Kara Royster is just like you. She is a fan of the TV shows and especially loves the ones she is a part of. When she booked the role of Yvonne on Pretty Little Liars, she was just as shocked as fans to learn that she would be Toby’s love interest, ending the Toby and Spencer relationship during the show’s time jump. As Pretty Little Liars comes to a close this spring, Royster is saying goodbye to the character everyone loves to hate and hello to the new roles where she will be stirring the pot and making your favorite shows much more exciting.
Cliché: What was your first acting role and what did it teach you?
Kara Royster: My very first acting role on TV was in Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures (2011) on Nickelodeon. It was so much fun, and it made me realize that it takes many people to put on a production. It also showed me just how much fun I could have on a set. I got to be close with everyone and even stayed friends with some of them to this day, which shows that true friendships do exist in this industry.
Is acting the career you always wanted?
It is something that I have always wanted since I was very, very young. My sister, who was an aspiring actress, introduced me to it. She taught me that is was just a fun profession and was enjoyable even when acting in the saddest dramas. I was always having a good time creating these characters, diving into their stories, and bringing them to life. It was just something that was deep rooted in me that I always wanted to do.
Fans of Pretty Little Liars may know you as Toby’s new love, Yvonne. What do you love most about your character?
Being a part of Pretty Little Liars in general is insane to me. I was such a huge fan of it. I love how Marlene (the show’s creator) and that whole team created the character of Yvonne. Instead of her coming on as a mean girl or being the bitter girlfriend hating his ex, she was very mature and confident and very poised. I love her strength and how she handles all the situations. I think it is something very different that we don’t typically see with new love interests, so I was really happy that they had a different spin on it. It shows that you don’t always have to be so defensive.
I was always having a good time creating these characters, diving into their stories, and showing them off.
As the series comes to a close, what was it like joining such a beloved television show?
It was a dream come true. It was also kind of crazy coming in-between a love triangle. I remember when I was auditioning for the show, they finally revealed to me that I was going to be reading with Keegan Allen (Toby). I thought, “That can’t be right. He’s with Spencer—why would I?” Then, “Oh my gosh, oh no!” I already knew in my head that was going to be an issue, even if I didn’t get it yet. I was watching the show waiting for Toby and Spencer to happen. Coming in-between them was daunting, but the fans have actually been great about keeping it separate, like, “Hey Kara, you’re doing a great job. We hate Yvonne, but you’re doing great.” I’m a fan of the show, too, so just to be a part of the end of it is so much fun.
Is there anything you can tell us about the end?
It just gets so crazy very much at the start. You get a lot of good info, so that the rest of the time it’s about getting those answers and getting into the mystery of it [before it comes to an end]. It’s more mysterious, more dangerous…it’s everything a Pretty Little Liars fan would want.
Outside of Pretty Little Liars, you have been in many TV shows and movies. Is there one that you prefer over the other?
The bulk of my work has been in TV and I have always loved TV. I love that you can take a character’s arc over multiple seasons versus the hour or two-hour span of a movie. For example, you’ve seen the arc of these characters on Pretty Little Liars over seven seasons. However, I recently worked on Mono and it really opened my eyes to working on movies. I liked sitting down with the whole cast, reading this one story and then executing it. I also kind of learned to love that. I think TV is where my first love will always be, but I am very much open to the magic of the movies.
What’s coming up for you in 2017? What are you most excited about?
I am going to be doing a recurring role on The Fosters. I will be returning back to Freeform, which I love very much. I’ll be back at it, doing some more love triangle things and coming in-between the couples. There are a couple other things in the works that I will be able to talk about soon enough. I am excited about all the opportunities and I’m excited to see where 2017 takes me. I’m going to be open to trying out some different ventures, maybe getting involved in voice-over roles or something new.
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Kara Royster Talks the End of ‘Pretty Little Liars’: Photographed by Brandon Showers