Mark Coles Smith is happy to be an inspiration to young Indigenous people

''I feel blessed!''

This isn’t just Mark Coles Smith’s first TV WEEK Gold Logie nomination. It’s his first Logies, in every way.

“I’ve never attended a Logies, I’ve never watched a Logies, so I feel like a deer in the headlights,” he admits. “Everything is a new experience and I feel like I’m being invited into an incredibly glamorous world to celebrate Australian television.”

But Mark, the star of Mystery Road: Origin, isn’t new to TV. Having grown up on a cattle station near Broome in WA, he got his start in the industry at 14 when his aunt took him along to an audition for 2003 kids’ series Ocean Star and he scored a major role.

From there, he went on to shows such as Blue Heelers and The Circuit, moving to Melbourne to further his career.

He starred in four seasons of Canadian drama Hard Rock Medical, sometimes shooting in temperatures that fell to as low as minus 20 degrees.

“I could no longer pronounce the words because my lips had frozen over!” the 36-year-old remembers.

Not only is this Mark’s first Logie nomination, it’s his first-ever Logies. (Image: Paule Suesse)

Fans of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell got to see Mark playing the Detective Jay Swan character in Mystery Road parody Curiosity Cul-De-Sac before he was cast as a young Jay in Mystery Road: Origin.

“To spend almost two years taking the mickey out of a wonderful series and then to be invited into actually taking on that lead role was really unorthodox,” Mark says with a laugh.

For Mark, taking on that lead role, originated by Aaron Pedersen, was a big responsibility.

“I was very nervous,” he admits. “I knew not only how well Aaron had done in carrying that character and that universe, but also how invested Australian audiences were in his portrayal.”

Mark is nominated alongside six other Aussie stars. (Image: Paule Suesse)

As his Gold Logie nomination proves, Mark was the right choice to fill Aaron’s boots. He says an exciting new season of Mystery Road: Origin is “on the horizon”.

“We’re going to take advantage of that momentum,” he adds.

After 10 years of living in Melbourne, Mark is now based back home in the Kimberley region. When he’s not starring in TV dramas, or doing the voiceover for Network 10 factual series The Dog House, he’s spending time with his community.

Having previously worked as a youth support officer and a foster-care officer, he plans to continue working with young people, who are excited by his work in TV.

“In my conversations with them, I can be like, ‘Well, you can do this too. It’s hard work and you’ve got to have the passion there,'” he explains.

“I hope I’m an inspiration. To be an inspiration to others is a profoundly beautiful thing. Our young mob deserve to feel inspired, so if I can be a part of that, I feel blessed.”

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