Anna Cathcart won’t choose between Peter Kavinsky and John Ambrose McClaren, the two teenage charmers vying for Lara Jean’s heart in To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. But she, of course, understands why some fans are torn. While Kitty Covey, our heroine’s meddling little sister played by Cathcart, is firmly on #TeamPeter — she worked too hard for that relationship in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before to give up now — Cathcart, 16, sees the appeal of sweet, sensitive John Ambrose. He plays the piano! He’s a Hufflepuff! He listens to Lara Jean and would never, ever plagiarize Edgar Allan Poe. What’s not to like?
Luckily, Cathcart’s not the one who has to make the decision. (Because she’d obviously choose John Ambrose — just reading between the lines here.) And by the end of the anticipated Netflix sequel, Lara Jean has made her choice. How Kitty feels about her sister’s conundrum, however, isn’t clear. But Cathcart thinks she’d support Lara Jean no matter what; after all, the Covey sisters are the heart of these films, aren’t they?
MTV News speaks with the young actor, who weighs in on the ongoing Peter vs. John Ambrose debate among the series’ fans, opens up about how her life (and social media) has changed in the wake of To All The Boys‘s success, and how she relates to Kitty and Lara Jean in real life.
MTV News: To All The Boys was a massive success. Was life any different for you at school?
Anna Cathcart: A little bit! I was already acting, so they already knew that. But coming back [to school] after the summer it came out, everybody had seen it, and everybody knew me as Kitty. So some people had to get used to that and wrap their head around it. But for the most part, people just see me the way I see myself.
MTV News: You, Lana Condor, and Noah Centineo really became stars overnight. It must have been really weird to one day wake up and have 200,000 more followers on Instagram. And now you have over 2 million. What was that like?
Cathcart: Yeah, it was so weird. It was all such a blur. Honestly, it really was overnight. The next day people were talking about it, and then an article would come out, and another article, and more followers. I would see ourselves on my explore page [on Instagram], and I kept getting recommended videos of us and Google alerts. Seeing that spread was so crazy, and it’s still mind-blowing to me. I can’t wrap my head around it.
A still from ‘To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You’ / Netflix
MTV News: How do you maintain a safe, positive experience on social media for yourself?
Cathcart: I like posting things that are real and authentic, that are just me and things that I actually like. These are the things that I want to show people and share with everybody. And things that I would also like to see on somebody else’s feed, thinking that this is something that I would enjoy looking at. Maybe for somebody else, it would make them smile. I try to not be negative in any way because I don’t like seeing that on other people’s feeds. Social media can be a super positive place, if you make it that way.
MTV News: I know Kitty is firmly on Peter’s side here, but are you #TeamPeter or #TeamJohnAmbrose?
Cathcart: I don’t know! I love Peter. Who doesn’t love Peter? Everybody loves him. In the first movie, you totally fall in love with him. But I feel like John Ambrose is more my type of guy, in real life. He’s sensitive and sweet. I would be more attracted to somebody like John Ambrose. Those scenes between Lara Jean and John Ambrose are so, so sweet. But I think people don’t totally have enough time to fully fall in love with John Ambrose. You already know Peter so well, so I think people are going to favor him.
MTV News: What was the vibe like on set after the incredible success of the first film?
Cathcart: It was very exciting. Reuniting with everybody, especially with Janel [Parrish] and Lana [Condor], was wild. We were screaming like crazy. Janel and I surprised Lana. She didn’t know we were coming to set that day, so we were just screaming and freaking out. There are a bunch of new characters as well, so that was fun, welcoming them and just adding to the whole family.
MTV News: Did you want to show any different sides of Kitty in the sequel?
Cathcart: I love playing Kitty, and she’s such a fun character to play. And I loved wearing all of her outfits again. So that was great. She’s still a feisty, sarcastic, bold kind of girl, and she will stand up for her sisters. It’s super fun to play someone that confident, and she’s very smart for her age. You can see the dynamics between her and Peter a little bit more in this movie, which is always cute.
MTV News: Kitty loves to meddle. Can you relate to that? Do you like matchmaking?
Cathcart: I have one older sister who’s five years older than me, and we’re super, super close. I don’t really think of myself as that type of person. But recently my sister was like, “Do you realize you’re like Kitty right now?” I was giving her advice, what to reply to someone or what she should wear. And she was sending pictures like, “This outfit or this outfit?” I was trying to help her. She was like, “You’re literally being Kitty right now, to your older sister.” And it was really funny because I totally was.
MTV News: So, you naturally became her? Or maybe there was always a little bit of her inside you?
Cathcart: I’ll try to channel my inner Kitty sometimes when I need it.
MTV News: Are you and your sister close like the Covey sisters?
Cathcart: We’re best friends. I don’t know anyone who’s closer to their sister. It’s really funny because my older sister, just like Margo, went to England this year for university, and I was very stressed about it. I was really worried that my whole world would just turn upside down because I do obviously go away when I’m acting sometimes, or I’ll be on trips for long periods of times. But the longest I’ve ever really gone without her is a month. But this is six months at one time, and that’s just so different. Home is so different without her there. She’s the compass in our family, so I miss her. But it was this weird life-imitates-art moment. I felt like Lara Jean.
MTV News: Do you relate to Lara Jean?
Cathcart: I relate to Lara Jean so much. She is the same age that I am in real life. So when she was overthinking a lot — I’m definitely an over-thinker, and I definitely second-guess things. A lot of teenage girls do, or just teenagers in general. They have insecurities, and they have lots of thoughts and feelings all the time, and they’re just figuring out who they are, and going through all this stuff. It’s very timely for me because I’m in high school, I’m in that period of my life right now. And I’m definitely a bit of a dreamer, and I feel a lot and I think a lot. It’s really special to have someone like her to look up to.