Through sparkling eyes, Anna Cathcart gazes out onto the New York City skyline and gasps. She’s hundreds of feet in the air, breathless while looking at the skyscrapers seen as equals from the 64th floor of the World Trade Center. Having grown up in Vancouver, Canada, the actor doesn’t get to come to Manhattan often, though she’s long dreamed of moving to the city. “I still see it as a place where all your dreams can come true,” she says, a 19-year-old already on the precipice of seeing some of those dreams come to life.
After acting in shows and commercials since she was a child, Cathcart saw her breakout at 14 in Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the 2018 teen rom-com based on Jenny Han’s YA novel of the same name. The irresistibly charming series was an instant sensation and Cathcart was immediately praised for her scene-stealing role as Kitty Song Covey, the meddling matchmaker youngest sister in a biracial Korean American family.
Whispers of a spin-off for Kitty began while Cathcart was filming the subsequent films in the To All the Boys trilogy, which arrived in 2020 and 2021. But she refused to believe that she was actually going to helm her own series — even after the script for XO, Kitty, the new romantic dramedy arriving May 18 on Netflix, was in her hands.
“In my mind, it was a joke,” Cathcart tells Teen Vogue while sitting on a couch across from the panoramic city view. It’s a bright spring day and she looks poised in her matching light blue tweed skirt and jacket set, complete with octagonal, wire-frame eyeglasses. There’s a put-together air about Cathcart, but she talks in a nonstop string of sentences when there’s something she’s particularly excited about.
“Like, oh, my God, how great would it be for Kitty to have a spin-off,” Cathcart continues. “I’m here for it, but that's not going to happen. That’s only an actor’s dream.” She lets out a woozy laugh that reveals a little bit of her teenage self-deprecating goofiness. It was only when she was aboard the plane to Korea, where most of the show is set, that it finally started to sink in that she was actually the star. “Then it was like, ‘Okay, we’re actually going to shoot this thing!’”