DINNER IN AMERICA
Actress, writer, producer... Katherine Waddell and the Hollywood Takeover
Thank you for being part of our zine. Tell us more about your beginnings in the industry!
I got started with acting in the fourth grade when I was cast in my first role as Mrs. Bucket in
Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. After that, I was hooked! I was in every play and
musical possible all the way up until the end of high school. I even took the theatre classes that
my school offered twice just so I could soak everything up. Then, I received my B.A. in
Performance Art from Rollins College. I took a small break from acting once I graduated by
pursuing the administrative side of working in a theatre. I worked at two different theatres in
Downtown Orlando – Mad Cow and the Orlando Rep. When I moved to South Bend, IN, I began
writing local theatre reviews for the website BroadwayWorld, and commuting to nearby
Chicago, IL, where I began taking classes at Second City and auditioning for acting roles. That’s
also where I began working at Gasoline Films, where I would eventually end up working my
way up from an intern to a Senior Associate Producer. Once I moved to Atlanta, GA, I began
freelance producing and continuing to pursue acting. I really got into producing because there
can be a lot of waiting around for acting, and if jobs aren’t coming in, it can cause low morale.
However, I love being on set, so I still wanted to be able to be a part of film making, even if I
couldn’t do it as an actor. I’ve really come to love both, and love to switch between the two jobs.
In Los Angeles, I’ve continued to pursue both to the fullest!
Where are you located now and where are you originally from?
Originally, I was born in West Point, New York, but I moved to Brazil at the age of 5 and stayed
there until I was 18. I returned to the United States for college and lived in Winter Park, Florida
for four years. Then I lived in South Bend, Indiana for two years, and then Atlanta, Georgia for
another two! After my two years in Atlanta, I decided to move to Los Angeles. I’ve been here
since the end of August, and I’ve really been enjoying myself so far!
Goals for 2020 and beyond?
My biggest goal for this year is to get a script that I have in development fully funded and
filmed. My collaborative partner, Em Johnson, and I have been working on a story called
Balloon Animal for a year now. We have a pitch deck completed, so in 2020 we will be focusing
on securing finances and hopefully filming it. We are beyond excited about this project! Past
that, I would just love to continue working consistently in the industry, either as an actor or a
producer. That’s really what makes me feel the most accomplished and happy – working all the
What have been the specific challenges in your career so far? What have been the greatest
achievements so far?
I feel the biggest challenge so far in my career has been my own mindset, and self-appointed
disappointments I feel. When I entered my early twenties, I had a vision of where I thought I
would be by this age, or what I would have accomplished by now. What I’ve learned is that
nothing is going to happen at the pace I want it to, or even in the way that I want it to. So, letting
go of what I expected and embracing that my hard work will eventually pay off has been an
obstacle, but also a valuable lesson.
My greatest achievement so far is being a co-executive producer on Dinner in America, where I
also have a small acting role! Dinner in America just recently got into the main competition at
Sundance, and is produced by Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Productions, alongside other talented
people such as Ross Putnam, John Covert, Nicholas Weinstock, David Hunter, and Sam Slater.
I’m proud to be attached to the project, and I had a blast spending a day on set with everyone in
Detroit where it filmed. Kyle Gallner stars in it and it was surreal to meet and act with him,
especially since I grew up watching him in other films and tv shows!
Who are your top inspirations?
I really find inspiration in my friends and colleagues who surround me on a daily basis. Seeing
how hard everyone works in trying to establish themselves and work towards making their
dreams come true is always inspirational and a privilege. These are the people who I want to
work with for the rest of my life, and so I always push myself to try and match their pace and
work ethic so that I can stand alongside them as titans one day.
Having accomplished so much in your career, are there more dreams you hope to conquer?
Of course! I always feel there’s more to achieve and conquer in my career. I really feel like I’m
just getting started and there’s still so much to do. It might seem simple, but my dreams consist
mostly of just getting to work on projects that I feel passionately about. I want to continue to
move forward and represent all the great film projects I’ve already worked on, and also find or
create new ones!
Any words of wisdom for your followers out there?
I would say to try your best to persevere. Try to be in this for the long haul. Things take time to
come to fruition, but if you keep at it there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I also think it’s
important to redefine what success means to us sometimes. Success can sometimes be as simple
as, “I got to create today,” and having small and meaningful wins like that can help our attitudes
and souls moving forward in an industry that can be brutal.
Please list your social media links so our readers can follow you everywhere!
I’m mainly on Instagram! My handle is @katg.waddell. You can also follow my Youtube page
where my friend and collaborative partner Em Johnson and I, post mukbangs and ASMR videos!
It’s called Em and Kat Eat.