Katelyn Mager is a name you’re going to want to jot down and remember, the 15-year-old actress is already a multi-award winner and possesses passion, conviction and an unbeatable flare that rivals those in the industry that have come decades before her. The talented young lady has won numerous praise for her work and was nominated for Leo’s Best Performance by a Female in a Motion Picture for her role as “Charlotte” in Done Four Production’s Charlotte’s Song, working alongside Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon.
The movie can be categorized as a dark homage to Hans Christian Anderson’s “Little Mermaid” set in the 1930’s, and you’d think a young actor would pass on more difficult roles in order to beef up their resume, but Mager has never shied away from the tough tasks. In fact, she runs into them head on, welcoming characters with complexity and challenges beyond her wildest dreams. In addition to her roles on shows like Life Unexpected, Supernatural, and When Calls The Heart, she is most widely known for her role as Thalia in the hit fantasy film Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, which is based on the bestselling books of the same name.
Honing in on her craft since the age of four, this actress has spent over a decade in the business already, and man, her future looks bright, bright indeed. Recently, Mager spoke to NoWhiteNoise about getting involved with the arts, attending the Leo Awards with friends and fellow actors, starring in Charlotte’s Song, (which required her to be in a full body prosthetic during filming) and lessons learned over the years. During our conversation I was in awe of this talented lady’s commitment to her roles, delving into research, which shows a final product audiences and critics continue to rave about.
Let’s get to it!
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Is it true that you got your start in the acting world by doing a Fisher Price commercial at the age of four?
KATELYN MAGER: I did, yes!
MM: Is that where your love of acting started off? Is that your origin story?
KM: Definitely, yeah. I’ve always been a very outgoing person who was always eager to perform for my parents and put on little dance and singing shows when I was a kid. As soon as I auditioned for that commercial and I booked the role, I knew that that was what I was meant to be doing.
MM: Wow, that’s so amazing to know what you want at such a young age. Even now at the young age of 15, you’ve already accomplished so much, winning a Joey Award and being nominated for a Leo Award for your role in Charlotte’s Song, how has it been getting recognition for all of your hard work?
KM: It feels absolutely incredible to have people recognize how much work you’ve put into the industry over the years and for it to finally pay off. It’s so rewarding to have people tell you that they loved what you did and that your work inspired them. It’s like the best feeling in the world.
MM: I can only imagine! Even though you didn’t take home the win at the Leo Awards, you were up against some amazing contenders who were much older than you, and that’s definitely a testament to your already seasoned acting skills. Overall, did you have fun at the Leo Awards? What was the best part about attending that event?
KM: It was an incredible experience! One of my best acting friends Sean Kyer, I’ve known him since I was about six years old, he was there at the Leo Awards and he actually won the night before. He went the second night and we sat at a table together, and because we’ve been friends for so long, it just made the whole experience so much better. It just solidified everything.
MM: To go on the ride together and be able to see the success throughout the years, that sounds amazing.
KM: Yeah! And to be around the presence of other actors who are so great and have done so well in this business is just so inspiring.
MM: Of course! Was there anyone there you were really excited to be in the same room as or get to meet?
KM: Just everyone there! It’s such an honor to meet all these talented actors.
MM: Now, to get everyone up to speed who hasn’t seen Charlotte’s Song yet, can you tell us a little bit about it and the role that you play?
KM: All right. My character’s name is Charlotte. She’s a shy girl who keeps to herself, but she soon finds out that she’s a mermaid, and she has the power to help people seek their greatest desires with her singing voice. In the movie, she goes against everything she’s learned, which was not to speak up. Back in the genre that this movie was filmed in, the early 1900s, children and especially women weren’t allowed to say how they felt, and they weren’t supposed to speak up, especially to their parents or their fathers. She goes against everything she’s learned, and she fights back when an evil man looking to do harm pays her family a visit.
MM: Wow! The movie takes place in the 1930s era. Was it cool getting dressed up in clothes and hairstyles from that era?
KM: I absolutely loved it! I’m really into fashion, hair and makeup, and to see people transform into a whole different era was just such an inspiring and amazing experience. It was so cool to see that.
MM: That’s so great! I’m a big fan of ‘30s era, so seeing you in that role was just really cool because I’m a little nerdy history buff. How was playing this character different from your role in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters?
KM: Playing this character was very different. As I said before, because it’s set in such an early era when children weren’t allowed to speak up, Charlotte is very shy and she keeps to herself. She’s not very confident in herself and how she looks and the way she speaks. But in Percy Jackson, Thalia is an outgoing character who knows that she’s going to kick ass. [laughs]
MM: [laughs] Oh, yeah! Now, I’m sure you’ve seen the movie The Little Mermaid.
MM: Charlotte’s Song is definitely worlds apart from the Disney classic. Was it hard getting in the mindset for such a dark, modern fairy tale? How did you prepare for this?
KM: I watched a lot of films that were darker. The people who actually created this film, Done Four Productions, had made a short film called The Little Mermaid a few years previous to making Charlotte’s Song, and they had it in this dark, 1900s era as well. So I watched that a lot, and I studied the way that actor had portrayed that role, and it definitely helped me to see how other people took on a character like that.
MM: Wow. Well, the final product was great, so congratulations on that! You also got some pretty intense makeup, and I’m assuming prosthetics, done for this movie. Was that a long process?
KM: That was a very long process. First of all, because I was in full body prosthetic, they had to do a head and arm and leg cast of me. It’s basically like when you break your arm, it’s like getting that kind of cast, but on your head, on your arms, your fingers, your wrists, your legs—everything! So, first we did that. And then, when they actually applied all the pieces onto me for the day of filming, it took about eight hours to put on and three or four hours to take off.
KM: Yeah! It was a lot.
MM: That’s crazy! What if you have to go to the bathroom? I mean, do people ask these questions? I need to know. [laughs]
KM: Well…[laughs] I didn’t.
MM: You just didn’t. That is a logical answer. [laughs]
KM: Yeah, I just held it.
MM: Oh my gosh, that seems super intense. But, you are very dedicated, obviously. The acting business is hard. What are some lessons or secret tips you’ve learned while growing with the entertainment world?
KM: From personal experience, I know that a lot of people will tell you that you can’t do it and that you’re not good enough and that other people are better than you and would be a better fit for the role. But you just have to believe in the possibility that you can do anything if you work hard. If you’re confident in your work and you know that you put everything into each audition, one day you’ll get where you want to be. That’s definitely been the biggest factor of helping me become as successful as I have been so far.
MM: That’s wonderful to hear. It’s great advice, especially for young people who are looking to you for some guidance, that it is possible and that you can get where you want to be with some due diligence, of course.
MM: Now, if you had to choose another profession to dip your toes into, what would it be?
KM: I’m very interested in the medical field. If I wasn’t an actor as an adult, I think I would try being a pediatrician.
MM: That is cool!
KM: Yeah! It definitely interests me a lot.
MM: That’s awesome. Have you ever worked with kids? Do you have any siblings?
KM: I don’t have any siblings. I wish I did. But, I babysit sometimes and also, in September, I’m going to start working at a gymnastics gym helping teach children with disabilities how to do gymnastics.
MM: Wow, that is amazing! I’m sure that’s going to be so much fun!
KM: Yeah! I’m very excited for that.
MM: Now, out of all the characters you’ve played so far in your career— whether it be on Percy Jackson, When Calls the Heart, Charlotte’s Song, and so many more— which one would you say was closest to your personality in real life?
KM: The closest to my personality would probably have to be Thalia from Percy Jackson just because she’s very outgoing and confident in herself, and she’s willing to put herself in the way of danger to help others. I just have a passion for helping others no matter what the cost is for me. Thalia is also very bad-ass [laughs] and she fights off a cyclops. I do mixed martial arts, so we’re very similar in that way. We both have similar personalities, and I feel like we’ve been through similar experiences. I’ve never fought a cyclops, but…[laughs]
MM: [laughs] Or have you? Don, don, don! That is awesome. Now, can you tell us three random facts or talents about yourself that people might not know?
KM: All right. For my birthday, I got a ukulele, so I’ve been learning that recently.
MM: That’s exciting!
KM: Yeah, it is very exciting! I’m really enjoying it. I love going to animal shelters. I am a huge fan of animals. I will literally do anything to pet an animal or feed an animal. I love animals so much! And, I also have a sock collection of high-knee socks.
MM: What’s your favorite style?
KM: I have these socks, they go up to about mid-calf, and they have poodles all over them and the poodles are actually fluffy. They have real fluff on them. They’re super cool.
MM: Oh my gosh, that sounds so fun and comfortable.
KM: [laughs] Yes!
MM: [laughs] Now, what are some shows you’re currently hooked on? Are there any that you would love to guest star on?
KM: I am currently obsessed with The Mindy Project. I watch that show every single day; it is my favorite show. I love Orange is the New Black, Big Bang Theory, literally any show on TLC. [laughs]
MM: Yes! [laughs] Totally agree. Now with Orange is the New Black back, are you a sit-down-and-binge-the-whole-season kind of girl, or…
KM: Yes! Yes!
MM: Yep! OK! [laughs]
KM: [laughs] I will get ice cream and sit with my friends and watch all of the episodes.
MM: I am totally the same way, so I will probably be doing that. I have to break it up, obviously—I have to go to work and be an adult. But for the most part, we’ll try to get it in, as much of it as we can! Now, in terms of your fans, do they reach out to you on social media regularly? What is that interaction like?
KM: Definitely with When Calls the Heart fans, they are big social media lovers and they keep in contact with us almost every day.
MM: Oh, wow, that must be exciting! Now, in terms of your personality, if you had to pick a candy to describe yourself, what would it be?
KM: Oh, that’s difficult! I’ve never been asked this before. If I had to pick a candy to describe my personality, I would probably be the Rockets [Canadian version of Smarties] because each candy is different—different flavors and different colors. I have many different sides to my personality, and so that’s why I think I’m like Rockets candy.
MM: That’s a great answer! Now, what are you most looking forward to about summer? Are there any new movies coming out that you want to see? Any activities you want to do?
KM: For summer, my family and I go camping a lot, so I’m very excited for that. I will be going to a camp called Camp Jubilee. I’m very excited because there’s no school, so I’ll get to hang out with my friends a lot. And Alice in Wonderland just came out, so I’m going to see that with my family and then Neighbors 2 I’ll probably go see with my friends. Yeah, there’s a lot of upcoming movies I’m very excited to go see, and there’s a lot of outdoor activities that I’m planning on participating in.
MM: Definitely! It’s definitely the time to go out and spend time with friends and get to relax a little on your down time. Now, are there any projects coming up that you can talk about?
KM: I can’t tell you anything yet. [laughs]
MM: Not yet! Dot, dot, dot. Lastly, do you have a message for the fans who have been there with you from the start?
KM: I would just like to say thank you to everyone who supported me and believed in me from the start, and who stuck with me through all my work, even if they didn’t feel that they connected to a certain character I played, but they still stuck with me through everything because they saw the potential I had.
MM: What a wonderful message. I’m looking forward to the big things coming your way, and I really appreciate you chatting with me today!
KM: Thank you!