McKenna Camille is an actress and singer/songwriter on both the east and west coast. A student at the prestigious Tisch School of Dramatic Arts, she has is learning to balance school commitments with a budding music career. Open about her struggles with mental health, she uses her music as a way to heal herself and help others also struggling. Recently I was able to interview McKenna about how she is doing and her plans for 2023!
- Tell us how you got started in the industry.
When I was about six years old, I told my dad I wanted to be Hannah Montana. After that, I became really involved in theater which eventually evolved into me working in the industry.
- You openly talk about your struggles with anxiety, OCD, and depression. How did you overcome those?
I’m not sure that one can fully overcome anxiety, OCD, or depression. I first realized I was dealing with mental illness around the age of 12. Even at such a young age I could see and feel how little control I had over my own actions and feelings because of this. It took me so many years to get to where I am and even now, I still occasionally have some harder days. Depression, anxiety, and OCD may not be the primary controlling factors of my life anymore, but I do actively work every day to keep up my well-being. What I can say is that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to working with mental illness, personally, I find exercise to be my safe haven.
- What message do you want to send to those struggling with mental health issues?
Something I wish someone would have told me when I was struggling the most is that it is okay to go at my own pace and figure out what it is that helps me the most. I think I struggled a lot with the idea that I needed to not be anxious for the sake of others, and that is still something I sometimes experience, but back then I needed to know that it’s okay to be anxious and it’s not a burden to anyone.
- You are currently studying acting at Tisch School of Dramatic Arts at NYU. Tell us what it is like going to such a renowned drama school. Did you audition?
It’s crazy busy! I have no free time, but I love the energy, creativity and of course New York! I auditioned for Tisch my senior year of high school on zoom, and because I was home on the west coast at the time, my audition ended up taking place at 4 am.
- Not only are you an actress but a singer/songwriter as well. What is your process for writing songs?
I have been told my songwriting process is very confusing. I think of lyrics in the weirdest times and write them down. When I finally have some time, I look at my “lyric bank” and start expanding on the random lyrics I have. I either do this or have a sudden urge to sit on my floor for hours with my keyboard singing and writing. I typically am very lyrically focused, but recently I have been exposed to a lot more in-depth instrumentals and different kinds of music.
- Tell us about your latest single Runaway. Did you come up with the concept for the music video as well?
Runaway is about how hard I am on myself. How I get in my head and get in my own way. The music video concept was really inspired by my grandparent’s house, which ended up being our filming location.
- You grew up in Oregon and were part of a show/trick water skiing team called Portland Spectacular. What was that experience like? Do you still perform with them?
Being part of PWS is a crazy and very unique experience. We have an age range of 2-84, so the practices can get kind of nuts. Skiing is a huge part of my life, so yes, I do ski with them, but not as much as I would like to.
- You’ve lived on both coasts of the country having grown up in Oregon and now going to school in New York. What do you love about both places?
I know this is controversial, but I prefer the food on the west coast for sure, but the east coast has Broadway. Since I am a known workaholic, I do love the atmosphere and speed of NYC.
- What projects do you have already lined up for 2023?
I have a couple of songs coming out with music videos that I am very excited about! Being that I am a content creator as well, I also have some super exciting collabs coming up on my social media!
- Where can we follow you?
Spotify: McKenna Camille