Kathy Searle is an American actress who has appeared in theater and in films. Kathy is best known for her role in the show “My Man is a Loser”, but she has also starred in numerous television series such as “Gossip Girl,” “Body of Proof,” “Lipstick Jungle,” and “Blue Bloods.”

Kathy discussed her experiences on stage and screen via an exclusive interview on October 8, 2018.

Stage, screen, acting, and TV

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for acting and did you start on the stage or screen first?

Kathy Searle (KS): My mom always said I came out of the womb wanting to be an actor!

I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me audition when I was a kid because I was so inspired by seeing Broadway shows at such a young age! And I was a lover of all things comedy…I was very lucky growing up 30 minutes out of the city in New Rochelle where I had access to see incredible theater, and awesome parents who said, learn from the best, so they would let me watch old reruns of the not ready for prime-time players a.k.a. Saturday night live. And that’s really when I learned the art of comedy. When I would hear laughter, it was a sound that affected me so profoundly, and I knew I wanted to affect people that way!

My very first acting experience was a school performance called “Really Rosie”, and I was so nervous, I lost track of my lines, and I remember going blank and the curtain closing… I asked the drama teacher for one more shot, and I went back on that stage and performed the character without a flaw and without missing a beat.

At that moment I knew it’s what I wanted to do forever, this business is all about falling flat on your face and getting right back up, and I found that out at age nine!

MM: How did you land some of the coveted roles you have on big-name TV series?

KS: I was very fortunate when I first started in the industry with my commercials, and that really helped me parlay that into film and TV work.

The nice things about commercials is that they’re on TV & every casting director had one in their office when they saw someone that they didn’t know they would sometimes do general auditions and it helped me get my foot in the door.

Still today at one of my best and favorite roles was working on the multi-camera comedy “hope and faith” it’s starred Kelly Ripa, Faith Ford and Ted McGinley being on a multi-camera comedy is like doing a 30-minute play with a live audience, it’s so fantastic and working with those actors was a dream!

They took me under their wing and made me feel like I was one of them, I also learned a lot watching them of how kind they were to everyone on set! Still always introduce myself to everyone, and I learned that from them!

Also, another favorite TV experience was working on the ABC drama “Body of Proof” where I really got to stretch myself as an actress playing a Serbian killer. I’ve been on “Law & Order,” “Gossip Girl,” “Blue Bloods” and most recently “Red Oaks,” a phenomenal Amazon series, where I was fortunate enough to work with the incomparable Richard Kind! I’ve been really lucky and inspired by the incredible actors I’ve worked with!

Characters, theater, genres, and the future

MM: What types of characters have you played and have any been particularly intriguing?

KS: I'm known as the character actress which is so wonderful because I have the freedom to be so many different characters, I’ve changed my hair color at least three times a year for different roles. I love being able to throw myself into a character. Of course, many know me for my comedic roles. I’m usually the bitchy wife or funny, quirky mom, and I absolutely love playing those roles! I can have fun and channel some of my heroes like Leslie Mann, Kristen Wiig and Pamela Adlon. I will say the past few films that I’ve worked on I’ve really been able to stretch myself and go into a more simple and vulnerable version of me.

I was always scared of characters that were very close to home, and recently I worked on a film called “Eight Slices” that will be coming out in March 2019 that I really got in touch with being a little messy, not always put together, and a little lost.

That simplicity of just Kathy being Kathy within the character was really terrifying but so freeing, so I’m very grateful to the producers and directors who allowed me to go to a place that scares me!

MM: How do you prepare for each individual role and how much of a backstory do you create for the characters that you play?

KS: Every role is different. The one thing that’s always the same is that I usually will choose music that I feel that the character would be listening to, I find that I’m playing that when I am working on the backstory of the character and preparing. Music is a big part of me creating a character. Sometimes writers will allow me to create my character backstory and some film/TV the writers have it very mapped out, but I find it’s always been a collaborative process.

99.9% of the time we are on the same page of the arc of a role.

MM: How tough is theater compared to film and do you prefer one method over the other?

KS: I personally love both, and they are equally as difficult. That being said I love film and TV, I love that on day one of a film you can be doing the last page of the script and it may be a romantic film, and you’re supposed to be in love with someone, and you met them two hours before, so to create that is magical for me!

And with theater it’s incredible because you get that “one take” but you do get an instant reaction, and sometimes the audience is with you, and sometimes they’re not, and it is our job to take them on a journey and tell a story.

So for me, I love them all, because we got to be storytellers!

MM: What kinds of characters—and genres—do you hope to take on in the future?

KS: “Empathy Inc.,” which should be coming out in 2019 premiering at the Austin Film Festival in October was a big stretch because it was a Sci-fi...and black and white! Which I totally loved and was an awesome challenge! I really hope that I will continue to do dramatic work. I look at shows like Handmaids Tale, and I’m so inspired by Elizabeth Moss, Ann Dowd and the entire cast. I would love to be challenged with a series/roles like that! I like the idea of constantly being challenged!

MM: What have been the highlights of your career so far and what are your big goals for your career and what’s forthcoming?

KS: I really have been so fortunate with the work that I’ve done. I am so proud of many of the commercials that I have been in because they are 30-second sitcoms, and then of course hope and faith, the body of proof, films like, “My Man is a Loser,” “Pitching Tents,” and “Love in Kilnerry.” And shows like MTV’s “Damage Control” where it was improv-based… I have really loved the world of being a character actor. I never get bored! Please look out for 2019 for the films I mentioned that are all coming to theaters and on demand!

Also, if there are any actors out there reading this please know it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Every 'no' will eventually lead to a 'yes'! And we climb the ladder together, I have stayed in this industry because of actors, directors and producers that I have continuously worked with and I am inspired by to be not only the best actress but the best version of myself, we are all in this together! It’s all about staying in the game and believing in yourself! Take risks and like the great quote says, fall seven times and get up eight!