At my age…someone else will be playing your Mama and Daddy! Get use to it! I know it makes sense now but that wasn’t something I thought about when I first started. I remember looking at a Daddy that I had to audition with so crazy! I think I was 5. They wanted me to act like this was my real Dad and all I could think of was STRANGER DANGER!
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Makenzie Lee-Foster.
Actress and now child author, Makenzie Lee-Foster, can’t be boxed-in. Born in San Jose, California, Makenzie started her acting career at two years old. She starred as Young Deja Andrews, the rebellious Pearson foster child, in the Emmy-award winning drama, This Is Us. In Dee Rees’ short film, “The Box,” for the 90th Academy Awards, Makenzie starred as a young girl imagining her space adventure and refusing to go to bed. She also starred as Young Toni Harris, one of the first females to play college football, in the Toyota Super Bowl LIII commercial. Now at only eight years old, Makenzie is breaking molds. She penned her first children’s book, Kickin’ it with Kenzie, that teaches children to follow their dreams and that nothing will come easy, it all takes work. When she’s not acting or helping her community through empathy and messages of anti-bullying, Makenzie enjoys science, art, sports, exploring, and making friends.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Well, I grew up in a house with only my Mom until we added our crazy dog named Josie when I was about 5.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
For the early on part you’d have to ask my Mom because my brain doesn’t really remember that far back. I do remember at about 5, I was watching TV and really wanted to be one of the kids on a fun show. I wanted to also make new friends and travel places.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your entertainment career?
Hmmmm…that’s a tough one. I would say the time we drove all the way to LA for an audition from the Bay Area. We turned right around to drive home after the audition, got home and started pulling into our driveway, and got a notification to go back to LA for another audition the next day. Actually, that happened a few times.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’m not sure if my Mom would think it’s funny but we forgot my entire audition bag at home. I didn’t have my head shots, resume, or audition clothes. I learned to double check my Mom’s packing before we leave.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Who do you think that might help people?
Now that it’s out I can finally say that Emily’s Wonder Lab was by far the most fun project I have ever done. I got messy, made friends, and learned about science. Since so many kids are home schooling right now this show would be perfect for them to learn about science in a new way.
Most young people your age don’t have to balance work and school. Can you tell us how you manage to balance your schoolwork, auditions, and time on set?
Well…on set we have set teachers that watch the clock and make sure we get our school hours in. My mom keeps track of my schedule on the days I’m not auditioning. We bring books and school work in the car too. I also have a chart that maps out all of the subjects I need to get done each day.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My Mom. Definitely my Mom. She has has been right by my side every step of the way. She always has my back. I would also say my agent and manager because they took a chance on me because we lived farther away. They believed in me.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s jump to the main part of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. It’s not easy. Nothing about this is easy. For every job I book, I have auditioned for many many more.
2. Don’t take things personal. Just because I wasn’t picked for a role, doesn’t always mean I did bad. It just means that role wasn’t meant for me.
3. That cool short commercial took hours to make. I had no idea! I remember being on set for my first commercial booking and realizing everything that went into it. Mind blown!
4. Take breaks. There is nothing wrong with taking time to have some fun. My Mom makes sure to watch for times that I may need breaks or I’m just not right. My team also knows how important it is for kids to take breaks. I remember I had just finished filming and I wasn’t feeling right. My Mom was on it and booked me out for a couple weeks.
5.At my age…someone else will be playing your Mama and Daddy! Get use to it! I know it makes sense now but that wasn’t something I thought about when I first started. I remember looking at a Daddy that I had to audition with so crazy! I think I was 5. They wanted me to act like this was my real Dad and all I could think of was STRANGER DANGER!
You are a person of enormous influence. How do you think you can use social media as a platform to be a positive influence to your fans, and for society at large?
I would say that my Instagram should look like my regular life. I want other children to see that I’m a regular kids and I’m dealing with the same things they are.
If you had the ability to choose to work on any TV show or film, or work alongside any co-star, or with any director, what or who would that be, and why? You never know who might see this article, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Ohhhhh! Tyler Perry! I would like to work with him and have him guide me on how to start my own educational show for children. I actually want a cartoon series for younger children and a live action show for older children.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You could ask them to please follow my journey at
Makenzie Lee-Foster on IG and Facebook.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
Thank you so much for this opportunity! It was so nice to meet you.