Katie Lowes On Life After “Scandal” — And Her Journey Back To Shondaland With “Inventing Anna”

Katie LowesPhoto Credit: La Quinta by Wyndham

Katie Lowes is used to creating a Scandal (she famously played Quinn Perkins on Shonda Rhimes political series of the same name) but these days, she’s much more apt to be traveling than causing drama (though as a mom of two, that isn’t as easy as it sounds). Thankfully, Lowes, who will soon be starring in Rhimes’ first cable series, Inventing Anna,  has been working on a virtual event series with La Quinta by Wyndham called “Thankful for Mom” — all about travel and juggling life as a mom with hacks a-plenty. Here, we chatted with the 40-year-old actress about her journey back to Shondaland, her holiday travel plans and life after Scandal. 

Katie LowesPhoto Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

First off, do you have any travel plans coming up for the holiday season?

I have so many travel plans. Thanksgiving, we’re staying here, which is like, whoa, we don’t normally do that. But it’s because we just came from Washington, D.C., where we were we flew family of four. It was crazy and awesome. And we did it. To see my husband’s whole family in Virginia. And then for Christmas, we are going to Buffalo, New York, where I’ve spent every Christmas my whole life to visit my almost 90-year- old granny, Pat. It’ll be good to see everybody. And my daughter Vera was named after my granny’s mom. So I just feel like they’re super connected. It’s her namesake. And they haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time together. So there will be tons of videos and tons of pictures.

Travel obviously looks a little bit different this year. So what are some of your top tips for planning and minimizing stress in the process?

Gosh, it is it is definitely more stressful than it has ever been with the pandemic and that we’re out of practice because a lot of us have been home for so long. And people may feel stressed or unsafe. And I have to say, I have been traveling a lot and I bribed my four-year-old to keep his mask on the first time we flew. I was like, ‘How does my four-year-old keep the mask on the whole time?’ Turns out, he’s obsessed with his iPad, and it’s fine. I just load up his iPad with as much Paw Patrol and whatever garbage he wants to watch [and] he was actually really great about it. Um, I gotta say, I love those travel. I always pack a little laundry bag so that when I get home, I just put the dirty laundry right into our washing machine. And also I think it’s really important if you’re going to be staying in a hotel that has free breakfast. I mean, I refuse as a mom of two to stay anywhere that doesn’t have a free breakfast — like, ‘Sorry that can’t happen.’

Any other hacks that you would recommend?

First of all, we always travel with our own travel crib. I say that it’s a stroller, because all baby strollers and items are free and there’s an actual seat part that’s just empty space looking to be filled. So I fill it with the winter jackets, winter hats and mittens if you’re going somewhere cold like we always are. Also, I always ordered diapers and wipes in advance [and send to my hotel]. Those are hugely helpful. And then when I can, I try to get the bulkhead seat. I know most people don’t want it because you can’t put your belongings for takeoff and landing. It’s fine. It’s not a big deal. I promise you’ll survive. Just put your stuff all up there.

Can you just tell us a little bit about the ‘Thankful for Mom’ program?

La Quinta by Wyndham is doing this awesome launch called Thankful for Mom during the month of November, and they’re hosting three virtual meetups, where each meetup has a different topic to just help moms face travel, face the holiday season and give us tips and tricks and hacks and all of these things, so that we can kick [the holiday travel season’s] butt. So that’s all the holiday travel that’s coming up and the travel that we have been missing out on for so long and seeing family that we haven’t seen in a long time. We’re rusty at it and I’m rusty at it, being a mom. So these virtual meetups are here to help moms and to say thank you for all of the mommying that we have done in the last year and a half. And when I say Mommy, I mean mommying, teaching, tutoring, being your kids everything because the world was upside down. And the virtual meetups all feature different topics. So there’s one called stress free holiday travel. Yes, please sign me up. And that’s all travel tips and tricks in connecting moms coast to coast with experts on how to make all of the holiday travel coming up as stress free as possible. Then there’s one called boss mom 101 That’s all about giving us confidence that we can do it with our family at home and when we’re out on the road. Then there’s another virtual meetup called ‘Making Time for Mom.’ I’m so sick of my friends going on vacation and then calling me or texting me and saying like I need vacation from my vacation. No, mama’s we got this; we can do it. We can go to La Quinta by Wyndham, we can go with our families, we can go with our pets and we can set boundaries, we can figure out how to have mom time on these vacations. So that when we come home, we know that it was all worth it and we feel connected to our family. We got to see places we’ve never seen before. Even if it’s just an hour away. We got to see family we haven’t seen in a long time and we got to recharge even if that’s just hiding for 45 minutes in a La Quinta by Wyndham gym, and like not working out but just reading your book to get some me time, because that’s what I do.

Katie LowesPhoto Credit: Eugene Powers/Shutterstock.com

You touched on it a little bit with you know, boss, mom, travel and I know that you’re working on a new movie where you actually play a pilot. Tell me a little bit about it.

Talk about travel, you guys. I got to actually play a pilot I had to sit in the cockpit and like press buttons — it made me feel exactly like went on Scandal because you know Quinn on Scandal was a hacker and I am not [great with] technology. So like I like to go from a hacker to a playing a pilot where I’m pretending to fly the plane, which was hilarious and comical but I feel like you guys are gonna buy it. The movie is called Christmas Takes Flight, and it’ll be out this holiday season. And I’m the lead. Her name is Captain Jenny Beckett. It’s a classic, awesome feel- good family Christmas movie, except that I play a pilot — and only one percent of pilots are women. I’m a default divorcee. I have a kid that I raised by myself. Jenny is opinionated, strong. She runs a business, she’s got work-life balance insanity, like all of us moms do. She says it like it is. And so it’s the Christmas movie feel good that you’re looking for, but your lead woman is really powerful and strong. And I hope that that I was able to fill the her shoes. And then we have Inventing Anna, which is a new show. That’s a mini series on Netflix that Shonda Rhimes who created Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, it’s her first cable show that she wrote and created. And that’s racy and crazy and stars Julia Garner and Laverne Cox and Anna Chlumsky, who are incredible. And then I have a new sitcom coming out that’s called Smallwood on CBS. It’s my dream job. it’s the mom on a sitcom which is what I’ve always wanted to do. And I can’t wait for you guys to see it. It’s so good.

Back to Scandal for a bit. We would love to hear you know, what did Scandal teach you as it relates to your upcoming projects you’re starting to work on? And also Are you still in touch with any of your cast members?

The whole Scandal family is on a WhatsApp chain — every single character and their significant others because we are Scandal fam. We’re like really, really, really close. I mean, it was Joe Morton‘s birthday yesterday, my phone was like nonstop blowing up just like everyone wishing Joe happy birthday. I texted with Shonda yesterday, she sent me pictures of her at the pumpkin patch. I mean, we’re so close. We lived together for eight years. And during that Scandal time, a lot of us had huge life moments, had babies, met our people, bought homes, you know, fell in love fell out of love, like so we all really are there for each other. And, you know, I learned on that show. Really, from Shonda and Kerry, how to be a really good leader and how I just the example that Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington set on how to be how to be a professional and a working mother, on the good days and the bad days and how to not have work-life balance, because really, I don’t think that that’s a true thing. They’re so inspiring to me, women who are just moms, workhorses incredibly talented, creative, brilliant. They’re also very good at boundaries, and they’re just amazing. So to be able to take that experience and go into these other jobs and these other shows, and try my hardest to walk in their shoes to just be kind, to be strong, and be able to have days where I completely fail as a mom, because I’m kicking butt at work. And then days where I’m showing up for my kids in all the ways I know how but I’m missing something at work. Like that’s just, that’s really what it is. I don’t think that there’s any day where you’re that where you’re completely succeeding at both.

One more question about your new role on Inventing Anna. We would love to hear how how that happened, how Shonda came to you and or how this role came about.

So when I was on Scandal, Shonda moved over to Netflix, I think the last season and then it came out that she was going to be telling this Anna Delvey story, which I had known about. It was like a very famous story sort of in the zeitgeist because I’m from New York, and it was like, oh, there’s this girl who conned everybody you know, she was in her 20s. She told everyone she was a German heiress worth millions of dollars and it turns out she wasn’t and she was speaking with an accent and ended up going to jail for fraud. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is such an exciting story. Oh my gosh, please let there be a part for me in it. Please, please, please.’ And you know, Shonda is so loyal to actors. When she connects with someone, she casts them over and over and over again. Jeff Perry is a great example of that. He went from playing Meredith Gray’s dad to Cyrus on Scandal and he’s also on Inventing Anna. Or like, Paul Edelstein was on Private Practice and then he was Leo Bergen on Scandal. So I was like, ‘Please let her cast me.’ And then I started doing a little research on the story. There was a real girl who was Anna’s best friend. Her name is Rachel DeLoach Williams. She’s a real person. And I was like, ‘Maybe maybe.’ And so Shonda called me and said, ‘I have this role. Would you play something like that?’ And I was like, ‘I will do anything you want. I don’t care.’ I just want to work with Shonda until the end of time because of how she takes care of women and moms, especially on her sets. And I was like, ‘I’ll go with you anywhere you want me to go.’