Currently starring in the hit show Shadowhunters based on the book series written by Cassandra Clare as Clary Fray, Katherine McNamara balances acting with her dedication to education. At the age of 14, she graduated with honors from high school, and at 17, graduated with honors from Drexel University’s Le Bow School of Business online program with her Bachelor’s degree in Business. Kat plans to continue her education and is currently looking at MBA programs. ‘It’s not an easy balancing act. I probably don’t sleep as much as I should, but its worth it in the long run. To be able to pursue my career while gaining an education is priceless and allows me to manage my career from a business and a creative standpoint. It’s all about self motivation, time management, and being too stubborn to give up!’
‘As far as roles go, I’m willing to try just about anything if it services the story we are telling in that particular project’ replying to how far she is willing to go. ‘Part of being an actor is being willing to go to the scary emotional places and experiences that make people uncomfortable. Its all about taking risks to enhance the character and the story. No one becomes an actor to play it safe. Its important to be willing to take chances and grow personally and professionally.’
Katherine McNamara is an accomplished actress, singer, dancer, songwriter, and an avid student. Although now more focused on film and television, McNamara began her career on Broadway at the age of 13 and has a passion for all forms of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, waltz and hula. She also plays the guitar and piano and enjoys singing and songwriting.
Kat’s love for acting stretches beyond the stage, with credits in television and film productions. Katherine will made her big screen debut in the Warner Brothers Picture, New Year’s Eve (2011), where she portrayed “Lily Bowman”. She has advice for aspiring actors: ‘Go for it! Try it out and see if its something you really love. It’s hard work but if you are really passionate about it, it is the best job in the world. Find a program at your school or local community center that does plays join the fun. You never know what you will fall in love with! Most of all, stay true to yourself and never take no for an answer.’
With the announcement of the role of Clary Fray left for the last minute and having a lot of competition for the role, every actor has this nerve-wrecking moment waiting to hear if they got the role or not. ‘Honestly it was a bit of both’ – referring to being confident and nervous. ‘This character was one I had a connection with immediately. I didn’t really give myself the choice of not landing it. I had so much conviction, it became confidence as the pieces fell into place.’ And the role didn’t just land but she worked hard. ‘But it was definitely a long process and the role did not land in my lap. I had to work hard for months through the various auditions and tests. I am of the mind that all things happen as they are supposed to. I knew that no matter what happened, if I went in and put my heart in it, it would come my way if it was meant to be.’ And once she got the role she was ecstatic. ‘It’s really a dream come true.’
The whole cast of Shadowhunters have read The Mortal Instruments series so they can better understand their characters including Kat and she has taken a liking to it answering the question whether the actors themselves are fans of the show. ‘Of course I am!’ she says. ‘I’ve read the series and love it! So exciting to bring the series to life on screen and give it our own perspective for television.’ And she also goes on to say the show won’t disappoint us! ‘This series never stops moving – we have a very fast pace. There are constant twists, surprises, and yes deaths every episode. We like to keep fans guessing as to what will happen next.’
Shadowhunters began filming on 25 May 2015 in Toronto, Canada. Spending so much time with a group of people certainly makes you have more friends and a new family. ‘I love this cast. We have so much fun on and off set together. It’s really become a family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.’ And the same can be said about her.
Having been in the business for long, she has faced some tough times and made some sacrifices but she doesn’t call them that. ‘I don’t really feel like I’ve made sacrifices, that sounds so negative, just choices’ but she follows the saying ‘Live life with no regrets’ ‘Honestly, I’ve thrown myself heart and soul in this. I’ve learned the hard way to live life with no regrets’ confirming the life in the industry isn’t always easy she goes on to say: ‘Not to say that life in the entertainment industry is easy, its all about perspective and how you deal with the ups and downs. I would say I’ve made choices more than sacrifices.’ You may remember she graduated at 17 and did her studies online loosing the college experience and she used that as an example. ‘I chose to keep working and utilize the online options from brick and mortar universities as opposed to going to college in person. As such, I have forgone the usual college experiences that young people have for different experiences. Who is to say if one is better than the other or if it is truly a sacrifice, its just a choice’ following suit with the life of no regrets she adds ‘One that I was happy to make for my career.’
You might think that by now she is done but she is just getting started! ‘I want to do everything in my career. I don’t want to limit myself and say I’m looking for one specific type of project. I want to find the next challenge organically and see what this industry has in store for me next’ but she admits that she can’t choose one performance as the best ‘I’m not sure I will ever be able to call one specific piece or character the highlight of my career. Each production brings new experiences and challenges. Plus, I’m constantly learning and growing – so each job services the process for the next’ Answering the question of having her own masterpiece she says ‘I don’t think I have a masterpiece yet…Its too early in my career to have a hallmark’
One of her fans @stilinsihales asked ‘What is your coolest fan experience?’ ‘I think my coolest fan experience so far has been NY Comic Con. Seeing the fans dressed as the characters and speaking with them about their experience with the books was so amazing and truly humbling. I always love chatting with people who love this story as much as I do.’ So if you are a huge fan make sure to always pop up and say hi to her on twitter.