Katherine McNamara

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Actress, CW's Arrow and Freeform's Shadowhunters

Words & Music

Katherine McNamara: Biography at a Glance

  • Katherine McNamara is known for her role as Harper Munroe on the MTV comedy series Happyland, and for her lead role as Clary Fray on the 2016–2019 Freeform fantasy series Shadowhunters.
  • McNamara joined the cast of Arrow, starting with its seventh season, playing the character of Mia Smoak, the daughter of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak.
  • McNamara appeared in The Maze Runner film sequel, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. She reprised the role in the 2018 sequel, Maze Runner: The Death Cure.
  • McNamara was cast as Julie Lawry in the CBS All Access limited series adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand.


Katherine McNamara currently stars in the CW’s “Arrow” as ‘Mia Smoak (aka Blackstar)’. Initially only referred to as Blackstar, Mia is an underground cage fighter from a possible future. The reveal of Mia’s true identity as the daughter of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak was described as the best twist of Season 7.

McNamara is perhaps best known for her role as ‘Clary Fray’ in the Freeform series “Shadowhunters.” The fantasy show, based on a series of young adult books, drew a massive fanbase and garnered multiple People’s Choice Award and Teen Choice Award wins.

Last year, McNamara reprised her role as ‘Sonya’ in the third installment of “The Maze Runner” trilogy, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” alongside Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario. She originated the role in the second film “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.”

McNamara began her career on Broadway at the age of 13 as ‘Fredrika’ in “A Little Night Music,” starring her opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. Her other roles include ‘Esther Jane’ in the pre-Broadway world premiere of “A Christmas Story, the Musical!” as well as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Crucible,” “Inherit the Wind” and “Galileo.” She has also been cast in a number of Equity workshops/readings, including “Pan” with Laura Osnes, which was created by the “In the Heights” creative team.

McNamara now divides her acting talents between television and film. Notable television credits include “CSI,” “Unforgettable,” “Jessie,” “Good Morning America,” PBS’s “Sondheim! The Birthday Concert,” and the highly acclaimed Freeform series “The Fosters.”

McNamara made her big screen debut in Warner Bros.’ “New Years Eve,” in which she portrays ‘Lily.’ She also starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie “Girl Vs. Monster” opposite Olivia Holt, which attracted more than 5 million viewers, as well as the independent fil “Contest” as ‘Sarah O’Malley’ opposite Kenton Duty. The film dives into the dark world of high school bullying and found a home on Cartoon Network as part of their anti-bullying initiative. Other film projects include “Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn” opposite Joel Courtney and Jake T. Austin, Disney’s family-friendly “Little Savages,” Universal’s film by R.L. Stine, “MONSTERVILLE: Cabinet of Souls,” “A Sort of Homecoming” opposite Laura Marano, “Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?” with Cloris Leachman, “Natural Selection” with Anthony Michael Hall, “A Wife’s Nightmare” with Jennifer Beals and “Indiscretion” with Mira Sorvino and Cary Elwes.

The triple threat has added music to her resume as well. McNamara plays the guitar and piano and enjoys singing and songwriting. She has shared her passion for music with the world by releasing songs “Ember” (2017), which was featured in the “Shadowhunters” Season 2 finale, and “Glass Slipper” (2017). In addition, she has several songs featured in films, including her original song “Chatter” (2013) on the “Contest” soundtrack. McNamara also has a passion for all forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, waltz and hula.

At the age of 14, McNamara graduated with honors from high school and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Business with an emphasis in Finance from Drexel University’s Le Bow School of Business at the age of 17. She is now pursuing a Master of Literature at the John Hopkins University as part of their Advanced Academics graduate degree program.

McNamara is committed to giving back to the community. She is a champion for the United Nations Foundation’s girl empowerment campaign, Girl Up, a spokesperson for Stomp Out Bullying, an avid supporter of the MS Society and the Lollipop Theater Network, a lifetime Girl Scout and a volunteer for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She is also a regular attendee of Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Big Sick celebrity weekend in support of pediatric cancer research and treatment programs.

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, McNamara currently resides in Los Angeles.

I am so thrilled and grateful that Kat participated in our Culture Shock event. She did a wonderful job!

STOMP Out Bullying

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