Rising Star — Meet Kiawenti:io Tarbell from Anne with an E
Her first audition ever and she got the role
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Claim to fame
Kiawenti:io Tarbell is the newest star of CBC’s hit show, Anne with an E.
She plays Ka’kwet, a Mi’kmaq girl who befriends Anne.
When asked to describe her character, Kiawenti:io was all smiles. She’s “feisty, strong and warm,” she said.
Believe it or not, this was her first audition, and she landed the role.
Kiawenti:io’s mom was the first to know about her new part, but quickly other family members found out, too.
“So I called my friends and told them. I was still kind of bawling, and then we got in the car and we went to [see] my family, because they live so close…. We basically opened the door and shouted ‘I got the part!’ ”
She carried that excitement to the set.
Kiawenti:io Tarbell acted alongside Amybeth McNulty, who plays Anne. (CBC)
Kiawenti:io described the experience as fun and crazy.
“Being on the show was something I never, absolutely never, thought I would do. I loved it,” she said.
In one scene, Kiawenti:io runs down a snowy hill with the lead character Anne to see their reflections in icy water.
Kiawenti:io said that moment was one of her favourites because it involved a lot of tripping and falling.
“In the early 19th century, their shoes were not very grippy. They were banana skins basically, and we were running down that hill and I fell quite a lot!”
Speaking of falling, Kiawenti:io has fallen in love with acting and hopes to continue in the future.
As an Indigenous actor, she is happy that a character like Ka’kwet is being included in the show.
Kiawenti:io, who speaks Mohawk, had to learn lots about Mi’kmaq culture in order to play the role, including language and tradition. (CBC)
Kiawenti:io said she’s especially grateful that Moira Walley-Backett, the showrunner, included the actual history of Canada at the time that Anne with an E is set, which is the late 1800s.
“It was true that Mi'kmaq were living on Prince Edward Island,” she said.
“[Walley-Backett] really wanted to include every bit of history.”
Kiawentio:io and the character of Ka’kwet are introducing a whole new generation of Anne of Green Gables fans to the historical realities of the time.
Advice to teens who love to act
“Do not be afraid of making mistakes, try your hardest and be brave.”
Catch Kiawenti:io’s acting debut in Anne with an E on Gem, and on CBC every Sunday at 8 p.m.