Anna Cathcart loves romantic comedies. “They’re my favorite genre!” the Vancouver-based star gushes. “My Best Friend’s Wedding is so good. I love Definitely, Maybe with Ryan Reynolds, honestly a lot of his movies are so good— like The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. I can go on, there’s so many—I love rom-coms.” It’s only fitting that the 19-year-old actor, who captured hearts as the spunky Kitty Covey in the beloved To All The Boys Netflix franchise, is stepping back into the role with her own spinoff series, XO, Kitty.

The TV show follows the youngest Covey sister, after she moves across the country from her home in Portland, Oregon to Seoul, reuniting with her long-distance boyfriend, Dae (Choi Min-young). As viewers, we get glimmers of Kitty’s bright and bold personality, and her blossoming relationship with her first-ever boyfriend throughout the movies, but this is the first time Cathcart’s character is at the front and centre on-screen. “It’s an honour that they wanted to continue Kitty’s story and enough people thought this is a story worth telling [and] they wanted to explore her life,” Cathcart says.

We chatted with the actor about reuniting with the role of Kitty, living in Seoul and taking up space as a young woman of colour in the acting industry.

How did it feel to be stepping back into the character of Kitty? 

“It felt very surreal to be back. It really felt like seeing an old friend, but also like a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. It definitely was that mix between something that’s familiar, and also something that’s new, which is very interesting, and definitely not something I expected would be happening with this character. I didn’t think going into this role at the beginning [as a child] that I would ever get to be with her as a teenager as well.”

How would you describe Kitty’s character arc in the series? 

“Kitty begins the series feeling very confident and very sure of herself, the way that we know her in the movies. By the end [of the series], she could not be farther from that—her world has kind of turned upside down, she’s very overwhelmed and kind of thrown into so many different things that her world is shaky beneath her. For the first time, she isn’t so confident and so sure of herself and the situation. She’s also along that journey and realizing that it’s okay to not have it all figured out. That’s kind of part of the journey and one of the beautiful parts of growing up.”

What was it like having Kitty be at the front and centre of the series? 

“Very surreal. It kind of blows my mind that [the show] happened and that I’ve gotten this opportunity. It was very, like it was an honour to get to do XO,Kitty. I had been hearing about these initial thoughts and concepts for many years. and I didn’t think it would happen. But it’s been a long time coming.”

I heard this series was in the works for a long time, what’s it like to have it finally be coming out this month? 

“[XO, Kitty]”went through different ideas and possibilities of what it could look like or where it was gonna be based—I was hearing bits and pieces of it. I was excited to know what actually happens in the show and excited to see scripts, and when that started happening, it became more real. Then, I was moving to Korea all of a sudden, and was living there for four months.”


Since XO, Kitty isn’t based on a book, can you explain the differences of working on this series vs the To All The Boys movies?

“It’s cool because [the show is] in a universe that’s been established. We’re establishing a new world within the universe, with a whole new environment with brand new characters and a brand new school, but it’s still in the same cinematic universe. Kitty is still the same person with her family and there’s references to things that people understand from the movies. Jenny [Han], and a lot of the creators made those worlds merge.”

What was your experience like filming in Seoul and adjusting to the culture there? 

“It was so cool getting to be immersed and get more familiar with their culture. It was such a beautiful place. There’s so much to explore and so much to learn, and I was there for a long enough time to like really get to know it in the way that’s not like a tourist who like gets to see it for a few days, which is what I’ve done in the past because in To All The Boys: Always & Forever we went to Korea, but it was a very short trip. This time, I was getting to know the different neighbourhoods and the different areas and a lot of our cast are also local to Korea. That was great, because they were built-in tour guides. I feel like I went to an international school and met new people and had new experiences and faced new challenges and went through those things alongside Kitty in my own way. It was very special.”

What was it like working with a new cast? 

“It was such a diverse group of people that came from all over—we’re all different ages, we have different acting backgrounds and experiences. We all learned from each other in different ways and can all also find support in each other, which means so much when you’re working on this crazy, busy schedule. The whole cast became a very big fan of this one chicken place, and we would go there all the time. Those are some of my favourite memories to look back on, like videos of us just hanging out and being stupid and making up songs and playing games. These fun bonding moments seem small, but they aren’t. Getting late night food and going out to do karaoke or to hang out—those activities are so fun. You really do bond so quickly, because you’re all in this little bubble of experiencing the same excitement and the same overwhelming-ness. Those support systems mean a lot, for sure. I lucked out, [and] everyday I’m very thankful for all of the cast, because they’re the greatest and I miss them so much. I’m so excited to reunite with a bunch of them soon [at the show’s premiere.]”


Has working on the To All The Boys movies and now XO, Kitty helped you shape your identity as an actor? 

“I learned so much on both of these projects in very different ways, because I had a different position in the shooting experiences. That definitely was a big shift and a big change for me to learn personally. With the cast from the movies, I looked up to all of them so much and had them all as role models and could learn from them as an actor and as a person and have my on-screen sisters be [like] my real life sisters, which was definitely something that I’m so grateful for. I feel so lucky to have had that support system. I always think about how I would have never expected this to become the journey that it did. I first auditioned when I was 13 years old and I didn’t know there was going to be sequels at the time. We didn’t know the type of reaction that fans would have to it and we could have never dreamed of it being like this. So now, to still be on this journey with the same character and the same franchise many years later is definitely really crazy and something I will forever be grateful for.”

What do you admire about Kitty’s character? 

“Kitty is somebody who’s very passionate, and I definitely think I’m a passionate person. I get very excited easily and very energized by the things that I love. I think she sometimes gets a little ahead of herself, and has so much love to give, which is honestly something that I admire about her because she lives very authentically to who she is—she’s giving herself the space to figure out what that means and learn what that might entail and what that might involve.”

As a viewer, it’s so incredible to see a young mixed-race character be on screen and take up space. What’s the most rewarding part of playing Kitty? 

“Seeing the fan reaction and getting to hear from people that [Kitty] has made an impact on them or that it has meant a lot to them is always so eye-opening and so cool to be a part of something that’s actually affected people’s lives. Specifically about mixed race families, I’ve had someone tell me it’s so nice to see a white dad trying to learn about a culture that he might not be familiar with, and the scenes in [To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You] with the Lunar New Year celebrations, that whole thing was so special. It’s really cool that people are getting to see that and feel seen and impacted by it and understood.”