The pampered, bratty Layla Habib (inspired by Kylie Jenner from Keeping up with the Kardashians), could not be further from the down to earth and hard working Kat Hoyos. Taking on the role of Layla in Here Come The Habibs is Kat’s big break into television.
When Here Come The Habibs first hit our screens, it sparked controversy about the characterisation and potential ‘stereotyping’ of a wealthy Lebanese-Australian family moving from the West into Australia’s richest suburb.
Kat spoke to us about the true value of the show, her health routine and how to make it in show biz.
Tell me about ‘Here Comes The Habibs’
“We are the underdog. We had to prove the public wrong. We have come out and said ‘its not what you thought it was’. In fact, it is a positive message that we bring to Australian society.”
Has the public accepted you now that they have seen it?
“The ratings speak for themselves. Not to mention the feedback and community response have been so overwhelming. The public are so happy and positive about the show because they can relate to it.
We have heard that families will go around to each other’s houses. They will have a meal, watch the show and just laugh because they can relate to it. That is the point of the show. We want to bring families back together.”
How is the show a step forward in Australian TV?
“We don’t see this kind of diversity on TV at the moment. The title of the show is Here Comes The Habibs not Here Comes The Smiths or Here Comes The Jones’s That sums up how it is a show with a difference, which is exciting. We know we have done our job and we know that people talk, which has caused the fan base to not stop spreading and spreading. Now, we have a second series, and with an already huge support behind us we hope that the love of the show will just keep growing.”
Other than stalking ‘The Kardashians’, how did you prepare to become Layla? Do you know anyone like her?
“It is about understanding a lifestyle. I grew up with girls like Layla. I went to school out West and a lot of my friends were from different cultural backgrounds. I worked in hospitality and met a lot of people like her and watched them. One thing I enjoy about acting is it gives you an excuse to be a people watcher.”
When did you start performing? What made you want to be in entertainment?
“Mum put me into dance class initially, and during school I leaned towards creative subjects. When I came to year 12 my mum said “I don’t care what you do at university but you need to get a degree”. That is when I decided I wanted to venture further into acting. I did three years of acting and one year of full time dance. I had clearly made my choice. From then on I was like dead set, let’s go!”
What is your fitness philosophy?
“Dancing is a huge part of my life so that also contributes to my fitness. I go to the gym a few times a week to keep up with conditioning which helps to ensure that I am structurally aligned.
Massage is also very important for me, I always try to get at least one a month. It is like getting an oil change. You are able to put your body back into alignment and work all of those stresses out.
I also love yoga and Pilates. Keeping your body moving in different ways is the best way to stay fit. If you are always doing the bicep curl you won’t train other parts of your body. When I dance I work out my whole body, in yoga I am stretching, in Pilates I am working on technique.
The best advice is to be consistent and versatile in your fitness regime.”
What advice do you have for young girls wanting to go into the performing arts?
“Be resilient and be confident in what you want to do. If you truly believe that this is your thing then put in the work 100%. Don’t expect to become famous just like that. My end goal has never been to be famous, but instead it is to continue to work in the industry.
This industry is all about opinions. People will ask “How is this person? What is she like to work with?”. If they say “Actually she is a diva,” you give yourself a reputation and will never get work again. Present yourself as a committed and hardworking person who shows up on time. Put your head down and focus on the work.
Be ready for the rejection. Know that it is not always about you, it could be something totally out of your power. That role may not be the right one for you. There is a higher plan that you have to trust in. Just keep working. “
What is next for you? Hollywood?
“I am doing Xanadu in April at the hays theatre going back to musical theatre. Then series two of Here Comes The Habibs is on the cards. For any Australian it would be awesome to tackle Hollywood because the reality is that there is more work there unfortunately. I would love to go to Broadway and give that a go. I would also love to gain some experience in film and TV in LA. I want to be better and keep striving for more. The more you work and the higher the calibre of what you produce the more you can experiment with passion projects like producing or doing choreography.
Basically my goal is to go to Hollywood and become Hugh Jackman, which seems achievable.”
Whether it is Here Comes The Habibs or Hollywood, we will definitely be seeing more of this talented performer.
Here Comes The Habibs runs on Tuesday at 8.30pm on Channel 9.
Find out more about Kat here.