Celebrity

14 things you should know about '13 Reasons Why' star Katherine Langford

Everyone’s obsessed with this actress.

By Jessica Chandra
13 Reasons Why Hannah Baker actress

In the space of a few weeks, Katherine Langford has gone from a little-known actress to the girl on everyone’s lips, thanks to her starring role in that new Netflix show you may have heard about, 13 Reasons Why.

It was a smart move by the show’s producers to go with actors who aren’t household names yet, especially for the central character of Hannah Baker, whose suicide affects the rest of the characters on the show after she implicates them in her reasons for taking her life.

Having an unknown actress also made Hannah way more believable, but now that everyone’s obsessed with the show, they have naturally become obsessed with Katherine.

Here are 14 things you may not have known about her! And yes, there are spoilers for the show ahead.

She's Australian

Katherine’s American accent is SO good you’d have no idea she’s Aussie, born and bred, from watching 13 Reasons Why. And she narrates the whole thing, too, so it’s a big deal. Katherine hails from Perth – listen to her real accent here:

She was also bound for stardom as someone who studied at both the Principal Academy of Performing Arts in Perth and the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney.

She auditioned for the role of Hannah over Skype

Being on the other side of the world meant Katherine auditioned for the role of Hannah Baker over Skype, and didn’t meet the producers until she was cast. Obviously, she killed it.

She also auditioned for another role

Katherine reportedly also auditioned for the role of Hannah’s one-time best friend, Jessica, before being cast as Hannah.

She's a really good singer

Fans uncovered Katherine’s YouTube channel, which has three videos from over three years ago, where she plays and sings the piano. Naturally, she’s a talented singer, too, and the songs are original ones she’s written.

Speaking of a piano…

She bought a piano while filming '13 Reasons Why'

As the subject matter of the show was so dark, Katherine bought a piano while living in San Rafael, California, as a way to comfort herself when things on set became too intense. “I don’t play professionally or very well for that matter,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s more of a comfort.”

Another way the cast cheered themselves up after filming difficult scenes was with the help of therapy dogs – CUTE.

She's a Little Monster

And by that we mean she’s obsessed with Lady Gaga. She lost her shit when she recently realised that Lady Gaga knows who she is.

She's only just turned 21

So she’s not one of those actors who’s in their mid-twenties, but still playing a teenager. (Her co-star Ross Butler, who plays Zach, is – at 26 he’s the oldest out of the high school cast.)

She has over two million Instagram followers (and counting)

Katherine has amassed over 2.5 million Instagram followers (at the time of writing) – not bad for someone who only made her Instagram public in February! She credited Selena Gomez, the executive producer of 13 Reasons Why, for encouraging her to go public so she can “connect with all of you.”

Selena Gomez thinks she's the perfect Hannah

When Selena bought the rights to Jay Asher’s book 13 Reasons Why over seven years ago, the original plan was for Selena to star as Hannah, with her mum, Mandy Teefey, serving as executive producer. It was first conceived as a feature film instead of a show.

However, due a number of factors, production on the screen version of 13 Reasons Why was pushed back, and by the time it was given the green light, Selena was too old for the role (even though she looks young enough to play a high schooler). “I see myself as Hannah so much,” Selena told The Hollywood Reporter. “Seven years ago I did and even more so today, which I think is funny because it’s backwards. The older I get the more insecure I get, which is odd. But that’s something a lot of people can relate to. Her personality is a quiet strength.”

In the end, Selena passed on the lead role because the “book is frightening for me because I know the cult following it has, which is the reason I didn’t want to be in it.”

This decision paved the way for Katherine to take the lead, which Selena could not be happier about.

“I can’t picture anybody else being Hannah but Katherine,” Selena told The West Australian. “She is Hannah. It just worked out the way it was supposed to and I’m glad I got to watch it happen.”

She didn't read the book before making the show

“I hadn’t read the book prior,” Katherine told RadioTimes.com. “I think if I had, I probably would have put a lot more pressure on myself because it’s a book that so many people identify with and are protective of.”

But she did her research for the role

Plenty of mental health professionals were consulted during the making of 13 Reasons Why. To prepare for the hot tub scene, in which Hannah is raped by Bryce, Katherine and Justin Prentice both spoke to counsellors to try to fully understand what would be going through their characters’ minds.

She's also athletic

At high school, Katherine was a nationally ranked swimmer.

Acting wasn't her first career choice

In her interview with Entertainment Weekly, Katherine revealed that growing up her top three job preferences were medicine, politics and musical theatre – in that order.

She's already working on her next project

Katherine has already wrapped filming on the Australian film The Misguided, and her next project will be Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, which also stars Jennifer Garner.

Big things ahead!