Exclusive: 'American Woman' Star Makenna James Teases New Paramount Network Series

American Woman star Makenna James is ready for her first series regular role in Paramount Network's new comedy series, and your next summer TV obsession, about life in the 1970's.

James plays the role of Becca, Bonnie's (Alicia Silverstone) oldest daughter, whom she described exclusively to PopCulture.com as a "forward-thinking and outspoken" rebel.

"The dynamic with her mother, Bonnie, is particularly complex — filled with love, but also much resentment," James told PopCulture.com in an email. "Viewers should watch to see if they can find a redeemable quality in her."

(Photo: Jeff Forney)

Created by John Riggi and inspired by the childhood of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards, the single camera comedy series follows Bonnie (Silverstone), an unconventional mom struggling to raise her daughters with the help of best friends Kathleen (Mena Suvari) and Diana (Jennifer Bartels) as they discover their own brand of independence amid the rise of second-wave feminism in the 70s.

"American Woman is rife with sex appeal, dynamic characters, and the nostalgia of the 70s," James said. "The series takes you back to a time when women were on the precipice of gaining independence from men. Women are fighting for their liberation, fighting to forge their own path."

James, who previously played supporting roles in series like Transparent, Teen Wolf and How to Get Away With Murder, said the talented cast sets the new sitcom apart from other offerings.

"Jen Bartels, who plays Diana, is an insanely talented comedian and it shows," James said. "Mena Suvari's Texan character – Kathleen – is another highlight on the comedic side, as well as in her more dramatic moments."

"Alicia Silverstone's depiction of Bonnie is equally soft and badass," she added. "You get to see the strength required to be a single mother in that time, as well as the vulnerability of her position. Lia McHugh, playing (youngest daughter) Jessica, is an extremely talented actor and a well needed breath of innocence in the series."

Aside from enjoying the experience of working as a series regular on the show, James said the opportunity to work with executive producer John Wells was one of the main reasons she wanted to work on American Woman.

"He is a creative genius," James said. "Everything he works on, from West Wing to Shameless, is amazing. More than that, he is incredibly gracious and supportive."

Ahead of the premiere, Paramount Network released the music video to Kelly Clarkson's rendition of classic rock song "American Woman," which will serve as the theme for the new series. The video features clips from the series.


"This is a show for everyone – not just women. Give it a shot!" James said.

American Woman premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on Paramount Network.