Debara: Kat, what was it like moving around so much as a girl?
Kat: I was always the new kid. But I was outgoing and would introduce myself to other kids because I never knew who would turn out to be my new best friend, so I learned to make friends quickly.
Debara: Did you think you would become a New York or Hollywood actress?
Kat: Not at all. My focus as a girl was on ballet, softball, Girl Scouts, and education. Education is a priority for my family, and it’s one of the things I can truly excel at and the one thing that can never be taken away.It’s one of my most prized possessions.
Debara: I’ll say you excel at it! Is it true you got kicked out of first grade?
Kat: Yes! My teacher felt I was ahead and suggested I do school ‘at my own pace.’ So I started online school, but was still allowed to attend school for art, music, PE, lunch and choir. It was really the best of both worlds, at least for me. It doesn’t work for everyone because you have to be really dedicated, focused, and motivate yourself, but I love learning and planning. That’s why when I was finishing high school at 14, it was a strange feeling because I didn’t want to stop learning. So I went to college!
Debara: Kat, you are such a sweetheart in real life and you on TV and film play these mean girls – we’ve seen you as Myra in Girl vs. Monster and in your reoccurring role as Claire, the spoiled mean girl, in Kickin’ It. Is this a character you like to play?
Kat: Because I was always different, I was bullied a lot. All the mean girls in my life have given me a lot to work with, I know how they act! As an actor, I love to transform myself, so it’s fun for me. I loved the role of Myra because she changed so much throughout the film. At first she was the stereotypical high school mean girl, then she became even meaner as a monster, and at the end she becomes nice – something that doesn’t’ always happen to mean girls and I wanted to show that.
Debara: It seems many girls are bullied today. How did you handle it when it happened to you?
Kat: When I was 6, my mom put a quote on my wall that I’ve been looking at for 11 years now. It says: What is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular. Because of that quote, it taught me to “be your own you” and I was confident in who I was and able to let the bullying roll off my back. Everybody is different in their own way, and if kids didn’t like me, that was fine. I liked who I was and wasn’t going to change for someone who didn’t like me. As long as you’re right and good in your own heart, that’s all that matters.
Debara: And now you are proactive about anti-bullying as an Ambassador for the Stomp Out Bullying campaign, right?Kat: Yes, we want to get kids involved in anti-bullying efforts and show them that their words and actions can have a bad and lasting effect on others. Today, kids to EXPECT to be bullied in school and that’s just not right. It’s a horrible experience and needs to change at the source, which are the kids.
Debara: What’s your favorite self-esteem tip for girls?
Kat: Learn to love yourself. Start by taking one thing you love about you – the way you draw, your smile, laugh, hair, quirky personality, intelligence – and focus on that. When you focus on what you love about yourself, others will see it also and you’ll more easily find people who support you and love you for you.