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Karen O'Leary


As an early childhood teacher who takes breaks to act on a hit TV show, Karen O'Leary's showbiz story is quintessentially kiwi. Her acting career began after being asked to audition for 2014 movie What We Do in the Shadows, by the mother of one of her students. Playing a bumbling police officer, her natural improvisational skills and chemistry with on-screen partner Mike Minogue helped land the pair their own spin-off series, Wellington Paranormal. In 2019 O'Leary was nominated for an NZ Television Award for her work. O'Leary has also featured on Minogue's web series The Watercooler, and the NZ Police's Covid-19 educational campaign. 

...diversity and difference in my early childhood centre is something that is always valued and appreciated ... In [Wellington] Paranormal it's pretty obvious that I’m a lesbian, but it's not the one thing that I am defined by or the only thing that makes me interesting. It just is, it just exists, and that’s where I think we all want to move to. Karen O'Leary, in an interview with The Spinoff, 16 October 2019