Katie Stevens currently stars on MTV’s Faking It as Karma Ashcroft, a misguided teenager trying to find her place in high school. Where we last left off in season 2, Karma’s relationships with best friend Amy and boyfriend Liam were badly bruised when she discovered they’d slept together. Fans watched her struggle to forgive them both and also saw hints that her feelings for Amy might be more romantic than either of the girls realize.
Faking It returns next week on August 31st at 9:30/8:30c PM, so we caught up with Katie to talk about the show, shipping, and her love of music! Read our interview below.
What was the audition process for the show like?
“I was notified about the first audition two hours before it was scheduled. I had friends in town, I was taking them to breakfast in LA and having them read lines with me. When I finally went in, I thought I was bombing the audition! In my head I thought “This is the worst audition you’ve ever done.” But they say when a role is meant for you, and you’re right for it, it will be yours. I went in to my test audition for MTV, and was so nervous! I had never tested for anything. A few hours later I found out that I booked it, and I called my family to tell them and was jumping up and down on my bed. It was a dream come true.”
When you were working on the first few episodes, did you expect such an enthusiastic fanbase on the Karmy Army’s level?
“We always hoped for it, but you can never anticipate something like that. We have the best fans. They are so connected to our stories, and feel very passionately about it which is amazing. As actors it’s our job to create interesting characters that hopefully people can relate to. While filming, we always felt we were creating something special, but the fan and critic reactions we got were incredible. My favorite part of all of it is meeting and talking with fans, and hearing their experiences and how they relate to these characters.”
Karma’s my favorite character on the show – I love how complicated and multifaceted she is. How do you like to approach her character and get into her headspace while filming?
“Honestly, I just think about what I was like when I was 15. I wanted to date the cute boy, I wanted to fit in, I wanted my best friend by my side, and all the while I was trying to figure out who I was. It’s a complicated and confusing time for any teenager, but Karma and Amy obviously have an even more complicated situation. I can’t imagine going through what these girls go through on this show! Our writers are brilliant, and we are so lucky that they give us these complicated characters who have so many sides to them, because it gives us so much to play with! Which is an actor’s dream! I love Karma because I think she’s real. She makes mistakes, and acts impulsively sometimes, but that is why I think people relate to her so much.”
Most of the characters have a few different friends, but Karma only really has Amy and Liam. Since both of those relationships are on thin ice right now, will we see her connect with anyone new, or is her arc more about her forging her own path?
“You see her with other characters this season, which is nice. But so far, she still only has genuine connections with Amy and Liam. They introduce a new character on the show this season, Felix, who Karma has a friendship with. I can’t tell you too much, but after the first episode you’ll see why! I do love this season though, because you see the beginnings of Karma forging her own path. She goes on a journey after being betrayed by the two people she loved most, so this season will be her kind of questioning everything she’s believed in and trying to figure out who she really is. Obviously in true Karma fashion she’s going to make mistakes along the way!”
In our interview with Michael Willett, he told us that ‘Shane vs. Karma’ is going to be a big storyline for those characters. Can you tell us anything about that?
“The writers have always hinted at this subtle “frenemy” tension between Shane and Karma, and this season we have more scenes like that which I love. As a cast we’re all friends, so it’s fun when I have scenes with people like Michael or Bailey who I normally don’t have scenes with.”
In the past, some of Karma’s biggest roadblocks have been her low self-esteem and her need for other people’s approval. How much do we see that as part of her journey this season?
“I think that will always be a big part of her journey. She’s growing up and part of that is figuring out how to shut down your insecurities and be totally 100% with yourself. She’s going to test herself this season, and try to figure out who she is. I’m 22 and I’m still growing up. I think no matter what age you are, you have different roadblocks, and different things to overcome. That’s what I love about Faking It, every character has a different hurdle, so fans can see themselves in each of our characters. It’s a coming of age show!”
The show has both heavy emotional drama and fun, sassy comedy; which do you like acting out the most?
“That’s so hard! I love them both so much! I don’t think I can choose because I think that happens in the show for a reason. I love that each character has their funny quirks and one liners, but that they are all facing so many difficult issues. I think it speaks so truly to being a teenager. I look back at my high school years and laugh sometimes because of how embarrassing high school was, and then I’m like “But it was so freaking hard and dramatic!!” Everything in high school is life or death, until you get out of high school. I feel like Karma cries a lot, which is fun to act, but emotionally exhausting. Which is why I’m happy there’s comic relief!”
Are there any characters you’d like Karma to interact one-on-one with more, like Lauren or Reagan?
“The second episode of 2B Karma and Reagan actually have to spend a day together, without Amy (you’ll see why). But that was really fun! I feel like this season Karma had a lot of one on one time with a lot of the characters, so I’d be interested in future seasons to see what other characters could come into play? It’s always fun when we get new cast members! It adds to the fun! But I’d have to say my favorite scenes are when the core 5 of us are all in scenes together. There’s an episode like that this season, and I think it’s my favorite episode to date!”
What’s your favorite scene from previous seasons?
“That’s a toughy. There are so many good ones. All of my Karma and Amy scenes are probably my favorites. Rita and I are good friends in real life so it’s fun getting to do scenes with her. If I, life or death, had to pick one, I’d say the communal scene was my favorite when all of our characters were together. Everyone’s problems came to a head and it was dramatic and hilarious all at the same time. And like I said, I love scenes where we can all be together. We have a blast together!”
Faking It deals with a lot of relatable coming-of-age stuff – if you could give sixteen-year-old Katie any advice, what would it be?
“There is life after high school. Don’t waste your time trying to impress anyone, or fit in with people who don’t love you for who you are. You are enough. Love yourself first.”
Do you think “Faking It” has helped shape social norms about LGBTQ people?
“I think if anything Faking It has shown younger generations that it’s okay to be authentically 100% who you are. It sets an example of acceptance and tolerance. I’ve met so many wonderful people from doing this show, I feel privileged to meet so many of our LGBTQ fans and honored that they’ve let me in on their stories.”
How do you feel about people shipping Karmy? Do you think Karma on some level does have feelings for Amy?
“I love that people ship Karmy. I never though I would be part of a ship! It’s cool! I think Karma loves Amy; whether that will be more than friends, I’m not quite sure. But this season will definitely challenge their relationship, so I’m interested to see how they overcome the obstacles!”
We know you did the Cruel Intentions musical in LA this summer! Are you currently working on any original music?
“Oh man, Cruel Intentions was the experience of a lifetime! So much fun! I’m always doing music. I live part time in Nashville, TN and I have been songwriting. I’m in a really good place right now where I don’t feel the need to rush into releasing music. I’m developing my craft through songwriting, and learning to play guitar. I would love to release my music in the future, but being that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I think I’m going to take my time with it to make sure it’s perfect and an authentic representation of who I am as an artist. But I’ve been having a blast collaborating with other songwriters in Nashville. It’s so fun to just wake up, and within a few hours, you write a song that never existed until you came up with it! I’m enjoying my life. Everything up until now has been like a fairytale, and I’m going to keep working hard and just enjoy the ride.”