Anna Cathcart On Splitting Her Time Between 'XO, Kitty' & College

XO, Kitty’s Anna Cathcart Has The Best Of Both Worlds In College

The Netflix star is splitting her time between set and the University of British Columbia.

Anna Cathcart and her character in XO, Kitty aren’t that different IRL. The To All The Boys spinoff series begins with Kitty following in her mother’s footsteps by attending a new school in Seoul, South Korea. Similarly, Cathcart has also recently added new student to her resume.

The 20-year-old specifically chose the University of British Columbia in Canada, because it’s where her family went to college. She tells Elite Daily, “I grew up being like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be my turn one day.’” Not only is UBC where her parents met, but it’s also where her sister made lifelong friends. “I knew I wanted to do the same thing,” she says. That’s why, despite finding success as a working actor, Cathcart chose to go to college simultaneously.

Splitting her time between class and red carpet premieres isn’t easy, though. The Canadian actor often jokes with her friends that she’s living a Hannah Montana life. Channeling the Miley Cyrus Disney character has actually helped her put things into perspective. “I need to remind myself in those moments where I have to miss something in school world because of work world, that I'm just excited that I even have both worlds,” she says.

The XO, Kitty star will be getting the best of both worlds once again when Season 2 starts filming later this year. Below, the UBC sophomore, who’s studying sociology and creative writing, shares how she manages her busy schedule, what it’s like getting recognized on campus, and where she’d like to see Kitty’s story go next season.


Elite Daily: You already had an impressive career before you started college. Did people recognize you when you got to campus?

Anna Cathcart: I started freshman year before XO, Kitty had come out. The [To All The Boys] movies had been out for a bit, but people recognizing me really wasn't too noticeable. But this past semester, because XO, Kitty had just come out in the summer, it was definitely happening quite a bit more. I’ve been learning to adjust to that and figuring it out, but everyone's been super nice and I've met a lot of really cool people.

ED: As a working actor, what is your social life like at school?

AC: I was really lucky that I had met so many incredible people in my first year at UBC, who are going to be lifelong friends. I found a community, and I joined an organization on campus that plans events and does a lot of student and campus life projects. That has been my little bubble on campus.

UBC is a really large school, so there are so many new friends to meet and a lot of diversity on campus. A lot of my friends are in the industry and that's amazing, but there's something really special about having friends in a community outside of the acting world as well.

It's cool that we're all in the same community, but we're all chasing different passions.

ED: It gives you something different to talk about than just auditions and work.

AC: Yeah, it’s special to be friends with people who have the same goals because you can all bond over that, but it's cool to also have friends who have different dreams. My friends at UBC who are doing science are like, “Today I had to go to the lab and mix this potion.” For me, that's so foreign. I'm like, “Oh, I had to write a short story about different things.” It's cool that we're all in the same community, but we're all chasing different passions.

ED: You mentioned an event-planning organization you joined. What made you decide to join that club?

AC: When I was little and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a party planner. Event planning is so fun; I love bringing people together. It's been another mini passion of mine that I haven't really explored as much before this. We plan different events and parties for students on campus, but also off campus.

Anna Cathcart/Instagram

ED: Are you ever worried when people recognize you on campus or see you at a party that they'll take videos?

AC: It's definitely crossed my mind before, and it's just another aspect of things to be aware of while you're at school, which is interesting and hard to navigate. But I've been acting since before I even started high school, so I've had to weave those parts into my life before. It's almost trained me. And for the most part, it hasn't really impeded me getting to be myself or have fun with my friends, which is something I'm very grateful for.

ED: You've mentioned before that you live a very Hannah Montana lifestyle. Do you still feel that way?

AC: In high school, I almost felt that way more. Classes are your whole world in high school versus on a large campus like UBC, you're doing your own thing.

I do feel like Hannah Montana.

It feels less like balancing those two things, but there are many moments when I've come home from a work trip, landed from LA, and driven to campus to go do something for school. In those moments, I do feel like Hannah Montana. I always joke about that, and my friends have teased me about that so many times. One of them always says, “You get the best of both worlds,” which helps me manage my stress. In those moments of freaking out about balancing work and school, I'm just excited to do both.

ED: Do you have any tips for managing a busy schedule?

AC: Learn to say no to things. Even if you can do everything, sometimes maybe you shouldn't. I often tell myself, “You can do it all,” but last time I did everything, I had a breakdown afterward because I was so exhausted.

WWD/WWD/Getty Images

ED: Speaking of splitting your time, you actually missed the first few days of classes for New York Fashion Week. How do you decide what is worth going to?

AC: I am constantly trying to determine what's worth the sacrifice. I never feel satisfied with making decisions because there are what-ifs for everything. For fashion week, it was the very start of the year, so I could comfort myself in knowing I'm not missing classes that are absolutely necessary.

What’s really tough is, in this industry, everything is so last-minute. They'll be like, “Oh, can you come to this?” I'm like, “Oh, that's my dream. I would love to, but no, it's tomorrow.”

ED: You’ll be filming Season 2 of XO, Kitty sometime this year. Do you know when and if it’ll take you away from school?

AC: I really don't know any details, but it's happening at some point. Ultimately, that's a really big thing I've had to learn just as an actor in general — there are a lot of unknowns all the time and you’ve just got to go with it. It comes with the territory.

[Filming XO, Kitty] did reflect college and parallel those experiences.

ED: In the show, Kitty goes to Korea for school. Did working on XO, Kitty prepare you for living on your own?

AC: Because I had just graduated high school and went to Korea, I was comparing it to if I went on exchange program myself. A lot of those aspects were the same of being away from home, trying to be a little bit more independent for the first time, being seen as an adult in the world, and meeting new friends who were from a bunch of different places.

It did reflect college and parallel those experiences. Same with living in our hotel because we all lived in the same place and it felt like dorms. You could run down the hallway and everyone was just in their rooms.

ED: Last season, Kitty got herself into a love square. Do you have a team you're personally rooting for or someone that you would like to see Kitty with in Season 2?

AC: I am Team Kitty. Something that she's trying to figure out is how to follow her heart and do what feels right for her. If she just keeps doing that, she'll be with the right person, but I also think she doesn't need to be with anyone. Kitty could totally be by herself at times, and her journey is not to find a partner. Her journey is to find herself, and I want that to still be the narrative.

Park Young-Sol/Netflix

ED: You've mentioned before that when XO, Kitty first dropped, you were getting a lot of fan edits on your For You page. Are you still on XO, Kitty TikTok?

AC: I'm not. The fan edits really flooded my page at the start. It was a little overwhelming, but I haven't seen any in a while. There are also apparently ship names that I didn't even really know about. I feel like I'm so out of it.

ED: What corners of TikTok are you currently on?

AC: There's a lot of singing videos. I love finding new music from TikTok. I also have a lot of random comedy videos that other people probably would not think are funny, but I think they're funny.

ED: When you’re not on TikTok, how do you like to have fun with your roommate?

AC: We have a picture frame that says, “Roommate of the Month.” We'll vote at the end of every month. It's just the two of us, but we’ll say why we deserve to be roommate of the month before we vote. I was roommate of the month first, and now he's roommate of the month because he fixed the oven and my phone. There was also a bug and he smushed it. Those all get points, and then you deduct points if you left your muddy shoes in the foyer or you didn't put away something.

Roommate life and living out of the house was a big part of this college chapter.

It’s a great incentive to be a good roommate because you want your really dumb photo to sit in the frame. My roommate and I also have a list of a bunch of movies that we’ve seen and love that the other hasn’t. We're slowly checking through them. Roommate life and living out of the house was a big part of this college chapter. It's definitely made a really big difference.

ED: What are you most excited for this year, both in school and work?

AC: Becoming more independent has been a theme in the last few years. I enjoy small little things of learning to make your own lunches, packing them, and going to school on my own. I'm also driving a lot more, and getting confident. Those little things make me realize I can be my own person. I can be an adult.

I'm really excited for more moments like that. I also want to meet more people and make memories. I'm definitely a connection person. I get excited meeting someone new and having good moments with different people and sharing that.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.