Katie Lowes Gets Real About Scandal, Inventing Anna, And Mom Life - Exclusive Interview

Many fans may know actor Katie Lowes by a much different name — Quinn Perkins on ABC's "Scandal." Yet, many others know her as a fellow mom who opens up about parenting on her podcast "Katie's Crib." Over the years, this "Scandal" star has dedicated her life to not only entertaining us, but to also educating us all about every up and down when it comes to life with kids (and there are an awful lot of them, too).

Between hosting her parenting podcast and starring on the highly anticipated Netflix series "Inventing Anna," we got the chance to sit down with her and talk all about her life both on and off the screen — and she's certainly been busy. In an exclusive interview with The List, Lowes told us all about how she balances having kids and working in "Hollyweird" (as she lovingly calls it), what it's like working with Shonda Rhimes, and how fellow moms can join her for a meet-up this month hosted by La Quinta by Wyndham.

Katie Lowes is encouraging her fellow moms to join this free mommy meetup

You have a lot of fun projects coming up. For starters, you've partnered with La Quinta by Wyndham for some helpful virtual mom meetups. What can moms expect to hear during these meetups?

You know, I think — you know, the travel time is coming upon us between Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's. And I think now more than ever, people are just excited to get back to travel, excited to make up for a lot of lost time where a lot of us weren't able to see our families in the past year and a half, especially us moms with little ones who haven't seen family members that we've been missing and grandparents and great-grandparents and all of that.

But I think our mommy muscles are really out of practice, especially when it comes to travel, and packing, and list-making, and how to get your family either on a road trip or on a plane, or from a plane to a car, to a train, or whatever it is. And especially under these circumstances, how to do it safely and how to take care of each other.

And so these virtual meetups that La Quinta by Wyndham are hosting are just incredible free help sessions, connecting moms coast to coast, with different experts on how we can make this travel season less stressful. Tips, tricks, and hacks [for] how we can be confident, how we can be the boss moms we have — all of us — inside of us, and how we can attack this travel season in a joyous and stress-free way.

I'm excited to hear everything that you have to say.

Oh, I'm glad.

As a mom, I could use all those tips for sure.

Got to come. You got to come, and tell all of your friends, and also, they're free.

And I think a lot of times people just expect moms to be really good at the holidays and really good at travel and really good at organizing the whole family. And honestly, it's hard. It is stressful. That doesn't mean it's not worth it. It is worth it. But there are moms and experts out there who have done it far more than us, who are going to be talking to us and letting us know how we can be better at it and how we can feel less alone. Because I always think, most importantly, when you get to hear from moms who've done something you've never done before or more than you've done it, you just feel, like, inspired. You feel stronger, you feel more confident, and you feel like it's possible.

What it's like raising kids in Hollywood, according to Katie Lowes

You travel a lot in general for work. Do your kids ever come to set with you?

Yes. Pre-COVID, they used to come all the time, and now rules and regulations have made it different. But yes, my son comes with me everywhere. I used to have a hard, fast three-night rule, where I would never miss more than three bedtimes in a row, and that was just something that worked for me and my family. But my son is really, really good at traveling. We all are.

I love to travel. It's one of my most favorite hobbies to just go to different places in the country or outside of the country and see and meet different people and different cultures. And also just do things as a family. And like I said, it definitely can be stressful at times, but I've never come home and not thought it was worth it.

And so I take him to work all the time and he's learned to be very flexible because of it, which I think is a great quality. He's learned to be flexible, go with the flow, eat different kinds of foods, skip a nap, gain a nap. And yes, sometimes there's meltdowns, and sometimes we've gotten near fisticuffs on planes before, but we've always made it through. [Laughs]

Do you think either of your little ones — I know your littlest one isn't even a year old yet — but do you think either of them kind of understand what you do for a living?

No. [My 4-year-old son] Albee is like, no. No. He's very — I tell him that I make pretend for a living. I pretend to be different people, like when he dresses up to be an astronaut, or today, he had his little Halloween school parade, and he was a robot, and we showed up in character, and we were talking like robots like this. [Makes robot noises] And I was like, "See? You're pretending to be a robot. That's similar to what mommy does for a living." I don't think he really [has] a handle on it yet, but he used to come to set all the time, and sit in the director's chair, and call action, and things like that.

That's so cool. Can you see either of them following in your footsteps? Because your husband, Adam Shapiro, is an actor, too.

Yes. My husband is an actor also. I wish it wasn't the case, but I think so. [Laughs] Of course, being an actor, don't get me wrong. I love it. I wouldn't choose anything else. It's my passion and always has been since I was little, but yes, the career is filled with a lot of rejection, and a lot of unknowns, and a lot of things that aren't necessarily stable or traditional.


But I feel like my son could lean into something. He's a very emotional, dramatic, sensitive child, so we shall see. And he's growing up in Hollyweird, so anything is possible, and I would support — always — any passion he had.

Katie Lowes' kids aren't impressed when they see their mom in a movie

I want to talk about your voice acting career, too, because you've done some animated family films.

Yes, a lot.

Do you play them for your own kids at home?

[My son Albee] doesn't care. He doesn't care. I've been trying to get him to watch "Vivo" for, like, since it came out in August, and he's like, "No. I only want 'Paw Patrol' or Lightning McQueen," or anything that I'm not in. He is not interested, doesn't care, which I've heard similarly [from] Kristen Bell, who's a friend of mine. I don't think her — I'm like, "Does your daughter freak out that you're Anna?" "Frozen" is like the biggest kid movie of all time, and I don't think her kid cares at all.

Oh, my gosh! That's too funny, though.


What do you enjoy about voice acting versus going to a set?

Yes. So voice acting is fun, because you can do the whole thing in sweatpants and no makeup. And also you can be really big, I think, and it kind of taps into the theater training. Voiceover acting requires a lot of energy, and big choices, and big comedy, and things like that. Whereas when you're on camera, you have to think a lot more about how a camera is like a magnifying lens, so you kind of have to make things far smaller and subtler and nuanced. So I love them both, but they definitely exercise different skill sets.

Which celebrity mom does she dream of having on Katie's Crib?

Who's someone you haven't had on your podcast "Katie's Crib" that you would love to bring on?

Chrissy Teigen. I really want Chrissy Teigen, Michelle Obama. I have not had — who else has not ... You know, it's crazy. People keep having babies, so now there's all these moms. I'm like, "Oh, my gosh. All these awesome, huge actors had babies in the pandemic, and I want them to be on the podcast and tell them how it's going."

But I've been so lucky. I had Alanis Morissette on, and America Ferrera, and Gabrielle Union, and I've had incredible, incredible moms. I just had Tia Mowry on. I've had amazing moms, and whenever you talk to a mom, you always learn something. You always learn from someone else who's experienced the journey. And it's really great, which is why I think these virtual meetups that La Quinta by Wyndham are hosting are just so helpful. Because I'll sit here — that's why I love the podcast — I sit here and just listen to moms talk all day about their journey, and their experience, because you always learn something.

Would Katie Lowes want to host her own daytime talk show?

You've also filled in a few times to host "Live with Kelly and Ryan."

Yes! Yes, yes, yes.

Would you ever want to host your own talk show and take it to TV?

Oh, my gosh. I would love to. Yes, absolutely. I would love to do all of those things. I think again, like, if [there's] anything that this time of being alive has taught us [it's that] this is our one life. This is not a practice life and everything.

There are lots of things I want to try. I would love trying to be a host at some point. I would love to — I, again, I'm doing this show "Smallwood" coming out on CBS, and it's a multi-cam sitcom. I've wanted to do a sitcom my entire life, and I'm terrified. I've never done a sitcom. I'm so excited. This summer, I got to do a Christmas movie for CBS called "Christmas Takes Flight" that's coming out soon. I've always wanted to do a rom-com. I've always wanted to be the lead of a rom-com. I've always wanted to play a pilot.

So I'm just always about like, "Oh, my gosh, I've never done that before. I'd like to try that. And I'd like to try that," which I think leads me [to] why I love to travel so much, and why it's something that I want to instill in my children. [It's] a curiosity. A curiosity for trying new things, even though it might be hard, or even though it might be stressful, or scary, or you might not be good at it. It's just worth it.

So you got to get to this virtual meetup. There's a bunch of different ones with different topics, with different experts and different people all through the month of November, so that we can gear all you mamas up and get these mommy muscles stronger in time for the holidays, so you can do it. So that you can set boundaries, have a little self-care, come back from the holidays and not say, "Ugh, I need a vacation from my vacation," and to spend some awesome quality time with your kids and your family and seeing the world, seeing the country.

You get to talk to so many different people between hosting your own podcast and co-hosting with Ryan Seacrest. What question does no one ask you that you wish they would? Because you've been on my side of it.

A lot.

I know it's kind of a tough question.

No, I'm thinking about it. Hmm. That's a great question. That's a very good question, Kelsie! You stumped me. I'm thinking, "What would I have want ... What would I want to be asked?" Huh.

I don't know. "How many hours did you sleep last night?" No.

Not much, right? No, I'm just kidding.

No, my God. Never. "Who do you want to be when you grow up?" "Boxers or briefs?" No, I'm kidding.

We can come back to it!

No, I'm just trying to think of what would be good for you to ask me that is not really — I guess, "What else would I ... Where in the world do I want to go?" New Zealand. I'm going to put that out there. I'm going to put that out there. I really want to go to New Zealand. There.

I've heard it's amazing. Everyone I know that's been there says it's beautiful.

Really want to go there very badly.

Here's what it's like living in Shondaland

I've read that Shonda Rhimes was someone who really encouraged you to start your podcast "Katie's Crib."


What is working with her like?

It's the best. It's so crazy, but it is, meaning like that no one can really fill her shoes, especially in terms of working at a place when you're a mom, when you're a pregnant woman, when you have young babies, when you're breastfeeding. I did all of those things in Shondaland, and I felt so supported, and so taken care of, and everyone was so respectful of my needs and the identity shift. And it was an incredible place to work.

And having Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington be our leaders for all the time I was on "Scandal" was just the most exemplary, incredible, gracious, kind, supportive work environment ever. It was like utopia, Kelsie. It was crazy. And I just feel so much like my job now going forward, moving into working with other places, is just carrying the things I learned, you know, and the behavior and the example that was set for me in Shondaland to other places of work.

Do you have a favorite memory from working on "Scandal"?

I think one of my favorite — Oh, my God. No, I mean I have so many, so many, but I definitely remember in terms of motherhood. I remember my first episode back after my maternity leave when I had my son was an episode that Kerry Washington was directing, and I had to do a little dance with Joe Morton, and they asked Debbie Allen to come in and choreograph a little bit of it. ... My son was screaming. He was like 12 weeks old, and I had to breastfeed him. And Debbie was like just — I was literally feeding him. There's video of it I posted. I was feeding him while I was doing a dance routine with Debbie Allen and Joe Morton while Kerry Washington was directing, and I was just like, "This is the coolest time ever." I hope my son is aware of how cool this is.

How Katie Lowes really felt about Scandal coming to an end

"Scandal" was obviously a really big part of your life. How did you find out that the series was ending in 2018?

Oh, she called — Shonda [Rhimes] — we had a big meeting with the whole cast, and she let us know the future plans of the show, but none of us were surprised. I think when you're on a show for seven years, it's like, "Wow, like how long is this going to happen?" Of course, "Grey's Anatomy" has been on for a very long time, but we always knew that the shelf-life of "Scandal" was not that of "Grey's Anatomy." It's just a very different show. And I think the politics in Washington had changed drastically, which affected the show. And, of course, we were sad. We were so sad. We love each other so much. We call each other [our] "Scandal" family, but I think we were — I think creatively, personally, I was ready to move on to play something else.

What do you think your character Quinn would be up to today?

Well, she had a kid, Robin. She's happily married to Charlie, played by the great George Newbern, and I think she's running QPA, and I think she's doing a great job. I think QPA is, like, the best crisis management firm in all of Washington, D.C. That's how Quinn rolls.

Katie Lowes teases her new Shondaland series Inventing Anna

Now you're back working with Shonda Rhimes on "Inventing Anna," which is coming out next year on Netflix. How did you prepare differently for the role of Rachel since she's a real person?

Yeah, I've never played a real person before, and Rachel was out doing her press tour for her book. So it was actually pretty accessible in today's day and age, as you probably know, to Google people, and Google around, be able to find videos, and Instagram, and the whole thing. So I was able to find a lot on Rachel.

But my character, yes, is based on a real person. But I would say that it's just more inspired by her. It's not like I'm, like, copying like a Jackie O. or like [how] "The Crown" does Princess Diana. You know what I mean? It's like, this isn't like a known and beloved person, so I sort of definitely take my creative license, but it's a very different character from Quinn [who I played in "Scandal"]. Oh, my gosh. It's so different. I'm very, very excited for you guys to see it.

Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes stories from set that you can share?

Oh, we have the best time. It was so great. All my scenes are with Julia Garner and Laverne Cox, and it was just the best time.

Julia is so talented. Oh, my goodness. She's so, so, so, so, so talented. And honestly, I can't even remember it, because we shot half of it pre-pandemic, pre-Vera, my daughter, and the other half post-pandemic when I had a brand new baby, and I was just out of my mind.

Here's the movie you can catch her starring in this holiday season

You filmed your new movie "Christmas Takes Flight" earlier this year. What was the hardest part about making a Christmas movie in July?

Yeah, it's definitely pretending that it's cold out, and drinking hot chocolate in Canada in the 100-degree heat, [wearing] wool jackets and scarves and hats and mittens. And you're like, "Oh, my gosh." We have to pretend ... you could see our breath, and it's snowing [and] so cold. It was the best, most fun time.

I also had never done anything like that. I'd never been the lead. I'm in every single scene for, like, 130 pages. I'd never done that, and it was just, you know, so fun to know that I can do it, you know?

Similarly, when you're going to go travel, when you're a mama this year, and you have to drive, and you're thinking, "Oh, my gosh, I don't know. I can do it. I can do it." You're going to get there, and it's going to be awesome, and it will have been worth it. And you're going to come to these virtual meetups by La Quinta by Wyndham, and you're going to go, and you're going to learn something, and you're going to do it. And then the next road trip you take to visit family, you're going to be even stronger.

Moms can register for La Quinta by Wyndham's free virtual "Thankful for Mom" meetup with Katie Lowes here. The event kicks off on Wednesday, November 3 at 8 p.m. EST and runs each week through November 17. Lowes will be speaking at the event on November 3.