Kyle On: Katie Apicella

Walking into Katie Apicella’s expansive North Hollywood apartment, a sensation of blissful familiarity instantly washed over me.  Katie, the petite and vivacious blonde I have come to love, greeted me with a smile and a warm hug.

“Hey you!” she chirped enthusiastically.

I returned the hug and we made our way into her place, where she was busy preparing for the 2012 ITV Fest; an awards show/film festival honoring the best in independent TV where her show, DeVanity, was nominated for Best Drama.

Wearing flip-flops, a t-shirt and shorts, she still radiated in person the same way she does onscreen.  As she did her hair and makeup and decided what outfit she was going to wear to the event, we chatted about all things DeVanity, her newest stage project, and her decision to move from Manhattan to the city where they say dreams come true: Los Angeles.

Katie and I first met in early 2011 when we worked together shooting a short film in New York, “The Mole”, which was later screened at the Tribeca Film Festival of that same year.  Over the brief but demanding shoot, we bonded and became friends, spawning a relationship that would only grow upon making my move to Hollywood nine months ago.  Katie had moved out west a few months prior to me and began working on the internet soap sensation, DeVanity.

DeVanity is the brainchild of writer and star, Michael Caruso, about a crumbling jewelry empire and the dysfunctional family that tries to maintain not only it, but also their own chaotic lives.  Katie plays Portia, sister to Caruso’s onscreen wife, who is a New York plastic surgeon and was brought on in season two to fix a mess made by her sister.

“She has her own secrets for sure,” Katie said.  “All the characters are doing what they need to survive, but get swept up in the snowball effect of all of it.  There’s not one villain, none of them are inherently evil; they just do what they have to do.”

The sudsy, sexy online soap oozes quick-witted dialogue, a penchant for debauchery, and all its beautiful stars enveloped in designer duds, highlighting gorgeous and  rich people with problems that you’re all too happy to get caught up in.  A guilty pleasure that brings back the classic soap opera feel that sadly, is a dying breed nowadays.  Soap Opera Digest dedicated a full-page spread to the show, hailing as something great to watch.

“It makes you appreciate everything so much,” Katie gushed on the success of the show.  She wrapped her golden locks around her shoulder as she spoke, relaxed and cool.  She pulled a black blazer from her closet and nodded to herself in approval, silently deciding that it was the perfect piece to don for the festival.

In addition to film, theater was also something that Katie always wanted and often did when she lived in New York.  It was a passion she carried with her 3,000 miles across the country and now, proudly, will be doing again starting in August.  She was invited to join SkyPilot Theater Company and will co-star in their original main stage production, Warbride, which you can check out the trailer for HERE.

“[The play] is set after World War II when a soldier comes back to his small town and brings with him a Japanese wife,” Katie explained.  “It’s really a shock to the town.  It’s all about jumping to conclusions and the realization that the hometown hero everyone loves isn’t really a hero.”

She joined the company in late March and was excited from the get-go, saying that there is always new work to do and that every production is original.

“I missed doing theater.  It’s so addictive.  It’s something I can do for myself and keep me sane out here.  Plus it helps to be involved with good people doing real, good work.”

“All New Yorkers have a certain fearlessness that spawns independence

The phrase “out here”, clearly referring to California, is something that resonated with me as she told me her story.  Los Angeles can, for those who aren’t starring in Hollywood blockbusters, often feel like a vacuous and abandoned wasteland of broken dreams, excuse the melodrama.  Both of us, hailing from the east coast, from a city that Letterman calls, “the greatest city in the world”, (and let’s face it, Letterman is never wrong) and then coming to LA where, described by a native Angeleno friend was a town full of “skinny, depressed people” can be an adjustment to say the least.

“I toyed with the idea [of moving to California] for a couple of years.  My last year in New York I started to look beyond the snow globe that it was and see what else was out there.  But that city runs through my veins.”

And it should.  She is born and bred New Yorker, raised on the Lower East Side’s 23rd street.

“Growing up in Manhattan is a blessing and a curse.  People think it’s a huge metropolis, but in reality, you’re really sheltered because you have the best of everything at your disposal.  New York is NOT like the rest of our country and it’s a huge shock when you leave.  You grow up very open-minded and adaptable to many situations and people.  It’s like all New Yorkers have a certain fearlessness that spawns independence.”

Katie’s parents were able to save up enough money to send her to The Birch Wathen Lenox School, a K-12 college preparatory institution on the Upper East Side that boasts such notable alumni as Sarah Michelle Gellar and Brooke Shields.  She regaled me with stories from her youth that I had only seen on Gossip Girl (don’t judge me) about eating sushi on the Met steps and having gym class in Central Park.

“I am so thankful for what my parents did and the pedigree I had because of them.  They raised me to be a well rounded and well bred person.”

But despite her amazing upbringing, she lacked adventure.  She felt like she was starting to settle and nest in New York and she realized that she hadn’t moved away since college.

“I always had a lease, I always had a job, and I just wanted a year where I could be commitment-free.  DeVanity was the impetus that brought me to LA; it gave me a reason to break out of my comfort zone.  I tried it.  And if I go back, I’ll be able to say I won’t look back.”

“But you have to be careful what you look for,” she warned me,”because it WILL be an adventure.  And not always a good one.”

On LA in general she had this to say:

“It’s like seeing the most beautiful girl everyday, but she doesn’t have a soul.  She’s gorgeous, but where’s the substance?  I’ll take being cold and damp in Manhattan over just being pretty on the outside any day.”

But before (and if) she heads back, she’s determined to make her mark on the west coast city and squeeze everything out of it that she can.  And she’s on a good path so far.  Working with quality people on quality projects is her goal, no matter where she goes. With talent and looks, she’s a real class act to be reckoned with.

Kyle’s Questionnaire:

1. Favorite Color – “Green”

2. If you could be any animal, which would you be? – “Elephant”

3. When are you happiest? – “When I’m performing or doing anything with my sister – from dancing at concerts, to laying in bed giggling over everything and nothing.

4. Favorite Food – “Italian!”

5. Describe the perfect life – “A perfect life for me would to be free from ‘want’.”

6. Who do you admire? – “Risk takers – creatively, emotionally…”

7. (Finish) Life is… “the ultimate practice, never to be perfected.”

You can check out Katie in action as Portia on DeVanity’s website and follow her on twitter.

And to check out our collaboration on our film together, “The Mole”, click HERE.

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