Kara Royster (photo credit: Samantha Annis)

Kara Royster on Pretty Little Liars’ “Deadliest Season” and Punching Zendaya in an Elevator [Exclusive Interview]

Interviews, Pretty Little Liars

At twenty-two years old, Kara Royster is an on-the-rise star in the television world. A well-studied actress, she’s had several guest roles, including Faking ItKC Undercover, The Mentalist, and Scream Queens.

Her most recent role is Yvonne Philips on Pretty Little Liars.

I recently spoke with Royster about her role as Yvonne and the current season of the show.

“I have been a fan of the show since the very beginning,” Royster recalled. “I sort of remember the countdown to the pilot. I was super-obsessed with the show, and the audition came in, and I thought it was very cool because I had some background knowledge on everything.”

Coming into the show, Yvonne is a new love interest for Toby, and there was one important note that creator I. Marlene King had when creating the character.

“Yvonne is very different from a lot of characters that I’ve played,” said Royster. “I talked to Marlene about what they wanted the character to be, and even though she is coming in as a new love interest, their biggest thing is that they wanted her to be likable.”

As fans of Pretty Little Liars may know, new blood in Rosewood has always been a little suspicious. “To be on the show and be likable — and not suspicious was very difficult.”

When asked to tease a little about the current season, Royster said we could expect more adult storylines and lots of new love.

“It’s just, like, the deadliest season ever!” exclaimed Royster. “Being a fan from the beginning and seeing where it is now, they’ve really gotten into the dark stuff. And I think it’s super cool, especially now that it’s five years forward.”

In addition to her role on Pretty Little Liars, Royster can also be soon on her first feature film, Mono. The film follows a group of nerds that run the school after all the popular kids get a case of mono.

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The film also stars Sam Lerner and Jake Paul, along with other digital and vine stars.

Mono was so much fun! It was so not work at all!” Royster laughed. “It was kinda like going to camp with my friends, and we did a project together. We just had such a blast. The same with Pretty Little Liars. It’s just a family of people who are passionate about what they’re doing.”

For someone who has been working primarily in television, Royster is excited to have her first feature film available for audiences to watch on Netflix and Video on Demand.

“It was cool to have one finished product,” Royster explained. “It was my first feature film, so to be in there and know what the end product was and seeing it, and now having it out for everyone to watch is amazing.”

Kara Royster (photo credit: Samantha Annis)
Kara Royster (photo credit: Samantha Annis)

When asked about her numerous guest appearances, Royster said that she really enjoyed her role on Faking It where she played a drunk girl.

“That was in the pilot! Throughout all the seasons, I got to keep popping up. I was grateful for Carter Covington for bringing back my character, as big of a hot mess as she was,” Royster laughed.

“Just to be in a show that was so hard-hitting, talking about so many topics with the LGBT community, all of that was amazing. I was happy to be a part of it,” she continued.

When asked what’s next, Royster said that she would love to do an action movie. The multi-talented actress also enjoys stage combat, mime, and improv, as well as being an accomplished make-up artist. “I definitely love stage combat. That is something I would like to get more into,” she said.

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Royster credits her desire to do an action film to her recurring role as Abby Martin on KC Undercover, opposite Zendaya.

“We had a couple of fight scenes, and we got to do a lot of cool things. I got to punch Zendaya in an elevator. That’s not something you do every day,” said Royster.

Royster said she got the acting bug when she was five years old, and her sister would sit her down while she recited monologues.

“Her audition monologue was about how she went and slept at a friend’s house, and the friend’s sister was obsessed with butterflies,” Royster recalled. “She had a bunch of pinned butterflies all over the walls. And she’s at a sleepover, and she’s trying not to freak out and get herself to go back to sleep, but she can’t stop staring at the butterflies on the wall.”

Royster remembers the monologue so vividly that she hopes to find it and memorize it herself.

“I need to find it. I only have little tidbits of it of it, but I gotta go into some serious Google searches and find this monologue. I am going to get it memorized and put it on Snapchat or something,” Royster added.

In addition to her work on television, Royster is also a talented make-up artist. She was head of the make-up department at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and after graduation she kept going.

She’s collaborated with her friend Sammi Sanchez on a lot of her music videos and has put the skill to use in other ways as well.

“Now I’m like the designated person anytime we have to go out,” said Royster. “I do everyone’s make-up. I did the make-up for my sister’s wedding, which was a really cool experience. We got some really cool pictures out of that.”

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When she isn’t acting or doing make-up, Royster enjoys watching The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones is no longer there! Every Sunday I keep sitting down and thinking it’s there, and it’s not. Yeah, I miss my Game of Thrones a lot!” Royster lamented.

Royster also gave us her thoughts on the latest season of The Bachelor. “I was obsessed with Ben. I like loved him,” Royster admitted. “I couldn’t watch one-on-one dates. It was a problem.”

You can catch Kara Royster as Yvonne on Pretty Little Liars, airing Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.

Featured image credit: Samantha Annis


Lauren Busser is a senior writer at Tell-Tale TV. Her work has also appeared on Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. She has also been a dog sitter, worked front end at a bakery, and helped out in a kindergarten classroom. She learned to knit when she was five-years-old and thus, can now complete sweaters at a superhuman speed. She’s currently nursing a novel she’s been making slow progress on for the last six years.

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