Kitty Covey is not someone to be messed with. The spunky younger sister in Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before… is quick to humble everyone around her with brutal honesty, sarcasm, and witty one-liners. Anna Cathcart’s performance is so convincing that when I first meet her at the Allure offices, I’m honestly kind of expecting to meet real-life Kitty. I don’t.
I anticipate the squeak of sneakers but hear the clack of heels before anything else when she arrives. Instead of overalls and a T-shirt, she’s dressed in a plaid two-piece skirt set.
Her auburn hair is styled into a half-up look with loose curls cascading around her, not the space buns or pigtails often seen on Kitty. Aside from the big, wire-framed glasses, their styles are nothing alike. But off the bat, it’s easy to tell the character and the actor, at the very least, share an affinity for their families — Cathcart has her mother and older sister (her “best friend for life”) in tow.
Kitty doesn’t just march to the beat of her own drum — she’s likely to abandon the drum set for the tuba instead. I can see that same confidence and lively energy in Cathcart. “When I’m passionate about something, I’m very excited and speak a mile a minute,” she tells me. But there is a more mature air about Cathcart off-screen — it’s evident that she isn’t a tween anymore.
Cathcart started playing Kitty at 14, but now, at 19, she’s getting the chance to lead her own Netflix series, XO, Kitty. As its name suggests, the show follows the youngest Covey sister. In it, she travels across the world to enroll in the South Korean boarding school her late mother once attended (conveniently, the guy she’s been dating long-distance since the movie trilogy’s final installment goes there, too). Kitty will have to adjust to a new country while being away from her family and finding out that her beloved actually has a whole girlfriend — he’s been telling everyone that Kitty’s his pen pal (yikes on bikes).
Though she’s older than Kitty, who is 16 in the show, Cathcart noted that her own personal growth mirrors Kitty’s in many ways. “In XO, Kitty, [Kitty is] going through this period of her life where she’s discovering who she is and learning how to be independent for the first time,” Cathcart says. “I’m in that stage as well, in different ways, but those same shifts are happening in my life, so it was very cool to get to experience that together.”