Exclusive Interview with Overthinking with Kat and June’s Tenea Intriago and Alexia Dox

Overthinking with Kat and June is YouTube Premium’s newest show — and sure to be one of their biggest hits yet. Starring Tenea Intriago and Alexia Dox as Kat and June respectively, the show revolves around “the internal musings of two women as they become friends.” I got the chance to talk with both Tenea and Alexia about how they got into acting, their audition process for the show, what it’s like working with one another, what they nerd out about and so much more! Keep reading to see what they had to say.

Tell me a little bit about how you got into acting.

Tenea Intriago (TI): I played basketball for 10 years of my life and it is, funnily enough, the segue that led me to acting. When I moved at the start of my freshmen year from one state to another, I was devastated that I didn’t make the basketball team at my new school. I had letters of recommendation and everything from my former school and ultimately didn’t make the team. So, the next day, I tried out for the school play and got the part I wanted!

Alexia Dox (AD): I got into acting because all my friends were all doing it! I was always into performing (and this is very evident in old home videos), but I actually spent most of my extracurricular time playing basketball since I was 5. All my friends were auditioning for the middle school musical, Oliver!, and I told my parents I wanted to get in on that, too. I was a workhouse child and a townsperson, and I had a freakin’ blast! After that, that’s all I wanted to do.

Was there a specific person or experience that you would credit with helping you decide acting is what you wanted to do for a living?

TI: Even though I played sports, I always knew as a young girl that being in movies was something that I knew I would do. I have two experiences that I vividly remember impacting me and planting the seed in my brain [laughs]. I remember watching Forrest Gump for the first time and feeling so connected and curious about the dynamic and depth a person can carry, despite their differences. I remember being so impacted by the journey of it all, and finally realizing that the medium of film or tv was the avenue that I needed to pursue to truly express myself. But, not every actor has a supportive parent at a young age. So I turned to sports. But that was okay because the determination was still deeply tucked into my brain.

My second experience would be my high school mentor and drama teacher. He created a space for me that felt safe, a freedom to express myself, and it was as if he always knew that this path is where I would go. He nurtured my talent, and in my senior year of high school, he encouraged me to follow my dreams. He encouraged my talent, yes, but mostly he encouraged my intelligence, which, is what I needed all along. I was smart enough to do WHATEVER I wanted to do, so I did. I will always hug and hold the experience of my high school years so closely because he taught me that I could act for a living if I was smart and kind to myself about it. So here I am.

AD: Well, there was definitely a moment in my first year in college that pushed me to pursue acting as a career. I loved acting but found that I never really was cast in anything substantial in high school. Taking this as a sign, I decided I was going to pursue my other love, which was studying and learning about the ocean. I went to UCSB for Marine Biology initially, but knew they had a good theater scene I could look into if I felt like I missed it. I missed it pretty early on my freshmen year, so I auditioned for a couple plays and ended up getting really nice roles in them, which as a freshman, was not super common. This started to make me think maybe I had let my high school theater experience get to me too quickly. UCSB has a BFA Acting program which you audition for the end of your freshmen year. I told myself if I got in, if I was good enough for the program, then that was my sign to keep pursuing it. And I did!  I got a really solid theater education and experience that helped me continue my journey in LA.

Do you have a personal acting “bucket list” of things you want to accomplish in your career? If so, what are some of the things on it?

TI: Geez, the list goes ON and ON! I think at the top of my list is to have Tom Hanks play my dad in some comedy movie about a girl in search of herself and has a deep conversation while laying on the couch, and her dad gives her a pep talk about how wonderful and worthy she is. Basically, Pretty in Pink but with Tom Hanks and instead of sewing my own dress I create my own video game and my crush is like reeeeeeaaaaallly into it but doesn’t know I. MADE. THE. GAME.

Secondly, I really would just love to work with Brie Larson in any capacity. I think she is just so special and subtle and a pure artist. Brie, if you’re reading this: sup?

AD: Oh, definitely! I really want to do a period piece, a la Marie Antoinette or Versailles. And I’d love to do a movie with Will Ferrell or Kristen Wiig if I could successfully keep myself from throwing up on them in excitement. I’ve never done that before, but I think those would be the two times I could see it happening. And voicing something on BoJack Horseman. I really love the freedom of voice acting, and BoJack is one of my favorite shows.

Let’s talk Overthinking with Kat and June. I want to know what your audition process was like. What did you first think of the project when you were approached about it?

TI: I got the audition the day before it was due. I wasn’t available to see the casting director live, because I was in New Orleans, so I had to send in a tape. Sometimes, when you get something as cool as reading for a show that you’d possibly be a lead in, it can get a little overwhelming, because, in all honesty, you just want to work so badly. When I got the script, I only got the pilot, which, funnily enough, is actually the last episode of the first season. I thought it was so SPECIAL and funny. I related to Kat so much in that she has a gall about her to be bold and funny and… use vulgar humor. I am a sloppy mess, so vulgar humor is my JAM! I sometimes felt as if her words were my own, which made it so easy. Mackenzie (Yeager, the creator and writer) made it so easy for me to say her words. I sent in my tape, and I was fortunate enough to not have a callback. I just went straight to test two weeks later, which is CRAZY. I have a journal entry on the day I was told I’d be flying to L.A. to test and I wrote, “This is the one,” which is ballsy, but I laugh at myself for trusting myself so much because I don’t always do that. We tested on a Friday, and I met Alexia that day and we were already taking weird videos for Instagram like we were friends all along. We became quick friends, and I’m so lucky that it was that easy for us. I got the call on the following Tuesday that I got Kat, from my manager and the casting director, Jeffrey Gafner, and cried like a lunatic. It was just such a very special moment for me, and I will never take this for granted!

AD: My manager sent me an e-mail to confirm this audition he had secured for me, and I remember reading the script and just being blown away by how good it was. I loved June’s cadence and how relatable everything she was thinking and feeling was. I LOVED that you heard their inner thoughts, I thought that was such a great component to the show. I went into the audition with a couple scenes and did them for the casting director Jeff Gafner, who was so nice and creates such a great environment for actors to audition in. I just gave him what I saw June as and hoped it fit in with what they were looking for for the show. I got an email the next day asking me to come back again… and a third time… and a fourth time! I was so stoked. I couldn’t believe I was still in the running for this ridiculously amazing part. Finally, they asked me to come in for a test at the AwesomenessTV building where they flew out a few girls from the east coast, and one of them was Tenea. And that was crazy. There were maybe 8 of us, waiting in a circle of chairs, and each of us went in individually to do a couple of scenes we had prepared. Then they fed us, which I felt was super nice (like, nice BBQ and lobster mac n cheese?!), and then we got paired off and did the scenes immediately with another actor without rehearsing together. I think they were really seeing who meshed well with who. I got paired with a few Kats, and I remember feeling like Tenea and I really played well off of each other. One by one, girls were asked to leave, and it was me, Tenea, and this other actress who was auditioning for both roles, so we didn’t know who was going to get what! Then a few days later, I got a call from my manager telling me I had gotten the part and Tenea had gotten Kat, and I was so over the moon excited! It was the best feeling. Mackenzie created such a beautiful and nuanced character, and I feel very lucky being able to portray June.

Talk about your characters, Kat and June. What are they like? Do you think they are similar or different to who you are in real life?

TI: Like I said, I feel like, for me, Kat is an exaggeration of myself in a parallel universe. There are some tendencies she has that are in my character somewhere. Like, when Kat is just ballsy enough to go up to a group of girls and become their friend — I’d like to think making friends is something I do fairly easily, I just don’t do the whole, reverse psychology thing. Kat has an overt confidence that is just something I wish all of us could carry a little of in our pockets. She’s so unapologetically herself and I wish more women weren’t afraid to do the same. She’s not afraid to take up space. I know I’m guilty of shushing myself. But ya know, screw the patriarchy. Or, can I say, “fuck?!”

AD: June is definitely what people would categorize as a “Type A” person. Very organized. Everything has to be in its place. If someone said there was “no wrong answer” to something, she would think they were a big fat liar. Being singled out in front of people is her nightmare. And she’d much rather read Little Women for the 15th time than go to a party.

I think June is probably a more extreme version of the way I’ve felt in certain times of life. Like that first time you meet everyone in a class. Or when you have to make a speech in front of people. But I think June feels a version of that almost every day. I think I can wiggle myself out of those feelings usually, and June nervously wades in[to] them. But there are definitely times where I’ll pick watching a movie at home rather than going out to a party. Or someone cancels plans with me and I’m actually kind of excited they did. And if my house is too messy, I have to clean it up before I can get anything done or it’ll drive me crazy. I definitely related very much with her anxiety and where she was coming from, and I’m getting so many comments from people about how much they relate with her, too.

Since you play one of the titular characters, what was it like working with each other and developing your chemistry? Did you guys have to do any kind of chemistry read prior to getting the roles?

TI: Working with Alexia was just awful. She’s not a good actress… doesn’t shower regularly… JUST KIDDING. Working with her was an absolute dream and she is SOOOO freaking funny. So funny that my ribs hurt from laughing before she even says anything. Her vocal work within her humor is NUTS and so wonderful. She’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. Unfortunately, I never met Alexia until the day we did chemistry reads on test day. I’m kind of glad it happened that way because the show kind of just jumps into this serendipitous roommate relationship and we were just serendipitously meeting, so it worked. It was just so easy. She made it easy.

AD: I mean, we did the test together. And we texted a bit before filming! But she lives in New Orleans, so we didn’t really get a chance to hang out too much before shooting the show. I think we hung out once before filming, and that was it. But honestly? We kind of hit it off right away. I think we were really lucky that my “happy space” acting-wise is weird and awkward and Tenea’s is brash and confident, and I think those played really well together in this show. And Tenea’s just an amazing, caring, open person, so I think our relationship in real life translated into our characters really nicely.

The show’s creator, Mackenzie Yeager, recently penned a piece on Bustle about the importance of showing weird, complicated female friendships on television. What do you both hope viewers take away from watching the show?

TI: I hope by watching the show viewers (especially female viewers) reconcile with the idea that being weird does not always make you an outsider. That having your quirks makes you interesting. I hope that by watching the show, viewers see real women. One of my favorite things about our show is that everyone is different and unique. June is shy and weird and a little OCD, but ultimately that’s what is admirable about her. Kat is curvy, (YASSS), loud, and passionate, and that’s why we’re drawn to her. Friendship is not a quiet relationship. It jumps about and frolics and meditates and is quiet and loud and fun and hard and so many other strange, beautiful things. I hope viewers settle with that idea and feel heard. And laugh their butts off.

AD: She did! I loved that piece. I hope viewers watch the show and see a different version of female friendship that I don’t think makes it onto the screen very often. The friendship in this show is weird and rocky, and we don’t really like each other all the time. And that happens A LOT in real life! All the time! I think there’s a weird pressure to have these perfect friendships, especially with social media, but this show presents the messier, cringier side of it. And, I’m being told, cringier is not a word, but I’m still going to use it.

Since the show is all about Kat and June overthinking every aspect of their lives, what is something you constantly overthink?

TI: I am constantly overthinking if it’s okay that I don’t like to wear socks with shoes. Will I ever truly be loved if I don’t?

AD: When someone doesn’t text me back or texts me one-word answers, like “no” or “ok”. I’m always like, “WHAT DID THEY MEAN BY ‘ok’?!’” And usually, they just mean “ok”. [laughs] But all the other meanings feel much more possible. 

Overthinking with Kat and June is part of YouTube Premium’s ever-growing list of original content. What’s it feel like to be a part of this new wave of television? 

TI: It feels COOOOOL, MAN!!! I feel so very fortunate, and I hope we can be a part of its continued growth!

AD: It’s cool! When I was on a Hulu show called Quick Draw, we were one of the first Hulu Originals. I remember people being very confused about that kind of platform. My parents were like, “Wait, so it’s not on TV? I don’t get it.” But now, it’s kind of the norm now! And YouTube Premium has so many great shows on their roster, like Cobra Kai, and so many coming up. It feels great to be among that group. And my parents watched Overthinking with Kat and June all by themselves AND put it on their TV screen! They’re hip to this streaming thing now!

Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something you nerd out about?

TI: I WISH READING WASN’T CONSIDERED NERDY. Why is it?! TELL ME WHY! But in all seriousness, I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. (Thanks to my mentor from high school!) He is a graphic novel author and LEGEND. He wrote my favorite graphic novel series of all time: The Sandman. It combines fantasy, literature, adventure, drama, comedy, and so much more. I read this whole series in my junior year of high school and I truly think it made me a better human being. And smarter. And cooler.

AD: Oh, man. I’m a pretty big ocean nerd. I never became a marine biologist, but I love watching ocean documentaries, like Blue Planet. I went on a snorkeling trip a few years ago where you get to swim with stingrays and sharks. The boat stopped to let us out and a TON of sharks just started circling the boat. Everyone was really hesitant to get in, and I couldn’t wait. I was the first person to jump in, and it was amazing. And I would LOVE to swim with whale sharks. That’s definitely on my bucket list.

All episodes of Overthinking with Kat and June are now available to stream on YouTube Premium. The first 2 episodes are free to try, and, after you fall in love with the show, then you can get a free 3-month trial of YouTube Premium to finish the series if you’re not a current subscriber.

You can also follow Tenea on Twitter and Instagram and Alexia on Twitter and Instagram as well.

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