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Conversations with Kristen King

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen King.

Hi Kristen, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My story? Super loaded question, but I guess it began with the fact that I’ve always had the desire to create something out of nothing. Growing up an only child in the 80s, there were no iPads, on-demand TV, or even Google. Both of my parents had full-time jobs, and I spent a lot of time using my imagination, singing and songwriting. Fast forward to now, and I still have great joy on being able to do all of these things and get paid for it. It’s one of those jobs that don’t feel like a job and so I will never retire.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It absolutely hasn’t been a smooth road for me, as there was a lot of “proving” to be done. There is this conception that being a performer is not “practical.” I was always feeling like I had to convince family and friends around me that this can be just as lucrative as any career that takes time and work to put in–aka a lawyer, doctor, or engineer. But over time, ideas that it was hard and that I wasn’t going to make it did creep in and so it became true.

I tried working a 9-5 for six months while I was pregnant since acting work was harder to come by when I started showing. And let me tell you, I hated EVERY minute of it. I got paid pretty well hourly, but it was like time was going sooooo slow. It was quite literally torture for me. I had a newfound respect for my husband and anyone else who was in the corporate world.

I am not gonna lie, there is something satisfying about knowing that you will get a check every week for work you have done. There is prediction, and so you can therefore plan things. As an actor, I can spend 40 hours a week working on auditions and not get a single dime for that work I put in, nor an acknowledgment if I had to send a self-tape. But once I do book something, it sort of back pays you for all the times you’ve been waiting for “that call.”

Once I had my first kid, something clicked–I can stop spending time proving my worth and just spend time thinking how I’m going to be able to show my child that ANYTHING is possible. The dream never quits, but it’s YOU that quits the dream. I gave myself six weeks of postpartum break, and then I geared up with this new frame of mind and booked more than I ever did than when I was single. From 2018 – 2019 I had either booked something every month, or I was on your TV, in a magazine, or on a store shelf. And at that point, my life changed drastically.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I went to NYU to be an Opera Singer, and in my last year there, I realized that though Opera was my specialty, it was actually not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Yes I wanted to perform, but I also wanted to tell stories NOW and write my own music in the vein of Nina Simone mixed with Sade. Of course, I still have some classical elements but this is the type of music that I enjoy making. Though I started out as a singer, I very quickly had a passion for acting and that has ultimately been the route that I have taken. To be able to do a movie where I get to sing and act would be a dream. I’m most proud of the fact that I can be of service to other actors. Am I where I want to be yet? No, but I sure do wish I had someone to help me get where I am now faster, and so I started a new playlist on my YouTube channel called Kristen Keeps it Reel to give more transparency to an industry that seems so unattainable for some. I essentially help stuck actors become unstuck so that they can flourish and prosper. In my eyes, there is more than enough work for all of us out there.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
If you want to work with me, you can always find me on Instagram or Youtube. I do check my DMs and respond to every single message. If you reach out to me and we are a good fit, then we can work together.

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Image Credits
Headshot by Jonny Marlow Lifestyle shots by TIM SABATINO

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