Kat Cunning has rule the stages in NYC, and now she’s making her way to a TV near you. Her queerness and unapologetic realness can’t be stopped, and she’s not slowing down anytime soon. Except, of course, to catch up with OUT FRONT and spill the tea about her latest projects.
Let’s begin by chatting more about Trinkets. How has it been received by audiences?
Oh my God, I can only tell you want I am receiving personally, and it is such a huge influx of love. I have never experienced anything like this. I have received so many messages online from people telling me I have touched them in so many different ways; they decided to come out to their parents; they haven’t seen role models like this on TV yet. These are from people all over the world. People are asking me to marry them [laughs]. Yeah, it’s just a huge influx of love and appreciation for what the show is bringing.
Can you tell us a bit more about your character, Sabine?
Before the show started filming, all I really knew about Sabine was that she was sassy and confident, the Queen of Portland and a captivating performer. The more that I read, I was like, ‘This is me. I must bring myself into this character.’ And I am originally from Portland, Oregon; that was the one thing I was like, ‘I must do this right.’
On top of that, Sabine is a weird character, and I really appreciate the way she is included in the story without making a big to-do about her sexuality, but still offering people an example. I know that was really, really important to me when I was young, being able to see people like that. So, yeah, I think Sabine is very confident, and she knows what she wants. She’s a magnificent performer who is interested in Elodie because she finds her innocence amusing.
Why should we watch Trinkets? What makes it unique and stand out from other Netflix shows?
I am a huge fan of Kirsten Smith’s writing. She wrote 10 Things I Hate About You, which for me is the rom-com bible. It’s like a young adult drama adaptation of Shakespeare, and I think Trinkets has a similar tone. I think the way these characters are written; they don’t dumb down young people. They show young people going through things, but, unlike some of the other teen shows that are out right now, Trinkets still has sort of like a sunny disposition.
Like, I still need to be feeling positive and hopeful. What I have experienced, this is a very accurate picture of how bright and motivated kids are, and there is an amazing focus on female friendships. That’s super important, and it’s a feel-good thing to watch, girls who decide to be there for each other instead of dealing with the high school drama. Like the cheerleader making fun of the other girl and everyone’s fighting for the boy. This is refreshing because a lot of those stereotypes are broken down throughout the show.
In addition to acting, you are also a singer/songwriter, and two of your original songs are featured in Trinkets. How awesome is that for you?
It’s incredible! I didn’t quite realize what a big deal it was until I saw how they cut it together. The feeling to have my stuff featured, it’s unreal. I was expecting to hear a little bit of it or whatever, but to hear my whole song was such an honor. I have to throw some love to Kirsten Smith and Netflix for choosing to feature an original artist. It was a bold choice, and I am very grateful that they chose me.
That’s amazing! Have you always had a passion for music and acting?
Yes, I always have, but most of my life, I was doing some form of dance. I was a strict dancer, and I started when I was three. I danced all the way through college. So, I am kind of a late bloomer when it comes to music and acting because I was so dedicated to the craft of dance, but it’s very cool to realize that acting and music were at the heart of what I loved about dance all this time.
You have released quite a few singles, and you have received praise for your overt displays of queer sexuality. Do you think the LGBTQ community is not represented enough in the music industry?
I put forth that I am queer, so I never have to come out. I feel what happened with Sam Smith was very sad, and I don’t want anyone to not know that I am queer. I want my whole life story to be inspiring to people and hopefully help people empathize with the fact that we actually are the same. We all want the same thing. I do think that there are LGBTQ artists trapped inside, because people in the industry are afraid that they won’t be successful. I think that we have had amazing, queer artists in all genres of music, and it is cool that we are coming out now. It is important to me to make it clear that I am queer so nobody ever tries to tell me that I should hide that.
And how are you using your platform to bring more recognition to queer artists?
I think it is important for me to collaborate with other queer artists whenever possible so that we are continuing to give each other opportunities. And besides being a public as I can about that being a part of my identity, I also like to champion the artists that I love, and hopefully I will have an opportunity to collaborate with some of those people that I am obsessed with at some point.
Do you currently have any more songs in the works?
I have so many songs [laughs]. I am sitting on so many that I have been waiting to release. They will be released in time, and I am excited to share them.
Photos by Maddy Talias and Jordan Kourupes