ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: KAT KHAN
Posted: Nov 1, 2023
Posted: Nov 1, 2023
Meet Kat Khan, a talented Toronto-based actress who is making waves in the Canadian screen industry and beyond! With a passion for the arts that ignited at a young age, Kat has been honing her craft and captivating audiences with her talent. Her commitment to her roles makes her a rising star to watch. Kat is a versatile actress who has built a strong educational foundation through dedicated study and training. Having graduated from York University’s Acting Conservatory in 2020 and the CBC Actors Conservatory in 2023, Kat has delved into various acting techniques. Her pursuit of excellence in the world of acting has not gone unnoticed.
In 2023, Kat made her feature film debut playing the lead role of Camila in the coming of age film Verona, which hits theatres November 3, 2023. Additional credits include playing Katie in the cast of Gay Mean Girls Season 2, The Handmaid’s Tale, Fear Thy Roommate, TallBoyz, Ghostwriters, Better at Texting (Reelworld ’22), and Jupiter (CFC), to name a few! Kat’s passion for storytelling is centred around her desire to create work where BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities can be seen through the portrayal of characters that showcase the intricate layers of the human story.
We sat down with Kat to get the latest scoop on what’s next for this talented creator. Read more in the spotlight below.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane, when did you know you wanted to pursue a career as an actress?
I have always known since I was a kid. I always loved performing so much. When I was fourteen I did my first musical and that’s when I was like “oh okay, I really want to take this seriously”. I fell in love with acting but It was so tough to navigate because I had no idea how anything worked or how I was going to make a career out of it. I had no connections to the industry. I am the only artist in my family so they never understood what I wanted to do, so it has always been me running around trying to figure everything out, but hey, I kind of figured a few things out!
I did a lot of musical theatre in and out of high school. When I was eighteen I was accepted into York University’s Acting Conservatory. York was when I really committed to making this my future. During my summer break, I went to NYC to train with the Broadway Artists Allianceto further my craft. I started doing commercials and short films during my time at York because I knew I needed to start building a resume. I went to LA before graduating and I was doing so much work for free. There is a lot I am leaving out, but I was hustling. I honestly was doing everything I could before graduating in an attempt to prepare myself for success post-graduation. After graduating York in 2020, I began my film and television career. Two years later, I was accepted into the CBC Actors Conservatory at the CFC. It is wild to think about how fast things have happened but I have been at it for quite some time.
I have always known I wanted this as a career. Because I have built a career from nothing, I hold onto the milestones and tell myself “Yeah I can do this, I can really do this.” I just needed to show myself that it was possible and that is what I did. I am really thankful.
How do you choose your roles, and what do you look for in a script or character?
When I am presented with a project there is always an initial feeling I have and it is different every time. It is hard to describe, but I guess what I am trying to say is that my intuition will know first. Also, I am really big on genre and tone, I love to know the world we are playing in and how to adjust for it. I love niche and diverse characters and roles that I can bring my entire self to. It’s always a special moment when I can say “oh, I really see myself in this character”.
Are there any dream roles or genres you’d like to explore?
I feel the most called to drama at this point in my career. I would love to explore more comedy, drama, thriller and horror – that is a lot of fun to do. To be specific, my dream is to lead an A24 coming of age/drama film.
Can you share some of highlights from your time as a resident in the 2022 CBC Actors Conservatory?
Doing the intensive was a huge highlight for me. I got to work through so many different aspects of myself that I will continue to hold onto throughout my career. I gained so much ability to take risks and be courageous through that work.
I was the youngest person in my cohort so although I was intimidated at times, I was so thankful to be able to learn from such seasoned artists every day. Shout out to my fellow acting residents – Augusto, Rachel, Ivy, Leishe, Isabella, Alsseny, and Riley. These actors are ridiculously talented and it was such a pleasure to get to witness their growth and gifts every day.
Working on my film Jupiter was another highlight. It was such a fun and fulfilling creative journey. I got to write and act in a really special film and create it with the most diverse and loving team. Hearing how people relate to the story was so special to me and I am so proud of the film.
How has your time at the Canadian Film Centre impacted your career?
I will always be so grateful for the opportunity to be at the CFC. It has contributed so much to the progression of my career. I am in rooms that I never thought I would be in at this time in my career. The CFC opened so many doors for me.
This year marks the CFC’s 35th anniversary, as an organization that continues to drive the next generation of Canadian storytelling, we like to hear from young creators like yourself! Tell us, what kind of future do you envision for the Canadian screen industry?
I think the future is bright, niche, and diverse. I hope to see a future where stories of BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ people can see themselves in lenses that are vulnerable and loving. Honestly, I hope to see creators taking a risk on younger or newer creatives. So many actors just need a shot. We know what artists can do because they were given an opportunity. Give new actors a chance.
This year, you starred as the lead in the film Verona, which follows a teenage girl’s struggle to belong after the death of her grandfather. Can you share more about this project and how it came to be?
Yes! Verona is my debut in a feature film so it is such a huge milestone for me and a really exciting time. It is a coming of age drama. Everything kind of just fell into place. My director Sebastian had reached out to me about the project and we quickly realized that our commitment to the work was a perfect match. We knew that it was all about collaboration and learning for us. I was attached to the film quite early (2019, because we were originally supposed to film in 2020 but were postponed) so there was a lot of time to really work through the movie together and collaborate on the story and my role. Go see it in theatres!
Do you have any memorable on-set experiences from Verona, or any other projects you’ve worked on?
Working on Verona was a dream come true for me, every day was so special and unreal. So many memories. I got to learn how to drive manual and drive a really big truck which was so cool. I met my now BFF Nikola and my now producer Lola Gafaar on the movie.
I had the privilege of doing a season of a show called Gay Mean Girls. I loved working on that set. I watched one of my cast mates try a Twinkie for the first time…he hated it. I got to experience working with an all queer cast and I will always hold that close to my heart.
What advice do you have for aspiring actors looking to break into the industry?
Don’t be afraid to “shoot your shot”. I had to really hustle to cultivate relationships, so if there is anyone who is trying to break in from scratch just know I am rooting for you. I am a big believer in reaching out to the people who are doing what you would like to do, ask them to be a mentor. Be in the room! Go see other people’s work! Take care of yourself and get to know yourself. I think it is the culmination of our experiences and uniqueness that is actually our greatest offering to the work. It is so easy to compare yourself to others so it is so important to run your own race.
Aside from acting, what are some of your other hobbies?
I love Pilates, hot girl walks, reading, cooking, writing, singing, and watching movies. I am currently learning how to bake so wish me luck!
Can you tell us about any upcoming roles you’re excited about?
First and foremost, I am so excited about Verona heading to theatres this November! A dream come true. Also, I am so thrilled to be collaborating again with fellow alum Andrew Hamilton on his latest film called The Love Bug. Working with him on Limbo was one of the best experiences of my career. There is a lot in the works that I cannot mention right now so I will leave it at that!
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