Actress Katherine McNamara

Katherine McNamara has done more by age twenty than most actresses will do in their careers. She stars on Freeform’s Shadowhunters (the second season premieres in January), appeared on Broadway in A Little Night Music with Angela Lansbury, and got her college degree at seventeen. McNamara is seriously inspiring; along with her acting career, she works with the UN campaign for female empowerment, Girl Up. We loved learning more about her workout routine, how she styles her denim, and why diversity is The New Potato. Read along for our interview with the actress; it’s exactly what you need to power through this #MotivationMonday…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

Ideal? Is this holiday cheat day ideal or average day ideal, because those are very different…

In all seriousness, I eat pretty clean. I’ve grown to love good quality food. My day starts with food, actually. I roll out of bed and immediately go for the giant bowl of apples on my counter. Usually for breakfast I eat eggs, and an English muffin. I have a snack before lunch, which is steamed veggies, quinoa, and cottage cheese. Then dinner is usually grilled chicken or steak, quinoa, cottage cheese, and another apple. At the moment, while I’m shooting and training, I am very specific with my nutrition. When I have such a strenuous schedule and I’m putting my body through so much, I pay extra attention to what I’m fueling my body with. But – I still find ways to make it delicious and experiment with different variations of the same. However, for cheat day, it’s an all out Mexican or Italian food feast…Or if I’m feeling especially hungry, soft pretzels or even ice cream…

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I’m a makeup junkie as much as the next girl. I love my Sephora card a little too much…but, I think true beauty starts on the inside. You have to remember that inside you there is a light that only you can give to the world. If you embrace what makes you special and realize that you in and of yourself are enough, and if you can recognize your own special beauty and love yourself for who you are, you will feel beautiful and best of all, happy.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?

It is so important to keep your skin clean and healthy. I’ve learned the importance of that because of the makeup I wear for work. In the morning, I keep it simple. I wash my face with soap and a little light L’Occitaine moisturizer. At night, I start with a basic makeup wipe, then the Micceller water as an eye makeup remover. My favorite cleansing product is the Chanel Lait Comfort Milk cleanser. It moisturizers and cleanses simultaneously – plus it smells like roses. Finally, I use a Clairsonic with a bit of soap to make sure all my pores are clean and my face has a fresh start for the next day.

How do you always start your day? What’s your go to breakfast?

I start my day with an apple and some water usually. Then I get into my eggs and English muffin or another protein/carbohydrate combination. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so I love finding new options!

What was the craziest thing that happened on set while filming Shadowhunters?

Crazy things happen on the set of Shadowhunters every day. That’s one reason I love the show so much; there is never a dull moment. We have been ramping up the fight scenes this year so we get to do a lot more intense stunts. A few episodes ago, I did my first huge wire work demon kill. That, I must say, was pretty crazy, but oh so fun. I can’t wait to see it all come together…

How does your style compare to your character (Clary)? Would you wear her clothes in real life?

I actually dress very similarly to Clary in my life. She dresses in a badass, a bit 90’s grunge style that has hints of bohemian thrown in on occasion. Basically a slightly grittier version of how I dress. I would (and often do) purchase some of her items for myself.

You were just announced as the new face of Wallflower jeans – what’s your favorite way to style denim for fall?

My favorite thing about denim is its versatility. A good pair of jeans can be dressed up or down as well as fit into a variety of styles and aesthetics. For fall, one of my favorite ways to style denim is a pair of slightly distressed denim with a military style jacket and a badass pair of boots.

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

Chicago is one of my favorite cities for food. Deep dish pizza is one of my favorite foods ever. I also love Kansas City BBQ. I was raised on it growing up there, so it’s always special to me. Another city that clearly has amazing food is NYC. The variety of incredible cuisine is endless in the city that never sleeps.

Your character is incredibly fit; what are some of your go-to workouts?

My all-time favorite workout is spin class. It’s a fun way to stay fit while listening to great music and pushing your fitness level. It’s an amazing total body workout that you can personalize to your own needs. For Shadowhunters, we have an amazing personal trainer who kicks our butts on a daily basis. He has been working with me on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This is a great way to build muscle and agility without bulking up too much. We have also been training in several martial arts and boxing which are incredible workouts.

What would your last meal be? Who would it be with?

My last meal would be a Thanksgiving dinner with my friends and family. Amazing food, simple, variety of sweet and savory, and surrounded by my favorite people.

What’s your perfect salad comprised of? Your perfect smoothie?

My perfect salad is comprised of spinach, Parmesan cheese, grilled chicken, and chickpeas with basalmic vinegar.

My perfect smoothie is blueberry, banana and blackberry.

What is the best advice you have ever received? What is the worst?

The best advice is to stay true to yourself no matter what. It can be so easy to lose track of what makes you special and different. That’s a gift that only you possess. Celebrate it!

The worst advice I ever received was someone who gave me opposite information intentionally. I followed it but eventually realized before any real damage was done – although I nearly lost a job because of it. The important thing is that from that experience I learned how rough this industry can be very early on and to take everything I hear with a grain of salt.

You didn’t like X until you tried Y….

I didn’t like working out until I tried spin class and boxing. Then as I started to explore other varieties of exercise, I started having fun. 

If you could have a dinner party with five people, living or dead, who would you invite? And what would you cook?

Audrey Hepburn, William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Robin Williams, Queen Elizabeth II, Michelle Obama.

I would squeeze in an extra chair and have six – or I would stand – so worth it. As far as food, I’m still learning to cook, but I would Postmates in whatever they wanted. I would however bake my great grandmothers butterscotch cookies to serve with coffee and conversation for dessert…

In the same vein as the new black in fashion, what is the new potato right now?

I think the new potato is diversity and, by gosh, it’s time. We as a society are finally starting to accept that people come in all shapes, sizes, races, orientations, religions, gender identities, and endless other qualities. What we need to remember is to allow these differences to unite us not divide us.

What’s our favorite fragrance? This is it. Then read our interview with fellow TV stars Victoria Justice and check out how to channel your favorite TV characters sartorially.

*Katherine McNamara photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann