INTERVIEW ERIN WALSH
PHOTO CHRISTIAN HOGSTEDT
MEET Mckenna Grace. SBJCT spoke with Mckenna about her latest project, Ghostbusters that includes her hit single Haunted House, why it’s actually easy to not become jaded, taking the No’s with the Yes’s, the realities of living while watching your dreams come true, and the power in positivity. Read on for more…
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Erin Walsh Hello Mckenna! Thank you so much for taking the time to have some fun with us- we are so excited to feature you and all you have been up to. I would love to start at the beginning- tell us a bit about your background and how you got started as an actor in the first place…
Mckenna Grace I started acting when I was 5. I was just a really creative kid, I always wanted to do all the activities I could. I got inspired by watching Shirley Temple and begged my mom for acting classes. I final got her to agree and somehow now I’m in LA doing films 10 years later! It’s crazy how fast time has flown but I’m truly grateful for every moment I have in acting.
EW We have featured many actors who have been doing it since a young age- you are still so young, and have already been doing this for so long. Can you walk us through being on set as a child, and how you manage to not become jaded?
MG Being a child actor is fun for me. I never really felt too out of place among all the adults I worked with. I had a lot of fun! To me it’s easy not to become jaded because I think what I do is just too fun and exciting for that. I love my work. The key to not becoming jaded or whatnot is just enjoying what you’re doing and to always keep being thankful. It’s important to remember that life can change at any moment.
EW Any tips for children who want to be working in the arts? Anything you would avoid?
MG A tip is to not get too discouraged by how many “No’s” there are in acting. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, but most of what you audition for you don’t book. It’s those “yes’s” that really make a difference. I’ve spent countless hours crying over parts that I didn’t get and opportunities I missed out on, but the thing is, if I would’ve done one thing I wouldn’t have been able to do the other! Everything happens for a reason. Just keep going.
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UM YES THAT SOUNDS AMAZING TO ME YES PLEASE
EW I would love to know more about Ghostbusters-tell me everything. What does it feel like stepping into such big shoes?
MG I’ve always been a huge Ghostbusters fan, so stepping onto set everyday was like a dream, I’m still pinching myself. It was scary of course, becoming a part of such a widely known franchise like that, but it was also a dream come true. It was the best summer ever. Working on that set was such an incredible and happy experience.
EW Tell us about Haunted House- its genesis, and how you ended up in the movie with it too! So insane. And deserved, I might add…
MG It’s still so odd my song is finally out and in the end credits of Ghostbusters! The song is kind of a love song to old memories of someone you don’t talk to anymore, old memories that never really leave you-just like a ghost that can never leave a haunted house. The song ended up in the credits by complete fate, it wasn’t planned! I sent the song to our director Jason Reitman to see if he would direct the video and instead he was like, “Kenny, I love this song, can I see what it’s like in the end credits?” I was obviously like “UM YES THAT SOUNDS AMAZING TO ME YES PLEASE” So insane how it worked out.
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EW How do you go about deciding what projects to take on?
MG I like to do films and projects I’m passionate about… I like to do projects that tell good and/or meaningful stories. If I’m taking someone’s time to watch my film, I want to make sure its something they enjoy.
EW What helps you stay sane and tethered these days?
MG My dog and my family and friends. Drinking tea. Praying. Remembering God has a plan. I also roller-skate a lot and love having picnics. Just nice relaxing activities!
EW Any dream role you hope to come your way?
MG I’m not sure. I’d love to do an A24 film, I also can’t wait to do a romance or a romcom now that I’m getting older! Seems like it’d be so fun to make! I’d love to do a super hero movie…I really want to be a Disney Princess in a live action remake of some sort. There is a lot of dreams I have!
I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS MY LIFE AND I’M ALWAYS SO THANKFUL FOR IT.
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EW Do you often get “pinch yourself” moments when huge opportunities come through?
MG Absolutely, I’m pinching myself everyday. I can’t believe this is my life and I’m always so thankful for it.
EW Do you consider acting or the arts as a vocation or something you were called to do?
MG I think I’m just lucky enough to have found something I’m decent at and really love. I’ve been fortunate and worked hard and now I can keep making more things I love.
EW What are your thoughts on purpose- like do you see a greater meaning in your work and what you are called to do? And what else do you feel particularly called to do?
MG As much as I think acting is fun, I definitely am one that thinks that my position has a responsibility and a purpose bigger than myself. I think my job can help spread awareness for topics that need to be discussed….I played a child bride in the Handmaids Tale and now that’s an issue I’m able to have a larger platform to talk about. People bond over film and television and I think thats so cool I get to be a part of that.
EW What inspires you?
MG A lot of the people around me. I think there are so many strong women I get to see in this industry, and I’m really lucky to have worked with many of them. I’m constantly inspired by how much work everyone puts into the films we make! It wouldn’t be possible without one of the people on set. I always want to make sure I do my best because of that.
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EW How do you like to spend your days when you aren’t working?
MG I like to roller-skate and play video games, though most recently I’ve been writing a lot of music and writing a lot of scripts with my dad! I’m also training right now 6 days a week for a role I have coming up this summer. So I’m working out a lot!
EW Tell us how you use your platform to pay it forward.
MG I try to spread positivity. I think it’s important to be aware of the energy we put out, so I try to make it positive. I’m still learning and I make mistakes, but I always want to see the positive in anything I go through…as hard and as cliche as that might sound. More recently, in interviews, I really am proud being able to spread awareness for sexual assault and child marriage after playing a victim of both in Handmaid’s Tale. Im lucky to have just played that character when that is a reality for so many people around the world.
EW Do you keep anything in the way of a 5 or 10 year plan?
MG I plan to move into more aspects of my craft like directing, producing and writing. I’m very excited for things my dad and I have been writing lately.
EW What do you wish people would stop asking you in interviews?
MG ABOUT MY CELEBRITY CRUSH HAHA. I just personally find it pointless to have one. It’d be so weird if I talked about a celebrity and was like “oOOOOH they’re so hot! Yeah I have a huge crush on them.” I mean… imagine if I did that and then ended up working with the person! AH! Awkwarddd. I also look back and think it was really inappropriate for people to be asking me that when I was like 9 years old.
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EW What do you wish you were asked more often?
MG I don’t know! I love being asked new questions and I enjoy being asked fun ones about the things and hobbies I have in my personal life.
EW What makes you hopeful after a year of pandemic life?
MG Seeing people come together again (in a safe way)! I’m so excited to be going back to the theaters! I’m so happy people are going to see my film in theaters and experience it together, I think that is so cool and exciting.
EW Book we should be reading?
MG Hmmmm…. I really liked the Red Queen series! And the Scythe series! Also The Dark Decent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is really good. Hehe I love books.
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I JUST PERSONALLY FIND IT POINTLESS TO HAVE ONE.
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