The "American Housewife" star talks about her new show, her adventures as a new mom, and living fearlessly.
- Posted on Nov 7, 2017
The first thing you notice about actress Katy Mixon is her accent--a drawl so southern you can almost taste sweet tea and homemade biscuits. The star of the popular ABC sitcom American Housewife begins and ends every sentence with a “sweetheart” or “honey,” like you’re one of the family, just poppin’ over for supper.
Even while battling a nasty bronchial infection during our phone interview, Mixon, who plays Katie Otto on the show, comes off as happy and upbeat. “It’s a magical time,” Mixon cheerily tells Guideposts.org when asked about her hectic schedule. American Housewife premiered its second season just a few weeks ago and five months before that, she gave birth to her first child, a son named Kingston.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
Mixon splits her time between caring for her son and putting in 70-hour work weeks with her show.
“It's the hardest thing I've ever done,” Mixon says of parenting a newborn while starring in the comedy series. “But I just welcome it. I'm having the time of my life.”
Mixon says she inherited her boundless energy and determined spirit from her mom, another tough southern woman who the actress says she borrows from when playing Otto on the show.
“Ya know what, sweetheart? I grew up in a family of nine,” Mixon says when asked if she needed inspiration to play a TV mom. “Six girls and one boy. I think all of my instincts are literally from my own experiences watching my mommy do it.”
Fans love watching Mixon's character--an unapologetically flawed mom to three kids in a wealthy Connecticut town full of seemingly perfect housewives. Mixon’s character burst on the scene last year as a woman who was confident and proud of her messy life, her well-meaning, if not hopeless, husband, and their rambunctious kids. When the family moves into Westport, Katie feels the pressure to make her life fit into someone else’s picture-perfect mold.
Season two is all about Katie getting back into the good graces of the women of Westport.
“She does something that she absolutely hates, she becomes a volunteer and she headlines the spring gala. So that's going be a constant thing [towards] the end [of the season],” Mixon reveals.
Even though the actress considers the show one of her “biggest blessings,” she wants fans to know that she’s not her character.
“I'm not like her,” Mixon laughs when asked if there are any differences between the two (besides how they spell their names). “I have such a love for this character. I say this to everyone but I don't get mad at [people who drink] a green juice. I'm okay with the green juice. I'm okay if you go and do yoga. If you want to better yourself, I'm like, ‘Rock and roll.’”
But Mixon does describe both herself and Katie Otto as “fearless,” something she proved when shooting a pivotal episode in the show’s first season that tackled the character’s body insecurities. Mixon, who was five months pregnant at the time, sported a bathing suit in 56 degree weather for the episode which saw Otto and her daughter venture to the local swimming pool.
“It was epic,” Mixon says of the scene and the response to it from the fans. “It doesn't matter what background you come from, and it doesn't matter where, who you are, and what gender you are ... everybody's got an insecurity. Everybody. No matter what group you're in, everybody knows what that feeling is. And it's about recognizing it and walking through the fire and coming out on the other end.”
Weight is a big part of Otto’s journey on the show, and though Mixon doesn’t share that insecurity, she hopes her character’s struggle can help others find confidence.
“The difference in me and Katie Otto is that, that's not where I live constantly,” Mixon says. “I mean, honey, I've been a size 2, and size 4, and size 14, and size 12. And it's not my identity. It never has been, never will be. But it's a real insecurity for a lot of people and so that's why I've posed it with Katie Otto.”
Ultimately, Mixon considers it a gift to be able to play such a relatable character.
“That's what's been, I think, one of the most rewarding things in the last year. That all of these incredible people dig her. And have seen power in themselves.”