16-year-old Indiana Massara never intended on making a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Originally from Australia, Massara moved to Los Angeles to be with her mother and brother, an actor. Over the course of a few months, Massara left her home and faced the unknown, starting a new school, meeting new people, and building a new life. After being asked to audition for an acting job alongside her brother, the entertainment industry found her, and Massara’s career took off; she began actively pursuing acting and music as a career. Now, Massara has been named one of KISSFM’s youngest New Next Up Artists.
At a young age, Massara always had a passion for musical theater and singing. However, she never thought of pursuing music as a career until a couple of years ago when she began recording and releasing music as an independent artist. While acting, music became a creative outlet that allowed Massara to embrace her identity and be authentic. Massara reflects, “Music’s been more of a creative outlet for me because when acting, somebody else is directing you, while songwriting and music are purely you. You can say what you want to say. The beat can sound like what you want it to sound like. You can sing it the way you want to sing it. It’s very much you.” As Massara has continued to write and release music, she has been able to work with seasoned producers and writers that have been behind countless hits and chart-toppers. Their advice to a rising star: “to be confident and speak up.” Massara continues, “Just because you’re new doesn’t mean that you don’t know what you are doing or you aren’t good.”
Music’s been more of a creative outlet for me because when acting, somebody else is directing you, while songwriting and music are purely you. You can say what you want to say. The beat can sound like what you want it to sound like. You can sing it the way you want to sing it. It’s very much you.
In addition to music, Massara is a familiar face on the Brat digital network on YouTube, staring as Rooney in Chicken Girls and Attaway Appeal. Massara was one of the original Brat family members, joining the network as “Rooney” in Attaway Appeal, one of Brat’s first series, in July of 2017. After starring on Attaway Appeal, Massara’s character, “Rooney,” was written into Chicken Girls and Massara was asked to return. Massara has since been featured in all four seasons of the show, whose views average over 5 million views per episode. Since Brat’s quick rise to popularity, as Brat’s following grew, Massara’s fame grew as well. Recognizing her influence on her fans, with a dedicated fanbase of over 1 million on Instagram alone known as the “Indicators,” Massara tells us, “Joining Brat has shown me how important social media can be and how it is also a really big responsibility. It showed me how important it can be to use social media correctly. Like when I had 3000 followers, it didn’t really matter if and when or what I posted. Now it does, and you have to make sure that it’s the right kind of message that you’re putting out and that it’s authentic to you.”
From acting and producing music to creating YouTube content for subscribers, Massara hopes to continue to remind her fans to “be you and work extremely hard. Hard work will get you to climb over mountains. If you work hard enough to get what you want, it’ll eventually happen.”
In the last three months, you released three songs: “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Over It,” and “Run You Down.” In general, how would you describe these songs and the style of your music?
So these were all really different for me because these are all projects outside of my normal stuff. “I Think We’re Alone Now” is a cover that I did because I wanted to show younger generations a song that is 32 or 33 years old. “Over It” was part of the Chicken Girls show, so it’s not something that I would normally be doing, but it was kinda fun because I was doing it with my two friends Annie and Aliyah. And then “Run You Down” was actually one of the first releases that I had a really major part in writing, so that was really, really cool to put out there.
So with all of these song releases, how have your fans, the Indicators, reacted so far?
I think they like it! I think it’s been cool because they’ve been able to see a little bit of a different side to me before, a different, happier side of me, while all of the stuff that I’m writing and recording now is a little bit edgier and a little bit newer.
Where do you find the inspiration for your songs and what topics do you like to explore in your music?
I like to explore absolutely anything, and inspiration can come at any moment from anything. You know, you could just be in the shower and something could just pop in your head or you can go from life experiences. A concept that you think could be dope for a song can come from anywhere.
You star in Brat’s “Chicken Girls” and “Attaway Appeal.” Can you describe your character, Rooney, and any similarities between herself and you?
Yeah, I definitely see similarities between Rooney and me. She likes photography, I like photography, I think it’s really fun! Similarities between us… I think definitely the way we react to situations can kind of be similar. Like we’re not very overdramatic about things, and we also just follow what we feel despite what people think is right or wrong.
So about a month ago you hit 1 million followers on Instagram! Congratulations! How did you develop your personal style and aesthetic and curate your feed, especially with your killer red theme?
Back in September of 2017 at the end of summer, I was really liking the color red and I remember in Brandy Melville, one of their sections in the store was color coordinated, and I bought like three or four red pieces from them. I would nonstop wear it and themes [on Instagram] were very in. I wanted to do one, but I didn’t want to do black and white or one that somebody’s done, and I’d never seen a red theme being done before, so I just came out with the red theme. It has kind of just stuck.
Since acquiring such a large following and social presence, what lessons have you learned?
Definitely to not care or to make sure that what you’re doing is for you, which can be really hard. You know, sometimes you are having a bad day and you just don’t want to post, but then that’s not fair because you’re in your position because of what your fans have given and what they do for you. So it can be a little bit difficult sometimes, but it’s been a really, really positive experience so far.
With social media, how do you like to use your platform to promote positivity to your followers and fans?
I think it’s more like if I ever see hate comments, I never let it get to me; I’m just like “whatever, bye.” You just remind them that that’s not cool, and you should be doing something better than spreading all that hate when there’s already enough of it in the world. But I try and just tell them to be themselves. I think that’s the most important part. It’s not necessarily about spreading a message like “Be happy, be strong.” Sometimes you don’t have to be happy 24/7, as long as you’re being you and as long as you’re happy in what you’re doing.
STORY JANICE KIM
PHOTOS KRISSY SALEH