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'XO, Kitty' star Anna Cathcart talks about living in Seoul for four months and being half-Asian

By Brooke Villanueva Published Jun 27, 2023 5:10 pm

Anna Cathcart, who plays teen matchmaker Kitty Song Covey in XO, Kitty, lived in Seoul, Korea for four months for the Netflix series—and it was nothing like the “bold moves” she’s done in the past.

The actress detailed her experience with PhilSTAR L!fe as she compared it to going to international school like her character on the show. “It was truly like an incomparable experience than anything else that I’ve gotten to do in my life. It was brand new and having to move across the world and meet new people, it was definitely like a learning curve.” 

“I felt like I was going to an international school the way Kitty was because I met so many new people and got to explore a brand new place and learn a lot about myself,” she added, noting that this was her first time to be the lead of a series, work as an adult, and live so far away from home. 

In the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before spin-off, Kitty moves to Korea to reunite with her long-distance boyfriend and enroll at the Korean Independent School of Seoul, where she gets to learn more about life and love.

Coming up with realizations about her personal life during filming made it all the more special for her. “I think just realizing what you’re capable of, and realizing what you love and who you are was all kind of heightened while I was there because Kitty was realizing that all at the same time, so having those parallels was extra special and made the whole experience very memorable,” she said.

On top of getting to hang out with the cast, she was left in awe of the beauty of Seoul—not just its stunning views but also its people. The months she spent in the city even strengthened her connection to her Asian roots. 

Anna makes it a point to celebrate her being half-Asian (she's half-Chinese and half-Irish) in her own ways to this day. “I grew up in Vancouver where there’s a lot of biracial people and there was a lot of kids my age who were half-Asian and who had similar ancestry to me. I was really lucky that I felt like I could celebrate my background and that being mixed was a really positive great thing, that I got the chance to be part of two beautiful cultures and get to know different traditions and different parts of myself,” she shared. 

She told L!fe that she still enjoys Asian traditions, with Chinese New Year as one of her favorite days of the entire year. “There’s so many traditions surrounding that one day that means a lot for my family. One thing that’s been one of my favorites since I was little is that on Chinese New Year, when you wake up, you have to have something sweet so you have a sweet year.” 

“So the very first thing you eat is candy, we make a whole plate of my favorite Chinese candies and that was, since I was little, one of my favorite things because it’s so fun. How would that not be fun? Eat candy for breakfast? That’s the greatest,” she said with a laugh.

The teen star is aware that some biracial people are left with questions about themselves and their individuality. “I know that for a lot of people who are biracial, there’s the feeling of not being enough of one thing or enough of the other thing and that could definitely be a challenge, but I hope in the future, they can feel that those two things make them whole and that they kind of make a beautiful combination.” 

She hopes to share the same message with biracial teens through XO, Kitty. “Hopefully, other kids who watch the show now and see somebody who is biracial can feel like they can celebrate their roots as well because I know that’s not the same experience for everyone and it varies on where you grow up or the communities you’re a part of,” she added, “but it really is an exciting, beautiful thing. Hopefully, more and more people can feel like they can celebrate it.”

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XO, Kitty is now streaming on Netflix. According to the streaming platform, it garnered 72.1 million hours of viewing in its first week and made it to the Top 10 of most-watched offerings in 90 countries. It has been officially renewed for Season 2.