A Few Clues About Our New Nancy Drew, Actress Kennedy McMann

Photo: Courtesy of the CW.
The early Nancy Drew novels always make sure readers know that the girl detective is "attractive," "blonde," "blue-eyed," and always well put together. When the first books were published in the 1930s, she was also just 16 — though revisions aged her up to 18. Just the very fact that the new CW version of Nancy Drew is a red-headed waitress struggling to figure out her life tips us off that this show is taking us into new territory. Leading the way is our new Nancy Drew, actress Kennedy McMann, who is already showing us that she's the best woman for the job.
McMann Was Kind Of Born Into The YA Genre
Kennedy McMann's mother is Lisa McMann, author of a number of suspenseful paranormal and fantasy YA novels (Dead to You, Cryer's Cross, Unwanteds Quests). It seems pretty perfect that the daughter of a YA novelist grows up to become a YA novel character.

Not only that, but McMann has said she was a big Nancy Drewfan as a kid.

"I grew up reading the books," McMann told reporters, per the Chicago Tribune. "I played the computer games all through college. I was hogging the family computer when I was a kid, and then it just became my laptop, when I was 19, [with] different ‘Nancy Drew’ games on it. So I was pretty well versed. When it came about I was, like, ‘Ah, ah, I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’m ready to go.'"
Still, in every interview, it seems McMann can't believe her luck at this casting. "It’s all very cosmic," she told Cosmopolitan, of being chosen as Nancy Drew. "If I could have picked one person to portray, it would have been her. It gives me shivers to even say that.”
She's A New Actress, But She Knows What She's Doing
This is basically McMann's first professional role, ever — not counting her guest spot as a kidnapped girl in one episode of a Chris Noth-starring syndicated procedural called Gone in 2017, and an episode of Law & Order: SVU last year.

She is, however, formally trained as an actress. She's beenon stage since she was 9, and in 2018 she graduated with a BFA from CarnegieMellon University. That served her well when she auditioned for this dream roleand impressed executive producer Stephanie Savage.

"When she had scenes with the adults, she owned them and owned the words," Savage told reporters, per the Pittsburg Gazette. "You felt like this girl is going to solve a mystery.”
McMann's on-screen dad, Scott Wolf, is also in awe of his young co-star. "I have to be the proud dad for a second and just say it's remarkable — your ability to do your work is one thing, but Kennedy's ability to lead is a beautiful thing," the Nancy Drew star told Variety.
This Nancy Drew Is Pretty Personal For Her

The original Nancy Drew was always a little too perfect formost of us, but this version is far from that, which McMann clearly digs.

"For me it's refreshing because she's not the perfect girlfriend-daughter-robot-detective girl," McMann said at the Paley Center last month. "That’s not interesting at all to me. The stuff that drives me is this realistic messiness that's displayed in all the gray areas of life."
McMann is intent on showing fans her own messiness, too. She has said she started acting as a kid to cope with her OCD and reading an article about Jessica Alba's OCD made her realize she might still achieve her dreams. That's why she wants others to read about her mental health issues.
She also seems to have a stable personal life to help her through this. Scroll through her Instagram and you'll see her, pre-fame, enjoying time with her fiancé, Sam McInerney, also an acting grad from CMU. They have two very cute cats and like to play Dungeons and Dragons with their friends.
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misty 📸 @zachfife

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getting settled

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Over on the CW, it doesn't seem like Nancy Drew will have time for role-playing games (and anyway, the Riverdale kids ruined that for us), what with the murders she'll be solving.
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