PHOTOS: Shanna Fisher
VIDEOGRAPHY: Mallory Turner
STYLING: Jennifer Austin at Opus Beauty
MAKEUP: Rob Scheppy for The Only.Agency using Fenty Beauty
HAIR: Scott King for The Only.Agency using Oribe
LOCATION: AKA West Hollywood, Penthouse Suite
WORDS: Thilda Riou
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: Jasmine Perrier
[WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD]
Katie Stevens’ first steps into the entertainment industry can be traced all the way back to her childhood in Connecticut, as she recalls being “bitten by the acting bug” after attending a summer acting camp with her brother. From then on, it was the start of a successful journey for the 27-year-old actress, who you may recognize from her lead role in Freeform’s comedy-drama series, The Bold Type. After completing her photoshoot at AKA West Hollywood back in February, in front of endless views of Los Angeles, we caught up with Katie over the phone to talk about the experiences that led her to the hit show she has been on since 2017 and the challenges faced by her character.
Katie’s career in acting has been intertwined with her passion for music since the beginning. At only 16, the young musician auditioned for American Idol, winning the jury over with her impressive performance of Etta James’ ‘‘At Last.’’ Reaching the singing competition’s Top 9, she was given a spot on the American Idol 2010 summer tour, before moving to Los Angeles. ‘‘Since I had American Idol, my parents allowed me to move to LA so that I could use the exposure from the show to pursue my dream,’’ Katie comments. However, Katie’s path quickly leaned towards acting as soon as she set up home in the City of Angels. ‘‘Living out in Los Angeles, my musical journey was really difficult and I felt really discouraged,’’ she says, explaining that she saw an opportunity to shift gears. ‘‘Moving into acting didn’t feel as intimidating to me. I don’t know why, because it is very intimidating to have to go into auditions and face that rejection. But I am the kind of person who, if somebody tells me ‘no,’ I have this need to prove people wrong.’’
Her first big break came along in 2014, as she booked the role of Karma Ashcroft in MTV’s romantic comedy series Faking It. ‘‘Honestly, it was the best first experience ever,’’ Katie shares. ‘‘I had gone on so many auditions before that — for four years. It was like people didn’t want to take a chance on me because I was just the singer who thought that I could act.’’ Even though the groundbreaking show got sadly cancelled after three seasons, Faking It has a special place in her heart. ‘‘It was really nice because I wanted to be seen as an actress. I didn’t want to be seen as the girl from American Idol. And I had to spend a lot of time separating those two things.’’ Moving from a project to another, Katie auditioned for The Bold Type after the cancellation of Faking It. At that time, the show described to the actress as ‘‘Sex and the City meets The Devil Wears Prada’’ immediately sparked her interest. ‘‘The two roles that I was looking out for were for Sutton and Jane,’’ she tells. ‘‘But when I read the Sutton character, I just thought that she exuded this powerful sexuality. At that moment, I was like, ‘I don’t really think I can play that’. So I decided that I wanted to audition for Jane.’’
Katie has been gracing our screens on The Bold Type for four seasons, taking on the role of the inspiring Jane Sloane, a writer at Scarlet Magazine who works alongside her two best friends, Sutton (Meghann Fahy) and Kat (Aisha Dee). ‘‘I feel like a lot of times, we see stories about friendship where the friends are backstabbing and betraying each other, which is unrealistic,’’ she states. ‘‘I feel very proud to be on a show that portrays female friendship as a very supportive and wonderful thing, where we support one another, we communicate and believe in each other’s dreams.’’ As she portrays a talented and committed journalist, Katie also wants to make sure that the show represents today’s media reality. ‘‘When I first booked the show, I actually got to go to Cosmopolitan, and meet a bunch of the writers there, which was really awesome. I have such an appreciation and a gratitude for journalists because I know that, especially in the world that we live in today, journalism is very difficult.’’
The Bold Type returned for season 4 back in January and it never fails to break down stereotypes one by one, covering everything from relationships to female sexuality. One of Jane’s character arc is her relationship with Ryan (Dan Jeannotte), as she discovers that he cheated on her and first chooses to stay, before ultimately breaking up with him. ‘‘I was excited about telling a story of somebody who chooses to stay, because I think that’s a lot of people’s experience,’’ Katie says. ‘‘I think that in that moment, that was the right thing for her. And then, when she was given more information and she decided to leave, that was the right thing for her too.’’ Another of Jane’s narrative concerns her battle with cancer, as she lost her mother to breast cancer when she was younger, and finds out that she tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation, which increases the risk of developing breast cancer. In the emotional mid-season finale, we see the young writer going to surgery, after deciding to go through a mastectomy. ‘‘This storyline has always been a really challenging one, and also a really empowering story to tell,’’ Katie explains. ‘‘I think that telling the story of somebody who is being proactive is really powerful. In the second half of season 4, you’re gonna see Jane’s post surgery journey: how she’s recovering and how it kind of changes her life and her relationship with her body.’’
‘‘I’ve been working on music in this quarantine, just singing and writing more music,’’ Katie tells us when asked about her future plans in the entertainment industry. ‘‘Music has always been such a big part of my life and will always continue to be. I feel like I want to move in a direction where I don’t allow my own doubts of myself and my own fears prevent me from doing it.’’ In terms of The Bold Type, Katie emphasizes that the second half of season 4 — returning June 11th — will be ‘‘worth the wait,’’ excited about the characters being ‘‘more mature and more solidified’’ in the episodes to come. To conclude our chat, Katie shares one last message with us, letting us know what advice she would have loved to be given when she was younger. ‘‘I would tell my younger self that you should not be validated by anyone’s attention, especially male attention. I think that’s advice that I continue to have to give to myself as I grow older, especially in this day of social media. But the biggest thing I would tell myself is: ‘You’re enough. You’re gonna find your purpose and the people who are meant to be in your life by being exactly who you are.’’’
CHECK OUT KATIE STEVENS’ STORY ON ISSUU FOR MORE EXCLUSIVE CONTENT OR ORDER YOUR PRINT COPY
2 thoughts on “Katie Stevens: On the journey that led her to “The Bold Type” and the challenges faced by her character”
“This storyline has always been a really challenging one, and also a really empowering story to tell”
that’s the power of writing!!
jane is my favorite character of the bold type, and the similarities between jane and katie made me like katie more, her openness and character are so inspiring. hope the bold type continues!