Katherine McNamara Gives RAW Interview, Talks Shadowhunters
RAW: What was it like growing up as an only child?
KATHERINE: I actually loved it because a lot of my friends became siblings to me. Also, I was surrounded by adults most of the time which caused me to mature and learn how to handle those kinds of situations at an early age. It also made me really close to my mom and my grandparents which is something that I treasure.
RAW: How did you get into acting? You finished high school at 14 years old!
KATHERINE: I was a huge nerd as a kid, but I had a preschool teacher who I’m still in touch with today and still a dear friend of mine. She saw I had this veracity for learning and this hunger for knowledge. She pulled me aside when I was really little and encouraged that. She encouraged me to push myself, to really try and exceed what anyone else thought was possible, and under her guidance I was able to… I graduated high school when I was 14 and graduated university when I was 17.
RAW: You studied finance in college and learned business. Do you run all of your business affairs yourself now?
KATHERINE: I do pretty much! I have professionals who help manage it, but the reason why I like having a business degree is because I’m able to really manage my career like a CEO. I can run my career as though it’s a business, read my contracts, and understand my investments. I can look at everything as a whole and see it from a management perspective, which has been super beneficial. My attorney loves that I have twenty questions on every contract.
RAW: Has anyone ever tried to slide anything by you and you actually caught it?
KATHERINE: Oh yeah. That’s why it’s nice to have the knowledge. I never intended to be an actor. I wanted to go into finance. I wanted to be the CFO of a multinational company, to run my own business, be a financial adviser, work on Wall Street or something.
RAW: Any plans to still do that or is it completely out of the picture now?
KATHERINE: Maybe I’ll run my own production company one day or start a business of some sort, but this is what I love. I fell into acting by accident and I had this moment of clarity where it was the first time I walked on stage--my first opening night at age 14, my first community theater show ever in Kansas City. (laughs) The world stopped and I knew in that moment, this was what I had to do for the rest of my life, and I’ve never looked back.
RAW: If you could be the CFO of any company today in the world, what company would it be? Why?
KATHERINE: Somewhere like Google, Disney or Pixar. Somewhere where it’s a fun place to work as well as an actual business that makes a difference. I’m an ambassador for Girl Up, which is an amazing nonprofit organization that’s under the U.N. foundation umbrella, and they do some amazing work, so I’d love to work for a place like that too. Honestly, I love creating, telling stories, making characters, and [emotionally] moving people.
RAW: How does Katherine McNamara define success?
KATHERINE: I’m a workaholic and perfectionist. (laughs) It’s a strength and a weakness sometimes. Honestly.
RAW: I bet it can be tough getting all of those reviews and critique!
KATHERINE: Yeah but you just have to learn to have a thick skin. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion and you just have to know that what you’re doing is your best work and know that you’re constantly improving and constantly growing. No matter what other people’s opinions are, you’re you, and that’s all you can be. Within yourself, feeling happy and accomplished, both personally and professionally. If you can find that balance, and still feel fulfilled, then that’s what success is. ‘Cause you have to be a person as well as a professional.
RAW: We had your co-star Matthew Daddario here the other week. We asked him what we should grill you on. They’re very dramatic so I just want you to be prepared.
KATHERINE: Yes, I’m ready for you, Matthew. Oh my goodness!
RAW: What drives you in the morning? When you look in the mirror, what is it that you want?
KATHERINE: First thing in the morning, breakfast. (laughs)
RAW: He also asks, where do you want to be in 20 years? How do you want to be perceived in 20 years?
KATHERINE: I would like to be perceived as a well respected actor who tells great and diverse stories. Also someone who’s made a positive difference in the world.
RAW: He has one more for you. When you close your eyes at night, do you wonder what’s next? What images run through your head? What keeps you up at night?
KATHERINE: Not much because when I do sleep, which is very little, I sleep incredibly soundly. I’m a big proponent for positive thinking, and if you think what you want in life and continue to put it out there in the world, some form of that will come back to you eventually. That’s usually what I think about as I fall asleep.
RAW: Besides your show, are you working on any other projects right now?
KATHERINE: Yeah, I just did the third Maze Runner which is coming out next year. That was really fun because I shot the second one before I did Shadowhunters and so it’s kind of book ending this huge period of change in my life, but it’s great to go see that family again.
I’m also working on some music. I’m just before I can announce anything on it. I’ve got some really cool stuff coming up very, very soon, so stay tuned. The genre’s pop but I’ve got my own somethin’, somethin’. It’s unexpected, which is cool.
RAW: What are some super important lessons that you’ve learned the past decade in acting that you would like to pass on?
KATHERINE: You have to make sure you really love this because it’s not always easy. If you really love it, all the hard work and all of those times that it’s not the most fun, don’t even matter because it’s the best thing in the world. It’s what you have to do every single day, and that’s what makes it all worthwhile. The other thing is always be sure- and this is true for anyone in life. No matter who you are, no matter what you want to do, it’s all about surrounding yourself with people that are truly there for you, are truly there to support you and are there for you to support them. Whatever it is that you love… go for it! Don’t let anybody tell you “no”. I never thought I’d leave Kansas City, and now I have the opportunity to travel all over the world to do what I love.
RAW: Was there ever a time when you were in a really dark place? What did you do to get out of that place?
KATHERINE: A couple years ago, there was a time- and I’m generally a very happy person- (laughs) but something happened in my life where my trust was broken in a major way and I didn’t realize at the time. I became introverted and a couple years later, I made some really good friends. I’ve grown up a little bit and have become more secure with who I was as a person. Then suddenly, I was able to look back and go “wait a minute, I wasn’t myself for the last couple years, but now being on the other side of it.” It’s all about making decisions. You choose to do things that are good, positive, happy, and beneficial, and if you choose to have a good day, choose to have these things, then you can. It’s possible.
RAW:If there’s one thing in this life that you want to be remembered for, what is that one thing?
KATHERINE: Making a positive mark on the world. Whether that be the work that I do with Girl Up or whoever I may work with in the future. Whether that be on the people that I meet and my friends and family, or whether that be through the stories that I tell through the characters, I create through the films, theater shows, and television shows I’m a part of. Hopefully that causes people to think about themselves, humanity, and especially about others.ᴿᴬᵂ