10 THINGS with Katherine McNamara
RM: Some actors get on Broadway after accomplishing much on the bog screen and television. You started your career on Broadway. What do you remember about this experience?
KM: I loved working on Broadway – I actually would very much love to return to the stage again soon. There is a real sense of community among all the companies of the various productions. When you work on a show for a year as I did in A Little Night Music, you become very close with the rest of the cast, crew, and creatives. Especially since many of us are not from New York originally, it is very comforting to have that family and the second home at the theater. I must say, Stephen Sondheim is one of my favorite composers of all time, so it was quite surreal to be walking around backstage after a performance and to hear someone say “great show,” only to turn and see that it was Sondheim himself!
RM: Do you think that starting off with that kind of rigorous schedule in theater helped shape your career thus far?
KM: I am very thankful that I started my career working in the theater. Even in Kansas City where I grew up, there is a large community of professional theaters. Stage work requires long hours and quite a bit of commitment. The actors I grew up working with in Kansas City and in New York taught me the work ethic I have today. The best stage actors never complain about the schedule or the hard work that goes in to creating an amazing production – they thrive on it. I strive to emulate these actors in all of my work, no matter the medium.
RM: Speaking of that play, you had the opportunity to work with Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury. What other actors are on your wish list to work with?
KM: Working with Catherine and Angela was such an incredible experience. Coming from a small town in Missouri to NYC and meeting these legends of stage and screen was quite overwhelming in the best possible way. Half way through the run of Night Music they had to leave the show due to scheduling and previous commitments so Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch took over in their place. All four of these ladies are phenomenal in their own right and took me under their wing and taught me a great deal about the business and life in general. My list of other actors I wish to work with is quite long, but includes actors such as Meryl Streep (of course), Tom Hanks, Anne Hathaway, Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and Robert Downey Jr. (preferably as Iron Man).
RM: You recently starred in the anti-bullying movie, Contest. What initially drew you to this project?
KM: Some of the producers are old friends of mine from my days working on Broadway in NYC. They approached me and said they had this great script of this amazing story of a kid who is bullied for doing what he loves and how he handles the situation. I read the script and fell in love with the story, the characters, and the message of the film. I understood that CONTEST was a very important film to make in that it has the opportunity and the ability to truly make a difference in educating society about bullying and bullying prevention. I knew I just had to be involved in this project.
RM: How has this film affected you personally since making it?
KM: The anti-bullying cause has always been very near and dear to my heart. Growing up, I was always the different one. As such, I was bullied quite a bit by people who didn’t understand that being different is okay. I learned to surround myself with people who supported me for who I am and are there to build me up instead of tear me down. I even had my face smashed into a water fountain once because someone didn’t like me. When I was bullied, it felt horrible. I was so sad that someone felt the need to make me feel bad about myself. I had however been taught what to do in these situations. My past experiences were a large part of why I was so passionate about being involved in the film. Truly, everyone involved in CONTEST has been personally affected by bullying in their own lives. Personally, I am of the mind that this passion for the anti-bullying message is a large part of why the film has been so successful.
RM: Bullying has been an unfortunate part of our school system for a long time. What’s your message to those bullying others and the to the victims of these ones?
KM: As kids, you have a front row seat to the bullying that goes on every day. Maybe you see someone around you being bullied and you don’t know how to help. Maybe you are the one who is being bullied for who you are or something you love. Maybe you are the bully who doesn’t understand how much your words and actions can hurt those around you. Whoever you are, YOU have the power to make a change and to speak up and stop the bullying.
If you are being bullied the first thing you need to do is tell someone you trust what is going on. Whether that person is a parent, a friend’s parent, a teacher, a principal, a coach, a religious leader, or another trusted adult, it is really important that you make them aware of the situation. Bullying can escalate very easily from something that doesn’t seem like a big deal to a seriously dangerous situation in no time flat. If an adult knows what is going on and knows the history of the situation, they can look out for you and step in before it becomes dangerous. If you are being bullied you need to know that it is NOT your fault. You are who you are and that’s amazing! Everyone has something special that only they can offer to the world. By being your unique self, you can use these gifts to help make this world a better place in a way that only YOU can. Always remember that.
If you see someone being bullied and you feel safe enough to do so, step in and support the person who is being hurt. If someone steps in to help, the bully may realize that what they are doing is wrong. There is usually safety in numbers and both you and the person being bullied will feel better if you are there to support each other. If the situation is dangerous and you can’t intervene without endangering yourself, once again, tell a trusted adult. Whether that person is a parent, a friend’s parent, a teacher, a principal, a coach, a religious leader, or another trusted adult, it is really important that you make them aware of the situation so they can protect the person who is being bullied and any other potential victims. Most importantly, check in with the person who was hurt and make sure they are okay. Let them know that they have a friend in you and that you are there to support them and celebrate who they are.
If you are a bully and have realized your actions are wrong, its never too late to make a change. First of all, kudos to you for having the initiative to change your ways. Most bullies don’t realize that what they are doing is wrong and is hurting people. You may feel bad about your past, but don’t worry. Today is a new day! You can start fresh! The place to start is by apologizing to anyone you may have hurt and letting them know that you realize what you did was wrong, but you’re ready to start over. If you are kind to people and let your true colors show, you will be surprised how many people will accept you and support you as well. Give a complement to a stranger, smile at someone walking down the hall, help someone who is lost find their class, sit with someone who is alone at lunch, be kind to those around you! You will be surprised at how many new friends you will gain just through a bit of kindness.
Most importantly, always be sure to speak up and help stop the bullying going on around you! If everyone does their part, we can stop bullying and cure this epidemic for good. YOU have the power to make a difference, so SPEAK UP!
RM: You also booked MTV’s Happyland. What can you tell us about this TV series?
KM: I’m not allowed to reveal too much about HAPPYLAND at this point. What I can say is that it follows the story of people who live and work in a theme park. Everything seems perfect on the surface, but behind the scenes, it is utter chaos. We have an incredible cast including Josh Groban and Shane Harper, who are both a dream to work with. The entire Happyland family is really phenomenal and the show is quite smart both in its humor and its storyline. Stay tuned for news soon!
RM: When you’re not working on a film or TV set, what does a day of relaxation look like for you?
KM: Personally, I am actually not a huge fan of days off. Every once in a while, it is nice to have a day to catch up, but after a day I am more than ready to get back to work. Maybe I’m a workaholic, but at least I love my job! When I do have a day off, I will still wake up early and have a busy day, but I find time to go grab a mani-pedi, see a movie with friends, or find a new creation to bake. When I have a lot of time on my hands, I love to visit my local library, grab a random book off a shelf, sit down in between the stacks and read for hours.
RM: We have to ask to about fashion. Who are some of your favorite fashion designers?
KM: Oooh, tough question… I love fashion. I am always looking for the next new trend to incorporate into my wardrobe. I love taking pieces and elements from different trends and putting them together to create my own unique style. As far as designers/brands go, I love Nanette Lepore, Rag&Bone, Chanel, Left on Houston, Aritzia, Claire Farwell, Ralph Lauren, Marchesa, Ted Baker, Max Azria, Kate Spade, Alice+Olivia, and Zac Posen to name a few.
RM: You’re doing some impressive things, both professionally and personally and we wish you continued success. What other projects should we look out for?
KM: Other than Happyland, be sure to look out for Little Savages, a film I shot this summer that should be out next spring or summer. Its a fun family film about a boy and his sister who are dropped off in this small town for the summer, somewhat under protest, but meet some great friends and end up on a race to find a treasure! Think National Treasure meets The Goonies. Also, stay tuned for more music from me. My first original single, “Chatter” was released on the CONTEST soundtrack and another song of mine “My Heart Can Fly” is featured in LITTLE SAVAGES. I’m in the studio quite a bit now working on more songs and they just keep getting better and better. Can’t wait for everyone to hear!
IMDb (best website): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3031063/