Makenna James talks about her role in "American Women"


Makenna James is a perfect example of a young woman who is ready to take on the world. She is already thriving as an actress with roles on shows, such as Transparent, The Mick, How to Get Away with Murder, Teen Wolf and more. Currently, she is playing Alicia Silverstone's daughter in "American Women" a new show on Paramount about an unconventional mothers struggles while raising two daughters by herself in the independent and feminist filled waters of the 1970's. On top of acting Makenna also has big academic dreams that are currently becoming her reality; she starts as a student at Harvard this fall. Makenna is an amazing mix of class, talent, and brains - as you will come to discover in the interview below.

American Women is set in the 1970’s how do you think the ideal of an American Women has changed from then to now?

To be a woman in the 1970's and a woman now are two entirely different things. Normalized female roles in today’s society–providing for your family, living independent of men–were radical in the ‘70s. On a whole, I would say that there does not exist any one ideal of a woman in modern day. Women can be whatever they want. I, for one, could not be happier about that evolution.

What motivated you to go to college this fall and what will you be majoring in?

Education has always been my first priority. Consequently, college was always a part of my life plan. Per my major, I am currently interested in criminal justice and environmental science, but I am going into Harvard with an open mind.

American Women highlights the importance of friendship and feminism -  what do those things mean to you?

Everything. My best and only friend, Nicole, means the world to me. We are already planning our inevitable marriage. Equal footing for women is just as important.

What was your favorite part of being on this set?

The community. I went into this process as someone very shy and introverted, overwhelmed by the notion of working with two hundred or more crew members. By the end, I had a rapport with each and every one. I even found skydiving partners.

You have stayed busy with many exciting rolls over the past few years. How did you balance a blossoming career and high school?

Oh gosh. Honestly, you don’t. I’ve spent the last four years sleep deprived and addicted to caffeine.

What is your favorite book and why?

Although my favorite book changes constantly, my (consistent) favorite short story is “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut. In it, the ideal of equality is pushed to such an extreme that it becomes oppressive in nature. The creativity of that choice was so surprising to me and completely changed the way that I look at writing.

How do you plan to change your corner of the world for the better?

For the most part, I am still figuring that out. As a strong environmental advocate, though, that is currently my most clear path to influencing the world positively. I would love to expand my work to encompass atmospheric pollution, as well as endangered species protection.



Photographer: Jeff Forney @jeffforney

Hair: Derek Syuen @dereksyuen

Makeup: Anthony Merante @anthonymerante

Model: Makenna James @Makenna James

Styling: Sonia Young @soniayoungstyle