Meadow Kingfisher will play the character Mel on a new Treehouse pre-school cartoon series. — Submitted photo.

A 12-year-old girl from Sturgeon Lake First Nation is taking the  entertainment industry by storm, paving the way for Indigenous  representation in mainstream media and inspiring young First Nations  children all over Canada.

Meadow Kingfisher will be debuting as Mel on Treehouse’s preschool  cartoon series Builder Brothers Dream Factory, premiering in Canada on  March 26. The series is inspired by HGTV’s reality show Property  Brothers and features the show’s hosts Drew and Jonathan Scott as kids  that use their imaginations to solve problems around their  neighbourhood.

Mel is one of Drew and Jonathan’s best friends in the show and is  portrayed as Indigenous in the series. Much like Meadow herself, Mel is a  powwow dancer who loves her culture and teaching her friends about it.

“Meadow’s character Mel is such a cool kid. We have never seen an  Indigenous character like her before and we think it’s going to be so  exciting to have Indigenous representation like this in a cartoon that  we know will be wildly popular,” said Madison Kingfisher, Meadow’s mom.

Madison mentioned that her husband Harlan, who grew up in Sturgeon  Lake First Nation, became emotional when he realized what a huge step  this is in terms of mainstream media representation and how much  something like this would have meant to him as a child.

“Every kid who sees Mel in this show is going to think she’s the  coolest,” continued Madison. “How amazing is that going to be for  Indigenous children, to have someone who looks like them, who talks like  them, and who shares similar cultural experiences as them, be this  amazing inspiring character in a cartoon.”

Meadow said she loves the character she’s playing because she feels  like it’s someone a lot of Indigenous kids are going to look up to.

“I’ve never seen an Indigenous girl on a Treehouse cartoon before and  it’s really cool for me to be playing her,” said Meadow. “I love it so  much.”

Meadow has been a dancer almost her entire life and only recently got  into acting two years ago. After her mom saw a call out for Indigenous  artists on Instagram, Meadow’s mom filmed her performing a lyrical solo  in the living room of their Edmonton home and submitted it. The casting  director, moved by how much emotion was in Meadow’s performance, asked  if Meadow would be interested in acting instead of dancing, and the rest  is history.

“We hadn’t really considered acting,” said Madison. “You always kind  of assume, living in Edmonton, there’s not a lot of acting jobs. We  didn’t realize we could travel so much for it, or that there would be  interest in flying Meadow around to different jobs.”

Meadow has an agent that’s based in Vancouver and was the one that  encouraged her to audition for Mel. Following that audition, Meadow  participated in a Zoom callback, which landed her the role that she’s  been working on for a year.

Meadow’s first acting job was a short story and music video called  The Meeting Place, which can be viewed at Fort Edmonton Park. Two years  ago, Meadow booked the lead role in a feature film called The Beehive  that is set to premier this year. The family just recently arrived home  from Greece, where Meadow filmed a supporting lead role in another  feature film that is being prepared to submit to the Cannes Film  Festival.

The dedicated 12-year-old has been doing three to four auditions a  week for roles across Canada and the world and hopes she’s able to  continue doing what she loves for the rest of her life.

“I just love acting on set, meeting different actors and telling stories,” said Meadow. “It’s so much fun.”

Acting has opened lots of opportunities for Meadow and her family and  inspired her younger siblings to join her in the industry too. Meadow  is the second oldest of four children, with the youngest three  represented by the same agent. Her older brother isn’t a performer but  loves to play hockey, said Madison.

Performing has always been a huge part of Meadow’s life. From the  time she was a baby, dancing in the living room and singing Disney  songs, to going up on stage for dance competitions as a child. Madison  said her daughter was shy growing up but performing brought her out of  her shell.

“She’d go up on stage and have this giant personality where she would  be performing her little heart out, it was amazing to watch that  transformation,” recalled Madison. “Through dancing, she stopped being  that shy little girl that she used to be when she was a preschooler; it  made her so confident.”

While the family was only able to share the news of Meadow’s role as  Mel a few days ago, Madison said there has been an outpouring of support  from everyone in Sturgeon Lake.

“Everybody from the community is sharing stories about it, sharing my  husband’s [Facebook] post about it and just really cheering her on,”  said Madison. “They’re really excited to have somebody from their  community represent them on such a big scale.”

By: Bailey Sutherland, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald