At age 22, Florida-native actress Kara Royster has appeared in over two dozen movies and TV shows, including the popular shows Pretty Little Liars, Scream Queens and Supernatural. For Kara, acting started out as a childhood passion, as she was inspired while watching her older sister perform. She became more and more serious about performing: participating in theater productions, enrolling in acting classes and attending performing arts schools. At 15, Kara and her family moved from Florida to California to kickstart her career, attending Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Kara auditioned for various shows and movies, eventually booking her first major project on Nickelodeon’s Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures. She has also appeared in K.C. Undercover with Zendaya, MTV’s Faking It, The Mentalist, as well as the feature-film, Mono. The multi-talented actress is also a skilled makeup artist and has a number of “secret talents”. We discussed Kara’s secret talents in a recent interview, in addition to her biggest inspirations, her new year’s resolutions, and much more.
How did you get into acting?
My interest in acting started from watching my sister practicing monologues for her Arts school when I was just a child.. As I watched her clearly having fun and being creative I knew that is what I wanted to do and I began going to acting camps, classes and eventually attended the same art schools in Florida which she went to and then later I went on to attend Los Angeles County High School For The Arts.
How did you find your passion?
My true passion for acting began from the first time that I stepped on a stage. During my 5th grade year at school, my summer camp did a production of Rapunzel at a large professional theatre in my hometown, I was cast as the “Narrator”. The moment I got off stage with all that adrenaline flowing, I knew I was hooked.
The moment I got off stage with all that adrenaline flowing, I knew I was hooked.
What has been your favorite role to play?
It is so hard to pick a favorite because I’ve really loved each character that I have portrayed for one reason or another. However, I’d have to say I do have a special place in my heart for Yvonne. She is the character that has the most similar style and personality to me, so I feel most affected by her life situations.
What was it like working on a show (Pretty Little Liars), that you were a fan of?
It was so surreal! To go from following the mystery of a show for 5 years to being a part of it is a fan’s dream! It was also interesting to come on set and know all of the inner workings of the show. It was always funny when someone on set would want to fill me in, by saying something like “oh this is a line from season 3” and I’d come back with “actually it’s in season 4” haha.
What other projects have you worked on?
I will be returning to Freeform as a recurring on The Fosters as Dawn, who is an athletic and flirtatious student who causes drama for Callie(Maia Mitchell) and AJ (Tom Williamson). I will also be returning to K.C. Undercover as K.C.’s evil cousin, Abby Martin.
What has been your most challenging experience acting/performing?
There was a very emotional scene in K.C. Undercover, where Abby is given a locket with her late mother’s picture in it. I was not expecting to perform such a sad scene in a Disney show, which is what I love about K.C. Undercover, they really push the envelope. We had to do quite a few takes, but Zendaya and Tammy Townsend were so incredibly supportive and I eventually got a take I and the producers really liked. When I finally got to see the scene I was very proud of myself and it gave me the confidence to taken on more dramatic content.
I was not expecting to perform such a sad scene in a Disney show, which is what I love about K.C. Undercover, they really push the envelope.
Who/what inspires you every day?
I am inspired by my art every day! My love for acting is what keeps me working so hard. I have been so lucky to do what I love since I was a young child, it does not get much better than that. I am also so inspired by my family, they are truly my rock. My mom and dad moved across the country because they believed in my talent and I am grateful for that everyday. On those days when I’m feeling low, they are always there with encouragement and love to get me through it. My mom is my momager, my sister is my coach, and my dad is my cheerleader and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
How did you get into makeup?
I have been stealing my mom’s makeup since I could remember. Just like acting, my sister was a makeup artist and would use me as a model, so eventually I followed in her footsteps. I also learned a lot about makeup in my acting camps as a kid and got to sub major in makeup at Los Angeles High School for the Arts, where I became a lead makeup for the theatre department. I would be backstage doing everyone’s makeup, then would run to the stage and to be in a scene, then go back to doing makeup changes.
Can you see makeup as a possible career in the future?
I would love to further my work in makeup. I hope to one day collaborate with a major makeup brand and create an eyeshadow pallet or maybe some brushes. I still help friends out with their makeup for photoshoots and headshots when I have the time because it truly is one of my biggest passions.
Do you have any secret talents?
I can solve a Rubik’s cube in about 2 minutes which I learned after watching a lot of youtube videos. I have also been know to do some pretty good impressions of Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls and Jennifer Coolidge. I hope to maybe turn voiceover into another career.
Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
My advice to anyone aspiring to perform is to remember the reason why you fell in love with it in the first place and never forget that or give up. Things get very hard but as long as you’re still in love with what you do, it will work out. Also don’t be so hard on yourself and enjoy every step of the way to success.
Things get very hard but as long as you’re still in love with what you do, it will work out. Also don’t be so hard on yourself and enjoy every step of the way to success.
What do you do to relax?
When I relax I do it in a major way! I love nothing more than doing nothing when I get the chance. I am a big fan of those rare 24 hour PJ days, Pinteresting and binging a new show surrounded by my cats and family.
Where do you see yourself 10 years in the future?
In 10 years, I hope to be doing what I love now in a big way. I hope to be acting in an iconic T.V show and working on award winning movies. I’ll be hanging out with my amazing family, being a loving aunt to my niece and nephew and having a blast traveling and going on adventures with my friends.
Photos by Natalie Guardado
Words by Liam Curtis
Hair and makeup by Emily Zempel
Originally published in Volume II, Issue No. 001 – Winter 2017.