Interview & Photographs by} John Russo
Makeup by} Bri Berliner
Hair by} Michaela Limur
Styling by} Massimo Lorenzo
Location} Montage Los Cabos
Q: You are one busy woman, Miss Katherine McNamara! Between your crazy filming schedule & flying around the world for photo shoots, how do you stay disciplined in your diet and exercise regime? After all, our body is a temple.
A: Why thank you, Mr. John Russo! I thrive on staying busy and proactive – that extends to my physical activity as well. Staying active and eating well fuels me in a way that allows me to keep up with my work hard/travel often lifestyle, so I have always been determined to find a way to make it work. It’s all about prioritizing time management. By taking the initiative to think ahead, I can find those little pockets of time to fit in a workout here and a grocery store trip there to stay on task. I was lucky enough to have an amazing trainer in the beginning of my fitness journey (who I still work with today remotely) who is so inventive and gets excited by the challenge of finding creative solutions for time and locational constraints for people who are motivated to stay in shape no matter where life takes them. This inspired the same motivation in me to do the same. In the end, I have learned that the more stamina I build and the more good quality fuel I give my body, the more I am able to continue pushing myself beyond my previously conceived physical or creative limits.
Q: I think we all love to indulge in a treat from time to time. Are there certain foods that are simply non negotiable? Regardless of how bad it is for you, you still manage to incorporate them in your diet.
A: Oh yes… there are several – but I’ll give you a few of the “greatest hits.” Butter for one – I’m a good southern girl. I will eat butter on anything. Seriously. Oatmeal butterscotch cookies, ice cream, mashed potatoes (or any potato dish really), candy corn, and Mexican food are other front runners. Oh and Paris as a whole, I will eat anything and everything in Paris. Calories don’t count for me in that city. I have also had a lot of fun in recent years getting creative and finding ways to bake even relatively within any healthy boundaries I’m trying to keep. For example, this year, I learned how to make a gluten-free, low sugar fruit crumble that is still utterly glutenous and divinely naughty.
Q: Is there a certain food you want to eat more of and incorporate in your diet?
A: I’m always attempting to learn about nutrition and how certain foods affect my body and energy levels. The more I learn, the more variety I can incorporate into my diet. For me, it’s all about getting the right kinds of nutrients, protein, etc that will give me the fuel I need to keep going and keep building the strength and skill for which I am striving. I also look for things I can quickly meal prep at the beginning of a busy week and eat on the go. Truth be told, I also look for ways to make it delicious as well. Filling and fueling is important, but food should also be delicious even if it’s healthy!
Q: What is your physical activity of choice to stay in killer shape? Yes you can go there!! Lol
A: Well… since you said I can go there… 😉 ha ha Aside from the obvious, I actually keep quite a bit of variety in my fitness regimen. Switching it up not only keeps me entertained, but it keeps my body challenged and always working on something that feels “new.” Boxing and kickboxing have been favorites of mine for a while. I started training in them on SHADOWHUNTERS to use the skills for my on-screen fights, and then carried on in ARROW as my character was a cage fighter. I love how it blends strength and cardio so seamlessly in a way that still feels creative. It is truly a total body workout that will leave you oh so sore in the best way if you are out of practice. I also love this heated spin studio I go to here in Los Angeles. Again, it’s utterly exhausting but also such an exhilarating reset. You sweat so much and work so hard it clears the body, mind, and soul of anything that ails you. When I’m traveling, I do a good amount of HIIT as it can often be done with body weight and minimal equipment from anywhere. I also have taken to running outside – especially when I travel. It’s such a great way to explore a new environment and get lost in nature. Nothing clears my head and energizes my body more than running a trail without knowing where it leads, a good podcast or audiobook in my ears to accompany me on my adventure.
Q: When you look back on your life, when do you think you were in the best shape? And why?
A: I think I was in the best shape of my life right as I was finishing ARROW and beginning to work on THE STAND. I had been heavily training for fights in SHADOWHUNTERS and ARROW for the better part of seven years and my body was an absolute machine. I kept it up during THE STAND as I was in the habit of it and my character liked to show a LOT of skin. There’s something that I just love about being in the zone of a workout schedule and knowing that you can take the time at the gym to do something good for yourself. My fitness is my “me time.” It fuels me, energizes me, resets me, and truly keeps me sane in the wonderful chaos of my demanding work and life schedule.
Q: Which actress do you think has an insane body? May I also ask which actor?? Do tell…
A: There are so many actresses with insane bodies! I love that in the media now we are also seeing so many diverse types of beautiful bodies on screen. Everyone is built differently, there are as many body types as there are people, so I don’t believe there should be one standard ideal for what a body should look like. I actually used to be really insecure about my body because I’ve always been small and lithe. I never thought I could have any modicum of significant physical strength because of my small frame. However, I was soon proven wrong by my trainers who opened my eyes to the fact that it doesn’t matter what shape you have, if you train in a way that suits your body, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. For me and the way I’m built, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger in CHICAGO have always been what I look to. They are so toned, you can see how strong they are as they execute those incredible show stopping numbers. As far as actors, I think there are many who do a great job of staying in shape. Given the fact that I’ve worked on a fair few projects where folks tend to keep fitness at the forefront of their minds, I could give you a whole list of folks who I admire – the SHADOWHUNTERS gents, ARROWverse heroes, and the MAZE RUNNER crew to name a few – for their dedication to fitness and health. We often even make it fun by training together as a team – no matter how exhausting the shooting schedule, you can commiserate, celebrate, and push each other together to keep exceeding physical goals.
Q: We had the pleasure of shooting at the amazing Montage in Los Cabos, What is it about the resort that will keep you coming back?
A: The Montage was nothing but lovely. The property is breathtakingly beautiful, the rooms feel fresh and luxurious without being intimidating, and amenities are more than one could dream of. The staff and management are so beyond wonderful as well. Every person I met there went out of their way in their hospitality, kindness, and willingness to answer any question. The whole resort just exudes relaxation and joy. I will definitely be back to Los Cabos and would love to explore the other Montage locations as well. Truly I could not have had a lovelier time.
Q: You experienced the breathtaking Spa Montage during your stay. How important is it for you to have Spa days while vacationing?
A: I am new to the whole world of spas. My family vacations growing up largely consisted of hiking, fishing, painting, and stargazing in a tiny mountain town in Colorado so needless to say a luxury spa was nowhere close by. However, I have gained a real appreciation for them in recent years, especially with as much as I train. Recovery and rest days are just as important and it always helps to treat your body to some deep rejuvenation. The Spa Montage is truly excellent. The facilities are gorgeous and all the treatments are of the highest quality. You simply cannot go wrong.
Q: You spent a lot of time at the gym during your stay at Montage Los Cabos. How important is it to you to have such an incredible work out facility when traveling?
A: The first question I ask when I get to any hotel is “What are the fitness center hours?” Truly, I love nothing more than a hotel with a killer gym and the Montage does not disappoint. It was actually my first time back in a “real gym” that wasn’t my home equipment setup since the pandemic. I felt like a kid in a candy store with all the top notch equipment. I was overjoyed by the TRX setup and the indoor/outdoor aspect of the space. It’s always such a relief when a hotel has such lovely facilities. I seek out hotels with 24 hour gyms – especially when I travel internationally. In doing so, it allows me the freedom to fit in my workouts whenever I can. When I change time zones often, sometimes those pockets come at 4am when I can’t sleep because my body thinks it’s noon… Suffice to say, it is of the highest priority for me when I travel.
Q: We got to eat some incredible food at the resort, of the three epic restaurants: Mezcal ( under the lobby) Marea (by the beach) and the new addition Talay ( Thai street food truck). Which was your favorite?
A: Ooh that’s a tough choice. They were all utterly mind-blowing. If I had to choose, I would have to say Talay simply because of the experience. The food truck atmosphere was so transportive and gave an ambiance of creativity and innovation – plus the food was amazing. Exploring new aspects of cuisine is one of my favorite parts of travel. You learn so much about a place, its people, and their culture by experiencing the local cuisine. Plus, the perpetual student in me is always searching for something I can learn to make back home.
Q: Covid has taught us to take a step back from the grind and enjoy our lives more. What have you been doing to enjoy your life? Or what do you hope to do more of?
A: I’ve gotten a lot better at taking time to pick up the phone and call people. Whether a quick catch up or a game of zoom mafia, catching up with loved ones (even virtually) is always fulfilling. When life is moving so quickly, it can be easy to forget to stop and check in with family and friends. This year has given me the time to make that a habit – one that I plan to take with my as life starts back up again. I also have gotten back to reading books which I have sorely missed. As I child, I always had a book in my hand – some fantastical world at the ready in which I could escape and explore at any given moment. Another creative way I’ve found to have adventure even in the limits of the pandemic is through exploring trails on hikes and runs. Sometimes I don’t even look at a map and just get lost on a new trail to see where it leads. You never know what beautiful vista or pretty dappled sunlight you might discover around the corner… As life comes back, I hope to do more of catching up with people in person, more travel, more adventures, and more work! I miss telling stories and am getting back to it very soon thankfully.
Q: From a career perspective what’s next for Katherine McNamara?
A: That’s always an interesting question in my line of work because you never really know exactly what is in store until it’s happening. It can be tricky to manage, but mostly I find the boundless possibilities exciting. This past year has required a bit more creativity than usual as at least seven projects were subject to an on and off holding and seemingly endless postponement due to the pandemic. Currently, THE STAND is still streaming on Paramount+ and UNTITLED HORROR MOVIE, the experimental horror-comedy we filmed remotely during the quarantine, premieres June 12th. Next, I’m starting to work on a few of the film projects that are re-emerging with the rest of the world and am so thankful to get back to work. Looking farther into the future… who knows. I would love to get back to television as I love building a work family and developing a world as we embark what is hopefully a years long journey together as a cast and crew. I also would love to dip my toe a bit deeper into the world of film and push the boundaries of the roles I have played thus far. Additionally, I would love to get back to the world of theater that started it all for me be it Broadway, the West End, or another locale and tread the boards once more. Performing live and sharing the story from start to finish night after night for a new audience is a thrill I dearly miss. I have been exploring the possibility of directing more seriously as well and seeing in what ways I can stretch my creative skills behind the camera as well. Overall, I am looking for projects that excite me, challenge me, push me to grow, and allow for a new creative experience and an interesting story to explore and share. I am a storyteller through and through – it’s what drives me to create, but also to travel and explore this wonderful world in which we live. After all, in order to tell stories, we have to live a few of our own, right?
To learn more about Katherine, follow her @kat.mcnamara