by Melissa Parker
Kirsten Vangsness is best known as the lovable, quirky brainiac tech analyst, Penelope Garcia, in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit on CBS’s hit series Criminal Minds. Other television credits include Phil of the Future, LAX, Pretty the Series and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (short-lived spin-off).
Vangsness began performing in plays and improvisation in Los Angeles after college. She has been a member of numerous theater companies in Hollywood and is currently an active member of Theatre of NOTE where she has served as president of the Art Board and earned the coveted Golden Betty Award.
“The thing most people have seen me do is Garcia on Criminal Minds. Very few people get the privilege to play the same character for ten seasons, but this last year, I was playing a dumb blonde named Fawn in this film who’s a total ditz, and then I was doing this whole other part, a character named Ada in this play. I did a three-page monologue just very angry and totally opposite from Garcia.”
In 2007, the versatile actress starred in the West Coast premiere of Neil LaBute's Fat Pig at the Geffen Playhouse for which she received a Best Actress Garland Award. She has also written various pieces that have been seen in the LA area.
The California native's current project is Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse, an indie feature comedy set during the collapse of civilization written by and starring Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine. In addition to Vangsness, the film features Barry Bostwick, Robert Pine, Harry Groener, Arye Gross and Janet Varney. It is available for preorder now at the film's official website.
Criminal Minds wraps up its tenth season May 6, 2015.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Kirsten, let’s first talk about your involvement in Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse.
Kirsten Vangsness: Gabe (Diani) and Etta (Devine), who created the movie, are members of a theater company called Antaeus in Los Angeles. There are all these little 99-seat theaters all over LA. I’m a member of one called Theatre of NOTE, and I did a movie with some people I know from there called Kill Me, Deadly that we just...
To Read More: SmashingInterviewsMagazine.com (beware, contains SPOILERS)