We had the good fortune of connecting with McKenna Cox and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi McKenna, how do you think about risk?
I think taking risks is a huge part of our growth as human beings. Taking a risk requires trusting yourself enough that you know you will come out okay no matter what the end result may be. The greatest risk I have taken in my life and career has been making the big move to New York City after graduating college in North Carolina with a theatre degree. I moved away from my family and friends to a place that I had only vacationed at and had no real ties to. I knew of people in the city but I was definitely on my own for the first time. It was a tough transition for a small town girl but I know that I wouldn’t be as happy and the person I am today if I had not challenged myself to go outside of my comfort zone and do something that I love and am passionate about which is acting! I have taken many risks during my time in NYC and have felt myself become stronger every time I face a new difficulty. I am now drawn to experiences that make me feel a bit uncomfortable in the moment because I know it’ll benefit my journey in the end.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always been drawn to comedy. Even in school, I would create jokes to remember vocabulary words or historical facts. I encourage everyone to do projects that they find themselves passionate about because those are always the most rewarding, and you really never know what is going to happen. So much of this career is out of our control. For example, I worked very hard to land a spot on a house team at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Low and behold, I became a member for the 2020 season. I performed three times with my team and then the world shut down. I have experienced many disappointing events like this throughout my nine year career as an actor in NYC. Times when I believed I was getting a break, only to to be set back again. It lets me know that if I didn’t love what I do, I would have ditched it a long time ago. I hope to continue doing projects that I find exciting, and work with the people I love to be around. That makes it all worth it!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay, if we are talking rooftop bars, I would take them to 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar because they have cute little igloos and blankets in the winter so you can still see amazing views without freezing your patootie off. A great part of town for happy hour is the upper west side, particularly on Amsterdam/Columbus Aves in the 80s and 90s. Just last week I had dinner at a spot called Cilantro on 83rd and Columbus, and those margaritas were ON POINT. Also, let me shoutout a gem of a neighborhood in Washington Heights. Go to Fort Washington Ave and 181st and you’ll find the cutest restaurants! There is a great Irish Pub there called Le Cheile. There’s a Thai restaurant, Italian, sushi, Indian, Spanish, Dominican! You name the cuisine and that neighborhood has it in walking distance.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to shoutout my parents as the number one reason why I got involved in the arts to begin with because they incorporated music and theatre in my day to day life throughout my childhood. My mom owned her own dance studio and my dad would play guitar and sing on a weekly basis in our living room. When I graduated college, my mom was adamant about getting to the city as quickly as possible as to not waste time and start working towards my dreams. I now know how hard it was for them to see me go and watch me struggle, but they were selfless in allowing me to pursue a career in acting and I am forever thankful. I’d also love to shoutout my Room 28 Comedy teammates who have been my creative family in the city, as well as another sketch comedy team I met when I performed on NBC’s Bring the Funny in 2019. They are Kids These Days and they still perform around the city, so check them out!
Lauren Toub Photography