Photographer: Elaine Torres
& Photographer: Clay Boutte
Kaley Ronayne is starring in the Leonardo Di Caprio produced National Geographic scripted series, The Right Stuff, based on Tom Wolf’e best-selling nonfiction book.
Editor: Rhonda Mcknight
Did you read 'The Right Stuff’ book based on Tom Wolfe's best-selling before the part?
Yes, I got a copy of the book right away, and I loved it. Tom Wolfe’s writing style is so captivating, and I was thoroughly engaged in the entire read. Highly recommend even if you’re not a history buff!
Can you tell us more about the character you play?
I play Dee O’Hara, who was the real-life nurse to the Mercury 7. She became best friends with Alan Shepard, who was the first man in space and remained close with all of the astronauts and their families over the years that she worked with the program.
What were the sets like and where was it filled?
We filmed in Orlando, FL, which was great because we were able to be historically accurate with a lot of our locations. A period piece is always exciting in terms of wardrobe and makeup, and the recreation of the spacesuits and spacecraft was especially cool. The sets were beautiful and it was so much fun to play in the world of 1959.
What is the most rewarding acting part that you have received in your career so far?
Oh, wow. Tough question to answer. The roles I’ve played have each been rewarding in their own ways, but a TV show I worked on called Quarry sticks out in my mind. I think it was the role that I learned the most from—watching the other actors, the director, the writers. The collaboration on that set was super inspiring and helped me to formulate my own process for how to work.
What role in a movie or a tv show you feel was made for you to play that you hadn’t?
I would love to play Katherine Hepburn in a biopic. People have told me I look like her since I was 8. Or do a remake of one of her movies, although I suppose that might be sacrilegious to some people!
What is inspiring you everyday in life?
I am writing these answers from quarantine in my apartment in Brooklyn, so it is a time when inspiration is much needed. I am inspired by the people of New York, their resilience, and love for one another and our city. Every day at 7 pm people bang pots and pans for the healthcare workers down the street at the hospital, and there is a mutual aid project in my neighborhood offering services to people in need. It can be difficult to sift through all the news and noise, but gestures like these inspire me and make me ask myself how I can help.
How are you keeping busy at home?
I have found ways! I tend to my plants, I scrub my shower, I cook, I take dance classes on zoom, I read. I’ve made a list of random, small things I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to. Now is the time I suppose!
What is your goal for 2021 and what other projects should we watch out for 2020?
“I had some projects in the works for 2020, but since everything is on hold, I can’t say for certain. My goal for 2021 is to do a play. It seems like such a treasure more than ever, having had group gatherings banned for the time being. I can’t wait to make a room full of people laugh.”
How can fans reach out to you via social media?
You can follow me on Instagram @paleykaley