From Australia, To LA, NYFA Australia Alum Mary O’Neill Phillips


New York Film Academy Australia (NYFAA) alum Mary O’Neill Phillips is an Australian native with both acting and hosting credits and audiences in the United States and Australia. After graduating with a Diploma of Screen and Media in Acting for Film, she made the move to Los Angeles and has since become a prominent figure in the country music and outdoor entertainment industry.

Phillips spoke with us about her journey, her passion for the outdoors and the advice she lives by.

The NYFAA alum, who was 25 when she decided to take up acting, says that though the curriculum appeared rigorous she knew she would benefit greatly from it. “I knew this course would be an intensive experience, but it would teach me the skills I needed as an artist to take the next step.” One of the most important things Phillips learned during her time on our Gold Coast campus was the value of being herself in a world of people trying to be each other. Professor Peter Kent shared with her, “there are a million girls out there trying to be the next Angelina Jolie, the next Scarlett Johansson [but] there can only ever be one Mary O’Neill …  figure out how to be the best at who you are.”

Mary O’Neill Phillips took this advice with her when she embarked on her journey to Los Angeles to transition to acting in the USA.  After making the move, Phillips started a partnership with Outdoor Channel TV. The partnership is now 4 years old and is home to her show Country Outdoor Adventures, where co-founders Mary and Zach Phillips chronicle their outdoor and country music adventures. Despite starting the show during the COVID-19 pandemic, Country Outdoor Adventures has seen great success since its premiere in 2020. The show “has become a renowned entertainment and lifestyle brand in the USA in the country music and outdoor communities.” Phillips has also hosted Country Outdoor LIVE on Outdoor Channel TV Network, Country Outdoors Podcast and the Country Outdoors Concert Series in Nashville. She revealed she enjoys working with Outdoor Channel TV Network because “it gives me an opportunity to encourage people to get outdoors and learn new skills and show more of myself in a raw form.” The self that Peter Kent encouraged her to be.



On top of hosting shows and acting, Mary O’Neill Phillips lends her talents to philanthropic efforts like Artist Against Human Trafficking, a one-night event with performances by top country music artists and panel discussions dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking in Tenessee and across the globe. Most recently, she hosted the 2022 CMA Fest where the likes of Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Darius Rucker, Luke Bryan and more country music heavy-hitters performed. The festival event is hosted every year and in 2022 the festival raised money for Catch a Dream Foundation, a non-profit organization that grants once-in-a-lifetime hunting and fishing experiences to children 18 years old or younger who have a life-threatening illness.

The poster for CMA Fest: Game Night

Phillips shared that it wasn’t always performances, events, and TV shows – the first few years were a real challenge for her. “Having to fly back and forth from Australia to the USA every 3 months to keep  relationships I had made and try to grow my presence. I was very very broke for a long time and gave up a lot to make this happen.” The renowned host shared that there’s only one thing you cannot learn in a class: resilience.


New York Film Academy congratulates Mary O’Neill Phillips on all she has accomplished since completing the Diploma of Screen and Media in Acting for Film.