Ashleigh Murray on Josie’s Choices & the ‘Huge Learning Curve’ of ‘Katy Keene’

Katy Keene - Ashleigh Murray

While Katy (Lucy Hale) may be the one nursing a broken heart following her split with K.O (Zane Holtz) in the February 13 episode, tonight on Katy Keene, it’s Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) feeling all out of sorts as she tries to keep things professional with ex-turned-manager Xander Cabot (Lucien Laviscount). And it’s not just because the heat between them is still simmering.

Turns out the Cabot family — Xander’s twisted sister Alexandra (Camille Hyde), in particular — are a whole bunch of mess that even the Blossoms would be icked out by. But that just means more great stuff for Murray to play, which is what fans have been waiting for since she first piped up on Riverdale.

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So of course we jumped at the chance to sit down with the delightful actress on set in New York to discuss Josie’s evolution, a McCoy family reunion, and her own experiences with spreading her wings.

So, Josie is making some very interesting choices regarding her career. Very responsible.

Ashleigh Murray: Yes! She did make some pretty responsible choices for herself, which I think you can only expect from someone who has been on the road for years with her dad performing in small places, big places and understanding what’s a good path to take and what isn’t. Mind you, sometimes those great choices are veiled with a gorgeous face and beautiful crisp fall day in Washington Square Park. [Laughs]

And that gets you into the very strange Cabot world.

Yeah. [Laughs]

Katy Keene - Ashleigh Murray - Lucien Laviscount

Barbara Nitke/The CW

In the third episode Josie decided that, despite how insanely hot he is, she’d rather have Xander as a manager than as her man. How does that spin you guys? Because I feel that’s just courting some trouble there.

It is. And I feel that’s the best way to describe it, because you see that choice unfold in many different ways. Most of them are pretty healthy and typical. But if anybody’s ever been in a situation where they’ve had to work with someone and there’s an attraction involved, sometimes it bubbles up and it’s in those moments that you have to decide if your original choice is still the right one. So you’ll see them ping-ponging back and forth between that.

Loving how much you get to sing.

I know! And we have just touched the surface of making original music. We still have some really lovely covers throughout the season, but we have waded into the waters of originality, which I love and I hope that we get to do more of.

Katy Keene - Lucy Hale - Ashleigh Murray - Jonny Beauchamp - Julia Chan

David Giesbrecht/The CW

Because that’s her thing, Josie wants to write a hit song.

Yes. She wants to write a hit song. So we’ve begun that process and it’s been fun. I just hope we keep getting to do it. The four of us, and really, so many of us [on the show] love the idea of, “Oh, we should do this song on the show” or “Wouldn’t it be great if we did that?” There’s so much energy between the cast that I forget “Oh no, wait, wait, wait. Josie has to do something original!” I can’t just be singing all these great covers. [Laughs]

For you personally, this all sort of echoes your own life. Josie has done five years on the road, trying to get to a point where she’s ready to branch out. And you just spent three years on Riverdale, which got you to the point where you are now. You’ve both even moved here to New York! How has that been for you, getting to really start to actualize your own dreams?

It’s still scary. It’s just as scary as it was when I was starting college. When I graduated, I booked my first tiny little commercial with Coca-Cola. It was on Japanese television and you could only see it on YouTube here so long ago. Every time I thought, “OK, this is a great notch I can put on my belt,” but I was still scared. What if another one doesn’t come along? And now with this success, I was actually just writing about on my Instagram, how I’m learning in this life that I’m very lucky to have, that I have earned it and I worked very hard. But I still struggle to accept the idea that I deserve things that I have worked for. And so that’s what I’m focusing on, accepting that it’s OK to be scared, but it’s also OK to have this.

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And that is an honest part of gratitude, knowing that you were able to do this and it wasn’t just handed to you. You’ve put in the work. How is it getting to do a season of 13 episodes with so much more screentime?

It’s a huge learning curve. I had no idea how all encompassing this type of work would be! And granted, I’m capable of doing it, but now I’m having to learn how to balance so much work and then still having time for just making dinner or going to the gym or going to my therapist or just doing all of the things that everyone else has time to do.

It’s been confirmed that we will see Josie’s mom from Riverdale, so how was it getting to work with Robin Givens in this new environment?

Oh, it was lovely. I love Robin. She’s the best. She texts me all the time and even when we’re not working together, we’re still connected. I love, love Robin. When we were in Vancouver, we always talked about how we both lived in New York and how we have to get together for dinner and all of these things. New York is one of my family members. It’s with me wherever I go. So no matter where I meet someone, working with them or seeing them again in New York, I actually will feel more at home here.

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Did you and Lucien come up with your ‘ship name?

I don’t know ship names! I don’t. I didn’t do it on Riverdale and I’m not going to do it here. And I love that we don’t do it here because being a true New Yorker and having lived through all of my twenties here, I know what dating and being in a relationship was like. Love life here is as fleeting as happy hour, okay? [Laughs] You just can’t commit to things.

Hashtags don’t stand a chance?

You can’t commit to it if you have no idea what’s going to happen next. [Laughs]

So true! Even with Josie and Xander… there are so many people here. Why would you want to just lock into one? On your first day, no less in the city!

Yeah, I know. It was a rookie mistake. [Laughs]

Katy Keene, Thursdays, 8/7c, The CW