Katherine McNamara Talks ‘Shadowhunters’ and Being Her Own Stuntwoman


Kat McNamara and I go way back. We first got close during my job at J-14, and I was able to continue working with the fiery redhead throughout my time at Teen Vogue. Over those couple years, I also got to see this girl grow. I’ve seen her score roles in everything from MTV’s Happyland to Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, and I’ve gotta say — there’s no one who deserves the success more. And it just keeps on coming. This year you can catch Kat in her starring role in Freeform’s new show Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments where she plays Clary Fray. Spoiler: She’s more badass than I’ll ever be.

Since Kat plays a demon hunter (no big deal), her job involves some pretty cool fight scenes and stunts. And yes — she does them herself. If you’re dying to know how she got ready for such a demanding role, you’re probably going to want to keep reading.

How did you prepare for all the fight scenes and stunts for Shadowhunters?

We had quite a bit of training during the process of the first season. We had a personal trainer who kicked our butts so we could look like the warriors we play on screen. We also had gymnastics training because we all wanted to be able to do our own stunts, and weapons training with the myriad of demon-killing devices we use on the show. It was a cast bonding experience for us — getting to train together and teach each other how to use all the weapons.

What was the hardest part of starring in such a physical role?

The most difficult part of the physicality of the role was keeping up the workout regimen while simultaneously shooting the show. The shooting schedule itself was very intense. Long hours, late nights, and night shoots happening once a week. It made it quite a bit harder to have a workout schedule considering I was often choosing between sleep and exercise.

What does your day-to-day fitness routine look like, and do you have a favorite way to work out?

I don’t really have a day-to-day workout routine. I like to switch it up! That way I’m always entertained and motivated and looking forward to my workout. I love boxing, cardio, dance, and spin class. Spin classes have become my favorite as of late. It’s a fun way to work out with great music, good friends, hard work, and total body results.

How did you stay healthy on set during such a demanding role?

It’s not easy staying healthy on set. When you’re working long hours and constantly walking by the food table full of delicious looking snacks, sometimes it’s hard to make the right choice. However, they took good care of us and made sure that we had options. Now that’s not to say I didn’t on occasion partake in the 11 o’clock cheese-and-cracker extravaganza, but I did my best to make the right choices most of the time.

Did you have a favorite meal that kept you energized and ready to take on the intense scenes?

My favorite go-to snack on set is an apple. It’s quick, easy, portable, and delicious.

What’s something your fans don’t know about what goes into preparing for a role like this?

Something people may not realize about what it takes to prepare for a role like this is the amount of hard work it takes. We all put literal blood, sweat, and tears into the making of Shadowhunters and I truly believe it paid off. Film and television can seem like a very glamorous job. It can seem like an easy job. But I can assure you that’s not always the case. However, if you love it, it’s the best job in the world.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned playing Clary?

I learned so much playing this character. So much so that I truly hope we get a second season so I’m able to apply what I learned and continue in this learning process. Most importantly, I’ve learned to trust myself and my instincts and to not be afraid to take risks in my work and in my life. Aside from that, being the youngest member of the cast, I’ve learned so much personally and professionally from the rest of the cast — I’m so thankful to have such a great group to share this with.

How to Stay Motivated This Year

New year, new you. Right? Right. The only problem is sticking with all the goals you set for the next 365 days. The first month or two always seem easy, but as the year drags on, I tend to find myself slipping. More than I’d like to admit. But these simple ideas are surefire ways to make sure you keep pushing toward your goals in 2016.

1. Reward yourself for your efforts.

I’m all about treating myself, and sometimes that means treating myself too much. It used to be more of a “I-worked-out-so-now-I-can-have-froyo!” sort of thing, but we all know that doesn’t work out too well. Now it’s rewarding myself with material possessions instead of delicious desserts. So if I have a solid week of working out, I’ll treat myself to a new sports bra. Or maybe a new pair of spandex. It’s something I can hold on to and a great reminder of the progress I’m making.

2. Make a motivation jar.

Yep, it’s cheesy. But I like it. I saw the idea on Instagram recently and fell in love. Basically what you do is put $1 (or more!) in the jar every time you work out. By the end of the year, you’ll have a jar full of money to spend on whatever you want. This honestly might be the only method of saving that works for me.

3. Grab a friend.

Everyone needs a support system, especially when it comes to their health. If you surround yourself with people who help you reach your goals, it will be easier than ever to stick with them. I have some friends who are health nuts who constantly push me to try new things and eat healthy, yummy foods, and I have other friends who are always down to grab a burger and a drink. Make sure you have both in your life to not only keep a good balance, but to keep you sane. Sanity is important, people.

 4. Do what you enjoy. Seriously.

This is so, so, so important. Whether your goal is to lose weight or just get into better shape, it’s going to be hard to stick with your program if you absolutely hate it. If you despise bootcamp, don’t do it. If you hate running, don’t do that, either. Find something you love and you’ll actually want to keep it in your schedule beyond the first couple months.

5. Don’t fall out of the habit.

I know more than anyone that it’s hard to make fitness a priority. Some days I’m completely pooped and just want to stay in bed and sleep. But if I press snooze more than a few days in a row, it’s ridiculously hard to get back in the swing of things. Which sucks. It’s the worst getting into a routine, and way too easy to get out of it. Because of that, make sure you stay in a habit. Some mornings I drag myself to the gym just to drag myself there. I don’t do a whole lot, but I go — that’s what matters. As long as you keep the consistency in your life, you’ll be much better off in the long run.

And if you’re still not motivated, this should help. Thanks, Shia! You’ve come such a long way since Holes.

5 Minutes with Jera of @WorkoutBean

In the ‘5 Minutes’ series, you’ll meet the raddest health and fitness ladies on the internet. Get ready for a serious dose of inspiration from empowering women I admire around the globe.

Name: Jera Foster-Fell
Age: 26
City: NYC and Boston
Day Job: Graphic Designer

What’s something people don’t know about you?

If you want to make me instantly cry, make me talk about the ending of the movie Homeward Bound. Oh, my, god. Instant waterfalls coming from my eyes. It’s a total tearjerker, but the fact that it involves dogs just puts me over the edge. Most people do know that I’m an avid dog lover though, especially when it comes to my dog Thatcher, also lovingly known as Spicy Grandpa.

What keeps you motivated on days you’re feeling blah?

Motivational quotes and sayings have the tendency of being a little corny, but one that resonates with me a lot is ‘Wow, I really regret that workout,’ – said no one ever. I remember seeing this one for the first time and was like whoa. This is so simple, and so true! I try to remember this on days when I really don’t feel like going to the gym, because the feeling of finishing a workout always makes it worth it.

Your go-to healthy snack obsession… and unhealthy guilty pleasure.

My healthy snack obsession is a chocolate protein, peanut butter, banana smoothie. I have one every morning, and I could probably continue to have one every morning for the rest of my life and be pretty satisfied with that decision. My unhealthy guilty pleasure is a toss up between pasta pesto and a Dark Chocolate Double Caramel Magnum Ice Cream Bar. Combine those into a dinner dessert combo and I am on cloud nine for the evening… and then definitely back in the gym the next morning. 🙂

Most random thing in your gym bag.

I’d have to go with a lacrosse ball. I try to use one almost daily for myofascial release, which is a form of self massage that targets muscle tightness and trigger points. It’s a more intense version of a foam roller!

Your favorite and least favorite workout moves.

My favorite workout moves are definitely any variation of a squat. I love working on the booty area! My least favorite move, without any hesitation, is the dreaded burpee. I hate burpess with an absolute passion. I know in my heart that it’s a great exercise because it works so many parts of the body at once, but I just can’t get past how much I hate doing them.

Tell me something (anything!) 100% honest.

I am so insanely excited about what’s to come in 2016. I really feel like this is MY year. I’m ready to pursue more of a career in fitness. I’m getting NASM certified, and hopefully becoming a spin instructor. This is so different from anything I’ve done before, but I know it’s the right direction for me because I feel so excited and passionate about it.

Most embarrassingly awesome workout jam on your playlist.

Oh this is an easy one! Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailando.” I like to play this at the end of each workout. I love listening to EDM and hip hop during my workout, but let me tell ya — when Bailando comes on after I’ve completed that final rep, nothing else can instantly put me in a better mood!

Love Jera as much as I do? Keep up with her here:

Instagram: @workoutbean
Snapchat: workoutbean
Website: workoutbean.com, coming soon

A photo posted by Jera (@workoutbean) on

A photo posted by Jera (@workoutbean) on


The Perfect Snack to Help Fight Sugar Cravings

I have a serious love of sugar. Being born and raised in the Midwest, I’m pretty sure my blood is actually 80% actual blood and 20% dissolved Fun Dip. I mean, I can’t even count the number of Fruit By the Foot and Berry Blue Kool-Aid Bursts I had growing up, but I regret nothing. If you’ve ever had any of the aforementioned snacks (and I really hope you have), you’ll know why. Now as an adult who unfortunately knows something that tastes so good can be so bad, I’ve had to limit the sweet treats in my life — but that doesn’t mean I limit them completely.

Since I can’t eat Oreos and Twizzlers every single day (the agony!), there’s something that always helps when I need a sweet snack: dark chocolate cacao nibs. I recently came across a cute little travel-sized tin full of them at Trader Joe’s when I was back home for the holidays and have been in love ever since. I mean, how can you not when they’re this adorable?

At only a calorie each (yep, sadly that’s evidently what a calorie of chocolate looks like), nibbling on some as an afternoon snack or putting some in my popcorn at night is a guilt-free way to enjoy one of my favorite things. Instead of giving in and grabbing a bag of M&Ms, this alternative doesn’t leave me feeling blah after I’m done eating — because no one wants to go to bed with a stomach ache.

It doesn’t end with snacks, though. You can also throw cacao nibs into your oatmeal in the morning and put some on top of your smoothie or banana “nice” cream. The options are literally endless. Now I’m just wondering if Trader Joe’s sells these things in bulk, because I need a lifetime supply.

Do you have something that never fails to satisfy your sweet tooth? Let me know in the comments!


My Goals for an Epic 2016

I still can’t believe how great 2015 was — especially when it comes to my wellbeing. Ever since graduating college, I’ve been super back and forth with eating healthy, eating incredibly crappy, working out, not working out — you catch the drift. This year I made much more of an effort to make my physical and mental wellbeing a top priority and it felt good.

No, I didn’t work out every day. And I still had way too much cookie dough. But you know what? It was progress. I discovered fitness classes that I loved, made more time to cook in my tiny New York City kitchen, actually started working out in the mornings, tried things I never thought I would try, experimented with delicious new recipes, met some really cool girls with similar interests, created this blog, and simply had fun. I never thought fitness and health could even be this fun.

Because I fully expect 2016 to be even better, I wanted to put together a list of goals for the next 365 days. 2015 was great, but I have a strong feeling this one is going to be the best one yet.

1. Be active every single day.

Since having a desk job isn’t great on the body, I want to make sure I’m active every day — even if that just means taking my dog on a longer walk if I’m going to skip the gym.

2. Lay off Netflix.

2015 was definitely the year of many Netflix binges. After finishing the ENTIRE SEASON of Friday Night Lights (#noregrets) in a little over a week thanks to Thanksgiving vacation, I think it’s time to turn off the TV and spend my nights away from the screen. Right after I get through Making a Murderer.

3. Be better about keeping up with friends.

When you live hours away from some of your best friends and you’re all super busy, days (then weeks!) go by without truly catching up. Since I only get to see them once a year, I want to make sure we stay in touch as much as possible in the days leading up to our amazing reunion. A text takes 5 seconds. Also, as for my BFFs in the New York City area, living in different boroughs is no excuse to only see each other every couple weeks. I mean c’mon.

4. Stop ordering out as much.

When a Chinese food restaurant starts to know your takeout order, you know you need to take a break. As much as I love sesame chicken, I plan on making it less of an occurrence. Instead, I’m going to make more guilt-free versions of my favorites so I can enjoy every bite without a giant stomach ache after. Even though they’re usually totally worth it.

5. Save more money.

Limiting how often I order food will definitely help with this. If you think about it, my breakfast and lunch bought at work costs around $15, then if we order dinner, that’s another $15-25. A day. No wonder I saved so much over Christmas break. If anyone has any easy packed lunch ideas, hit a girl up.

6. Travel somewhere.

Even if that means venturing two hours outside the city to go hiking or to the beach. I really want to go to Colorado to visit one of my best friends, and of course Paris would be nice, too. (I’ll keep dreaming.)

7. Quit worrying so much.

About money, about clothes, about page views, about my body. No time should ever be wasted being anything but happy, and I need to remember that whenever I get stressed about things that simply don’t matter. When I’m on my deathbed, the last things I’m going to care about are Instagram followers and the way my pants fit.

What are your goals for an epic new year?