She plays Riana, a fresh face in one of 2016’s biggest cop TV series, Lethal Weapon. The up-and-coming star shares her thoughts with us.
Q: Lethal Weapon is not your first time on screen. In the show, you play Riana Murtaugh, an L.A. teenager who is known to drive her parents to their wits end. Do you relate to your character, and what’s Chandler Kinney like in real life?
Although Riana and I have a few similarities, we’re definitely more different than we are alike. But to me, that makes portraying her even more fun. Acting as someone who is very different than you keeps things new and always interesting! Riana is rebellious, mouthy, and bit of a wild child, so she’ll be getting into some trouble. She’s fearless and is an expert at driving her parents up the wall. However, Riana is truly a good kid with a good heart. Of course we share the similarities of being a teen and everything that comes with that! We’re also both very outgoing, but in different ways. In real life, I’m an energetic, optimistic, artistic person who loves her friends, family, and food!
Q: What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far in your career?
There are a variety of challenges you face when working in the acting industry. Dealing with rejection is one of the first things you learn. It can be difficult to not take it personally when you don’t get a role, but you have to remember that it’s a part of the business. Probably my biggest challenge that I have had to deal with is having to give up dance and martial arts! I love both but when you work on a show, it’s too difficult to fit everything into your schedule. There is simply not enough time in the day!
Q: At such a young age, you have been featured quite prominently on TV. What qualities do you think girls should be looking for in TV role models, and is there a good representation of it in media nowadays?
It’s so important for teen girls to have strong, positive role models in the media to look up to. Women who are powerful, independent, intelligent, confident and inspiring are people that we need on TV. I think it’s really great for girls to see girls support other girls and not be competitive or jealous. Lastly, young girls need to see women achieve their goals and accomplish great things. I think the industry as a whole is making progress when it comes to women working in film, both behind and in front of the camera. TV has more empowering female roles than ever. Of course it is still a work in progress, but I’m proud at the advancements we have made!
Q: You also played the Julia Walker in her later years on the cult favourite American Horror Story. What was it like to work in an environment with so many big stars?
Working on American Horror Story was such an interesting experience. I had heard of the show but obviously had not watched it because of my age at the time. Meeting and working with those amazing stars, like Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson, was, for a lack of better words, super cool! I only filmed one night and it was a beautiful wedding scene. For most of the shoot, I just danced and talked with Sarah, and she was so sweet and kind to me. It honestly didn’t feel like we were filming, it just felt like I was having fun at a party!
Q: Lastly, what’s your most memorable experience while acting on set?
I am so lucky to say that I’ve had so many incredible memories from working on different shows. One of my favorite memories I’ve had so far on the set of Lethal Weapon was actually one of my first days on set for the pilot when we were filming a dinner scene. I was just getting to know the rest of our cast and crew and I remember feeling so welcome and appreciated. During the scene, Damon kept cracking jokes and making the rest of us laugh. It was such a positive environment. I remember thinking to myself “I really hope this show gets picked up because I would love to work more with these people.” And luckily, our show got picked up and now I have the opportunity to make so many more wonderful memories with such a lovely cast and crew!
Photography by Benjo Arwas | Styled by Dion Bleu Drake | Makeup by Kristina Brown | Hair by Tiffany Daugherty
Interview originally appeared in our December 2016 issue, pick one up from the newsstands today!
Follow Chandler on Instagram @chandlerlkinney.