abela says she tends to hear the most reaction from a specific niche of the show’s fan base: bankers. “I saw a message [recently] from someone on Instagram who said she worked in London and in New York at a bank, and she was like, I see so many of the people that I used to work with in Yasmin. So that’s really nice,” she says. “Yasmin’s world is quite exclusive. So I think people resonate with that, if she’s speaking about certain restaurants or certain holidays that she’s been on and people can pinpoint these places, whether it’s in Saint-Tropez or London.”
It wasn’t a world that Abela grew up within herself — she spent her childhood in the theater observing her mother, a stage actress, at work.
“I spent a lot of time in the theater when she couldn’t get a babysitter. So I spent a lot of time in her dressing room or backstage,” says Abela. “And I didn’t necessarily think I was gonna go into [acting] myself. I thought it was quite a scary career choice.”
It wasn’t until she was looking into going to university that she realized acting gave her that “aha” feeling. She was on campus touring University of London when she decided to visit Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, on the same block. “As soon as I walked in I saw this portrait of Alan Rickman and students running that I was like, oh, this is that feeling thing that everyone’s been talking about. So I knew I had to apply, and then I did and I got in, and I really never thought about it again.”
Next, viewers can catch Abela in the film “She Is Love,” slated to come out next month. In addition to a potential third season of “Industry,” the actress has been rumored to be a frontrunner to play Amy Winehouse in a biopic about the singer’s life. And next summer, Abela will appear in Greta Gerwig’s much-anticipated “Barbie” film, which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the iconic plastic couple.
“I’m not allowed to say anything about it,” says Abela of her role. “But it was a really great opportunity and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes,” she added. “I think it’s gonna be something incredibly special.”