Kyrie McAlpin – Catching up with the New Star from Cheaper by the Dozen
Updated: May 25
Catching Up With the New Star From Cheaper by the Dozen
by Kayla Marra
Kyrie McAlpin is a 10-year-old actress from Houston, Texas, who has been acting since the age of four. Her passion for performing was sparked when she participated in several short films, as well as print campaigns, inspiring her to pursue her acting career for years to come.
In 2017, Kyrie’s family made the move from Houston to Las Angeles, which helped Kyrie book numerous roles including Netflix’s Sneakerheads, Amazon’s Them, Apple TV’s Doug Unplugs, and now Disney+’s Cheaper by the Dozen. Though she is booked and busy, Kyrie manages to find time to sing, dance, meditate, and help the homeless.
We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Kyrie about the roles she has taken on, challenges she has faced and how she has overcome them, as well as advice for aspiring actors.
Since we haven’t spoken before, could you tell our viewers a bit about yourself?
I’m an actress, a dancer, a singer, and I like to say that I’m a girl of many talents. I’m also outgoing. I’m fun. I love dancing, singing, doing projects. Mostly making explosions. (chuckles) Trying new things. I’m me!
You grew up in Texas and then later moved to California in 2017, would you say that this move greater inspired your acting career, or has it been a lifelong dream?
It wasn’t really so much a dream. I’ve been acting since I was four. Then I came out to LA and I loved it. When I came out I was like, “Hey I want to move here. I want to come here. I want to start my career here.” So after going back and forth for each acting season, I moved out here. I've loved it ever since.
Congratulations on starring in Sneakerheads, Them, Doug Unplugs, and now Cheaper by the Dozen. How did you get involved with Cheaper by the Dozen?
I auditioned for it. I looked into the role, the casting. After a few series of trying out for it and them liking me, I booked the job. It's an amazing set, with such amazing actors, and everything was just wonderful.
You play young Deja in Cheaper by the Dozen. How did you prepare yourself for this role?
I prepared myself for this role by going over my lines. Going over my script, and saying what would Deja do? Who is Deja in your mind? Kyrie, be Deja. I also prepared myself to be the character and to connect with the script in the scene. On the set, I also had been given some directions on how to do it, what to think, and stuff like that. I prepared myself mentally before we went through every scene. I just made sure I had the right things going on and just kept going, and going, and going. Preparing myself mentally for when I just get on and go…. (mimes head exploding.) Wow them.
Did you get any advice from your castmates that really stuck with you?
Advice, but also tips. Tips about how to do different things. Being more professional, but also having fun. They told me to have fun and just go with it. Just act like you're eating the food, because in the scene I was eating food. I was eating and having a great time and they told me, “Good job, Kyrie! You’re doing great.” Then they would give me advice like, “Okay, next time maybe look at me and let’s interact with each other. That way it’s not bland and plain, so there are different varieties of connections.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve come across while playing this role?
The biggest challenge of playing Deja would probably be interacting with different animals. It's not really a challenge, but to get something new. Something I'm not so familiar with, was difficult. I had to be trained to interact with the dogs that way was more connectional. I feel like I interacted better than I usually did. I went through with it and I was like, “Okay I got this. It's a friendly dog. It’s nice.” I would say that was the biggest challenge.
What has been your favorite thing about working with Disney+, as well as the rest of the cast?
My favorite thing would probably be how funny they are. How much they treat each actor like family. They always have a connection on-screen and off-screen with the different people inside the cast. Also outside [crewmembers] who do all of this work to make sure it goes great, which people don't give enough credit for. I feel like Disney+ and the production team just make it really fun, makes you still feel like you’re a child, like you're actually in the movie and you're actually having a great time. You’re dancing, you’re singing, also having the scenes. It feels like you’re not even working, you’re just having fun.
In Doug Unplugs you play Emma. How is voice acting different from on-screen acting?
I would say that the only difference for me, in my personal opinion, would probably be that viewers don't see you on the screen. They don't see your actual face, but they can hear your voice. That was the only difference. I've learned to come into that there are only a few differences. One thing that works for me, is that you have to act like you're actually in the scene. Like let's say you're doing a somersault (in the scene), you don’t actually do a somersault, but you pretend like you’re doing a somersault. You get into it. You have your facial expressions like you’re actually in it and like they can see your face. For me, Emma looks like me, has a smile like me. [She] is enthusiastic like me. There are a lot of different things that you have to do. Even if it is a character that is not like you. For instance, if you’re playing a mouse, you also want to make sure that you get into it. (Crouches down like a mouse.) There aren’t many differences, but there are a lot of similarities that really bring it out.
What would you say is the biggest challenge with taking on a voice-acting role, and how did you overcome that challenge?
The biggest challenge would probably be that sometimes you are able to see the different people, but sometimes you’ll only be able to see a small amount of other people. That is just one challenge. The biggest challenge would probably be, again, not being seen on screen. Because you don’t get seen on screen. You don’t get people to see your face. Not being able to see other people all goes together into one challenge. You also have to make sure that you are having the right facial expressions and making sure that you don’t go off of the microphone so that the audio is correct. All that together would probably be the biggest challenge.
With all of the roles you’ve been taking on recently, what is the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do as a result of that?
This is a hard one because there are a lot of things! I must say, it is probably meeting the actors, all of these amazing actors. I feel like that’s the coolest thing. You get to see all of these big-time actors and all these big-time people, and you're right in front of them, or interacting with them, or you see them. I was working with them, or in the same film as them, so it really brings out the excitement. I feel like that's the best thing because you get to meet so many different people.
On top of your busy schedule, it looks like you still manage to find the time to do the things you love. What are your favorite things to do when you’re not on set?
Meditating is number one. I really have come to love meditating because it relieves you from everything, and if anything is overwhelming. Also I just do it as a hobby because I feel like meditating brings out the best of me and makes me feel so warm and relaxed. But also dancing. Dancing is definitely one. Singing, doing projects, playing with my dolls, and doing stuff like kids would do but in the chaotic “Kyrie way.” Also, I like coming up with languages and words!
We also saw that you sing as well as dance. What is your favorite song to sing, and do you have any favorite songs to dance to?
My favorite song to sing would probably be “Traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo, just because of the high notes and the different things for me, and my vocal range really brings out the best of me and showcases my voice, so that people can see the real Kyric McAlpin voice. I like projecting my best features but also working on other features that I need to work on, especially in the last chorus where it goes, *Singing* “You’re still, you’re still a traitor!” My favorite song to dance to would be… there’s so many!
You can pick a couple!
I do like a lot of songs from animated TV shows and movies like songs from Turning Red, songs from Encanto. I also like Doja Cat a lot. Hip-hop varieties and stuff like that because I like to open to new songs and things to expand my thoughts and different things that I need to do. Stuff that I want to learn. Those would probably be my favorites. I also like listening to other music as well.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to be an actor?
The advice that I’d give to you is don’t quit if it’s really something that you want to do. Do the thing that you want to do, have your gift and bring out the best. This is not just for acting but in general as well. Also, study your scripts, guys, because when I tell you that you have to break down your scripts. You have to do every single thing just to make sure. You have to connect with the scene. I'm not going to tell you that I do that perfectly because I do not, because I'm not perfect, so I still work on connecting with my scenes and getting my stuff down. You need to know what people are going to say. You need to know what's your beginning moment, what you are doing at the beginning of the scene. You need to connect with the scene, know your characters, and know who you are talking to. Make sure that you really break down your scripts that way, so you're not lost. Also try to stay grounded and natural, if that's the thing they want you to do. If you do the complete opposite of what they want you to do, I'm going to tell you right here, it's going down. Just don't quit. Never give up and be yourself.
A scripture that I like to read… I found out this scripture from Steve Harvey… James 4:2: “You do not have, because you do not ask.” You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask for it. You need to ask God for what you want. You need to ask him for what you need, and what you believe is the best for you. You also need to write down your vision. You need to write down what you need to do. Another scripture is Habakkuk 2:2: “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
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