I recently had the chance to sit down with 15-year-old Katelyn Mager, known for her work in “When Calls the Heart”, “Charlotte’s Song”, “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” and more. Mager was nominated for two Best Actress awards and won one for her portrayal of Charlotte in “Charlotte’s Song”, playing a young abused girl who turns into a mermaid when she’s upset. Upcoming, Mager will be playing an insomniac vlogger who becomes internet famous after a revealing post about a death in her family in the web series “Insomniac Ida.”
Since she was 4-years-old, Mager has been winning hearts of TV and film fans alike.
How did you feel going into (the Leo awards) when you heard that you were up for the award?
I was so excited and felt so honored to be up for an award like that.
You’re 15, right? And you’ve been acting for years now, and not to mention the awards you’ve racked up, already. When did you know that you wanted to act? Did you take any classes or did you just sort of jump right into it naturally?
Ever since I was little I loved to perform, and I’ve always been really confident and outgoing. I liked to do little shows in front of my family, and my friends. (laughs). I actually started out as a gymnast, and they were holding a casting call for a gymnastics commercial. They invited our gymnastics club to audition for it, and I auditioned and right away I knew that acting was something I wanted to do with my life. I booked that role, and–so yeah, I booked the first role I auditioned for, it was great. (laughs). It was like destiny.
That’s amazing. You jumped right into it. You’ve played some very serious roles since the start of your career, it seems. You’ve played a girl dying of heart failure, you’ve played an Asperger’s patient–how do you get in the mindset for such heavy roles like that, and what do you do to prepare for them?
I know a lot of other actors like to method act and they like to listen to music, that might help them get into character or they might, just do specific things, they might use specific techniques to help them get into character. But for me, what I try to do is, if there is a role with someone who may have Asperger’s, like the role that I played when I was younger, first what I’ll do is I will look up what it means online. Even if I have an idea of it, I’ll still look it up just to be sure that I know what they’re asking for. And then I’ll look up videos of people who have Asperger’s or whatever they’re asking me to play. I’ll just practice imitating them and becoming that character. I’ll just try to envision what it’s like to be in that person’s situation.
So it sounds like a lot of research.
(laughs) Yes, definitely.
You’ve really done a range of projects between TV and film roles, some heavier roles and then some that are more on the fantastical side, like you did Percy Jackson, and you appeared on Supernatural, too…is there a particular genre that you really prefer? Or, do you prefer TV over film, film over TV? What do you really love?
I really don’t prefer film over TV, but I definitely love action and adventure roles. Those are my favorite kind of things, because I’m a very active person! I do a lot of sports, I love nature, so if I get the chance to do a role like that it’s like the cherry on top of the whole experience.
You were saying you’re a gymnast, right? That must come in handy with things like that.
Yeah, definitely. I also do a lot of sports, but right now I’m doing kickboxing, as well, and that’s come in handy so many times for auditions. (laughs).
No kidding! I started kickboxing in February, and it is probably my favorite workout that I’ve ever done. It is also the most intense one I’ve ever done. (laughs). I used to be a hardcore swimmer, and this–that was like nothing.
Yeah, I know, it’s such a good workout. It’s good for your core and your entire body. And I also do Krav Maga, which is like self-defense.
That’s hardcore. That’s awesome!
Yeah, it’s awesome! I love it.
What would you say has been your favorite–you can pick one or a couple–but what would you say has been your favorite role(s) that you’ve done so far?
Well, I definitely can’t pick a favorite because each role that I’ve done is so different from the one before and the one after. Every character that I’ve played has different personality traits about them. But my favorite ones would probably be Joanna Makes a Friend, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, and Charlotte’s Song. Also, When Calls The Heart, too. There’s just so many, I can’t pick just one. (laughs).
You’ve had some really awesome experiences, I would’ve been shocked if you could only pick one. (laughs). So looking ahead, five-10 years from now, where do you hope to see yourself and your career going? What would you dream of accomplishing?
I hope to continue my work as an actor, and, what else do I like to do? I’m very interested in the medical field, as well, so when I’m older, I might pursue a career as a pediatrician, but I definitely want to keep up with the acting because it’s something I just am so passionate about.
As far as other TV shows or movies that you love and have really inspired you, or even as an actor have really inspired you, who would you say really has influenced you, or what show or movie has really influenced you most?
I love the whole Divergent and Hunger Games series, cause as I was saying earlier, I really love those action/adventure type roles. Even just watching people just act out characters like that just gives me a rush. (laughs). What else do I love? Any role with a strong, female character or strong male character, just anyone with a strong character who knows what they want, and is very, umm…how do I say this?
It sounds like you like fighters, you like people who are tough fighters.
Exactly. Like Shailene Woodley, I love all the work she’s done, so far. Like The Spectacular Now, she was in that as well, I just watched that recently, and I loved that movie. She’s just such an inspiring actor and it’s just so natural to watch her act.
Absolutely. And lastly, since the name of our website is Talk Nerdy With Us, we like to ask everyone we talk to: what is one thing that you’re nerdy about or that you nerd out over?
I love to read a lot. If I pick up a book, I cannot put it down, like you will have to pull me off of the book. (laughs).
Awesome. What would you say is probably your favorite book? Or even your favorite book right now, if you can’t pick just one.
Oh, so difficult. (laughs). Well, I have a favorite book series, and they’re called–each book has a different name, but it’s The Pretties, The Uglies, The Specials and The Extras. There’s four books in the series, and they’re definitely my favorite series I’ve ever read.