From the time that she was a young girl, Monica Ten-Kate knew that she possessed a unique ability: the ability to communicate with the dead. However, growing up in a Catholic family in Northern Virginia, she suppressed her gift for a long time. It wasn’t until she was in high school that she fully embraced who she was and what she can do. Ever since then, she has been slowly gaining in popularity, which reached a crescendo when she landed her own reality show with ABC Family, now Freeform, last year.
Now, the 22-year-old psychic—who has relocated and is attending college in San Diego, California—is prepping for the premiere of the show’s second season, the first episode of which airs on April 25. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Monica about how the show impacted her life, what we can expect from this upcoming season and her obsession with Grey’s Anatomy. Check it out below!
How would you say your life has changed as a result of this show?
On one hand, my life has changed drastically, but, on the other hand, at the end of the day, I’m still Monica. I’m still doing what I love as a medium and sharing healing messages with the people who need them the most and enjoying life. It’s still kind of the same yet I feel so much happier. I would say that’s how the show changed my life: I’m so much happier because I feel like everything happens for a reason. So, with the show, I feel like all my experiences have brought me to where I am today. It helped me go after what I really want as far as making this big move and all that. So, life is really, really awesome right now.
Before the show came out, did you have any anxiety about it that you no longer have anymore?
(laughs). Yes! Oh my gosh, I had so much anxiety that it kept me up at night. And throughout the filming of season one, I had so much anxiety. Even though you start to form relationships with and get to know your crew and the network, you still have worries at the beginning regarding whether or not you’re going to be portrayed in a positive light, you know? I was really worried that they would try to manipulate things and make me seem like someone who isn’t who I am. Of course, I quickly learned that this wouldn’t be the case and that I didn’t need to worry—the whole experience has been amazing—but I still worry about what it’s going to look like on TV and how people will receive it. I had a lot of fear about becoming a laughingstock to my friends and clients. Basically, I wanted it to be a positive thing that came across in a good way. So, doing a season two was so much better because I didn’t have those worries; I could trust and know that it was going to be great and that it would all come together into a great experience.
How will this upcoming season be different from the previous one?
In this season, you’ll still see me balancing being 22 and being young and trying to have fun—to be that regular girl—with being a medium and giving readings. You’ll see me in my classes and you’ll see me on campus this season. Last year, we didn’t have permission to film on Penn State’s campus, but now I’m taking some classes in San Diego that I can apply to my Penn State degree, so you’ll see me on campus, in the cafeteria, walking to class—that sort of thing—and of course, doing readings on campus. I have new roommates, which is probably the biggest thing that sets this season so far apart from last season. These girls that I met in San Diego are so much fun and bubbly—they just kind of bring a fresh energy to the show that is really special. There’re new guys; there’s a new dating scene out here. (laughs). You’ll also see me go to a medium meet-up group, meeting other mediums, doing my first event with another medium and mentoring another medium as they come into their own gifts. So there are a lot of different things going on—a lot of new experiences on the medium side of my life and in my personal. You’ll still see me doing readings but there is going to be a lot of fun new things added into it, including the new backdrop of San Diego.
I’m really glad that you’re going to be mentoring new mediums! What kind of advice do you give to new mediums that might not be comfortable with their gifts yet?
I like to tell people when they’re first starting out: don’t let other people make you feel like you are crazy or that what you’re experiencing isn’t real. Because when you start letting that fear into your mind, it can prevent you from connecting with spirits. When you do this kind of work, you have to let your personal insecurities, doubts, fears, etc. go so that you can connect with spirits and receive these messages. So, I always tell people: don’t let that fear of failing into your mind because, if you do, then you won’t be able to make the connection. You won’t be as strong of a channel for a spirit. And then, I try to help them focus on developing their own gift and gain more and more experience doing the work, so I help them with meditation and exercising their energy and getting over that first anxiety which could hinder them. So, a lot of it is about baby steps and helping them break out of their shell, because they know that they have this gift—otherwise, they wouldn’t have reached out to me—they just need someone to kind of push them along a little.
It probably helps, too, for them to have somebody like you that they can be honest with about their experiences and not sugar-coat things out of fear of being judged.
Exactly! Even for me, just a few years ago, I had a support system of my sisters and my friends, but there’s such a big difference when you have someone who can not only hear you out and be there for you that way but who also can relate to what you’re going through. I can be like “I totally get it! I went through the same thing when I was first developing my gift.” So, it can be so beneficial to have that person with whom you can share how you are feeling, what you are going through and get honest advice. At the same time, when I do mentor people, I have to be honest with them and tell them, “Just because I’m your mentor and you’re doing training with me, it’s never a guarantee that you’ll be able to do readings and channel a spirit the way that I do. Each person has their own gift and will hopefully develop their own level of connection to the spirit, you know? It’s different for everybody. However, I do know that when people reach out, that’s a sign that I have an opportunity to help them grow and learn as much as I can.
So, you mentioned that you’re going to have new roommates this season, which is going to be really exciting to see. How did they react to finding out that you are a medium? Did you face any skepticism from them?
(laughs). You’ll see….I think it’s in episode two that you see me in my search for roommates and meeting with them. They were both—they were not negative at all. They were both very chill and very open-minded girls with that California vibe to them that helps them go with the flow. But there was a sense of—and I wouldn’t call it skepticism—it was more of an uncertainty because they had never had first-hand experience with it or ever witnessed it. One of my roommates—you’ll see her progression throughout the season. She started at the point where she recognized it as true but she was fearful of experiencing it for herself. Over the season, you’ll see her start to come around and be more open to the idea of experiencing it herself. With both my roommates, you kind of see that transformation happen, so that’s pretty cool.
Through this show, what do you hope viewers learn about mediums and what it means to be a medium?
Through this show, I’ve really tried to break down the stereotypes—this idea that mediums are either creepy, weird and witchy or that they are frauds and fakes. I feel like our society is going through a kind of spiritual awakening right now and are becoming more receptive, understanding and ok with the idea of mediums. You see it in the media; more and more shows are shedding light on this topic and more stories are being shared, so that alone has really helped break those stereotypes and show people what being a medium is really about. My show continues to do that—to show people that I’m just like everyone else. I just have this gift that’s real and beautiful and has the ability to change people’s lives. It’s not just about that one moment of connecting them with their loved ones. I’ve had people tell me that it’s comforted them and made them feel better and even saved their life. I had a woman who told me that she was planning on committing suicide and the reading is what convinced her to reach out and get help. It can really have such a bigger effect as far as helping people than most people know.
You’re really active on social media, especially Twitter. How are you enjoying the instant fan feedback that social media provides?
I love to be able to see all the positive comments from people who watch the show because it confirms why I agreed to do this. One thing that people don’t realize is that I was not trying to be on TV at all. The opportunity really landed in my lap unexpectedly and I just kind of went “Ok” and went with it. I felt like it was something that I was supposed to be doing because it all fell into place naturally. Like I said before, I had this fear going into it, but once I realized that I would be able to share my gift with the masses and reach so many more people than I would have been able to without the show, I was fully on board. It’s amazing. I get so many messages from people from all over the world and it not only makes me feel really good but it affirms why I agreed to do this.
What TV shows, books, movies, etc. bring out the nerd in you?
Well, I don’t know if this is so much me being nerdy as it is me being obsessed with it, but I love “Grey’s Anatomy” to the point where it is a little nerdy. (laughs). I dressed up as Meredith Grey for Halloween this past Halloween. I had scrubs and a stethoscope and I even had a name tag that I ordered off Etsy which had Meredith Grey’s face on it—the whole nine yards! I went all out which was a little embarrassing. So, yeah, “Grey’s Anatomy” is definitely my big obsession. Other than that…I mean, I’m kind of nerd at heart. My roommates all call me “Momica” because I am 22 but I’m not into the things that people my age are into. I feel like I have different interests in things that other people my age don’t have, so that could make me nerdy in a sense (laughs).
You can catch the premiere of the second season of Monica the Medium on Monday, April 25 at 10:00 pm ET/PT.