Population 11 star Perry Mooney

Perry Mooney is one to watch in the new Ben Feldman TV show, Population 11

We chat to the First Nations star who plays Cassie in the new must-see crime comedy.

Glowing in a gold custom-made designer dress while posing for photos with an A-list Hollywood star, actor Perry Mooney (she/they) is the picture of elegance and beauty at the Population 11 premiere. 

But there was a time when Mooney wasn’t so confident. When her understanding of beauty was moulded by euro-centric beauty standards. When she was told her darker skin or hair weren’t considered beautiful. 

As a Yuwi person from Mackay with South Sea Islander heritage stemming from the Solomon Islands, they didn’t see a lot of people who looked like them on the screen. So, to now be one of the main characters in Stan’s new crime comedy, Population 11, means more than just red carpet glam. They’re part of a shift towards greater First Nations representation on Australian screens. 

Speaking to Missing Perspectives, Mooney reflects on her journey of coming into her own and feeling the confidence to be in front of the camera – first as a model, and then as an actor. 

“I think my journey with understanding myself as a person has played a huge part in that [career progression],” says Mooney. “And the only way you can learn about yourself is by doing things you're not well-versed in.” 

Since getting her start in modelling when she was 19 after auditioning for a community show in Brisbane, Mooney has gone on to forge a successful career in the space and walked at Australian Fashion Week. 

“I didn’t want to be a model initially,” says Mooney. “I started doing it and was a bit nervous about it but the more I did it, the more I learned and the more I understood about how I behave in environments with people I don't know.” 

When Mooney was approached for the role of Cassie in Population 11, she was wrapping up filming of her breakout acting role in ABC’s Gold Diggers and initially said no to the audition. After her agent told her that the team behind the show were particularly keen on her, she decided to film an audition tape. Looking back, she has no regrets about taking the role. 

“Having no idea what I was going to expect and then just sort of saying ‘Yes OK let's do it… I'm just going to do it and try my best’... that was genuinely the best thing I could have done.” 

Mooney plays Cassie Crick on the show, an unemployed journalist who helps Andy Pruden (Ben Feldman) piece together the mystery of his missing father, Hugo’s whereabouts. Somewhat inspired by the real-life disappearance of Paddy Moriarty, the show is based in the fictional outback town of Bidgeegud that has a population of just 12 people (well, 11 after Hugo goes missing). The drama all begins when Andy, a suburban bank teller from Ohio USA, pulls into the tiny outback town to visit his long-lost father and learns that Hugo has disappeared.

It also stars the likes of Stephen Curry, Pippa Grandison, Steve Le Marquand, Rick Donald, Katrina Milosevic, Genevieve Lemon, Fiona Choi, Sachin Joab and more. 

Feldman relocated to Western Australia for three months to film the show, leaving behind his wife and two young children back at home in the US.

“I read the script and couldn’t find a single reason to say no, which really sucked because the next thing I had to do was apologise to my wife and tell her that I was going to have to leave and go to Australia for three months,” says Feldman. 

Population 11 star Perry Mooney

Population 11 star Perry Mooney. Photo: Stan

As he posed on the red carpet alongside Mooney and other cast and crew at the Aussie premiere earlier this week, Feldman’s wife Michelle Mulitz was close by. 

“My wife came out with me this trip to go to hotel spas and eat nice dinners. This is my apology tour,” he laughs. “This is not about the press. This is really just to make sure my wife has a nice time in Sydney.” 



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While Feldman teases that this is a show intended to “keep you hooked”, Mooney emphasises it’s the “sense of community” that will hopefully resonate with most viewers. 

As for co-star Stephen Curry, his sell is simple: “It’s such a slice of Australia”. 

And how can we say no to that? 

The Stan Original Series Population 11 premieres March 14, all episodes at once, only on Stan.