The latest Aussie to make a splash in Hollywood, Katherine Langford landed her first major role in the US starring in her first role in the hit, 13 Reasons Why.
Born and raised in Parth, after finishing school she signed with an agent and began acting classes and workshops. She also studied at the Principal Academy of Dance & Theatre Arts, majoring in Music Theatre. She was then selected to participate at NIDA Advanced Actors Residency.
Katherine appeared in several small independent films, before auditioning for a TV series about the life of young William Shakespeare. Fate stepped in when she didn’t get the role, enabling her to audition (over Skype) for 13 Reasons Why. Overnight she has become synonymous with the most talked about character on TV, Hannah Baker.
Did you meet anyone like Hannah at your school when you were growing up?
I think luckily my high school experience was a lot better and a lot more joyful than Hannah’s. But growing up, particularly in an era and a generation that I was introduced to social media, I wasn’t ignorant of cyber bullying or bullying, so a lot of issues that we covered in the show resonated for me because I had either seen them or I had known someone who had experienced them.
The show is called 13 Reasons Why. Can you give me 3 reasons why you love life?
I wish I could give more reasons. I think it’s important to recognise that you have up days but you also have down days, and that is kind of what makes both of them special and recognisable. I think for me, things that really cheer me up that I really enjoy, are music. I am a self-taught piano player and I just really enjoy like writing songs on the piano and that’s something that I love. I also really love reading and find stories really interesting. And friends, I just came back from Perth so it was so wonderful seeing my friends.
Is Perth still home?
It’s kind of a tricky question because I don’t know if I necessarily say that I live at home anymore because I go wherever the work needs me. That is kind of the beautiful thing about being the age that I am. I am not tethered to anything and I can go wherever I am needed. But I do get homesick sometimes and I do love to go back whenever I get a chance.
Considering you’ve just done your first show, which is an unmitigated international hit, you seem very grounded.
I am grounded. I just feel like normal person. I mean I guess my upbringing, my parents are both doctors, so I grew up with some really great role models and they are very hard working and they really valued my education.
I do, I have a sibling at home, a younger sister. She is at home in Australia.
Apparently your producer, Selena Gomez, convinced you to make your social media account public. What is the challenge of having a public life and wanting to maintain privacy?
Well I think for me personally, I don’t necessarily have a personal investment in social media. I was private before this show came out and Selena, I remember we were having dinner, and Selena talked to me about the show and the fans and her having the largest following on Instagram. She talked about how wonderful it is to be able to interact with fans and so that for me was a huge amount of why I went public and it’s kind of the reason why I have stayed public. That is my main function on social media. I know that the show has impacted a lot of people so to be able to connect with fans and have a place where I am accessible to them or I can hear their stories, is I think the most rewarding part about social media for me.
What is it like watching yourself on screen?
I watched the show a week or two before it came out. They had gave me a link just to watch the work I had done and it was a bit of a surreal experience. It was interesting because I was crying at moments, even though I knew what was happening and what was going to happen. I still felt like I was able to react like it was the first time I had seen it and like I had no idea what was going to happen.