Charmaine: Kimberley, you’re currently between LA & New Zealand so how is it all going?

Kimberley: Good, it’s been interesting living this normative lifestyle and kind of living a double life in some respect.  My accent is somewhere in the middle now. When I land here, I do try and stay in an American accent for work. I’ve been here since the beginning of the year bar a trip home last week, so I’ve been speaking in an Amercian accent for eight months so excuse me if I can’t quite break it.

Charmaine: So does that help you when you go into auditions?

Kimberley:  I think so, it’s such a competitive market here. Anything that you can control to help you and push you forward, it’s in your best interest for you to control it. I think if they’re going to be listening for an accent and they know you’re not from here, some people are funny about hiring non-americans for jobs. You don’t want them listening for your accent you want them to watch your acting. I do a lot of comedy so a lot of its improvised and I don’t want to have to be thinking about, how do I say that.  It’s not for everyone, so people think that’s silly, but it’s working for me and I’m booking jobs, so I’ll stick with that.

Charmaine: So most people here will know you as Sophie from Shortland Street. Before you even got the part on Shortland St, you were into all kinds of performing, so dancing, because you’re Mums a dance teacher, Drama & Cheerleading as well, so when you got the roll how did you get used to being in front of the camera, or did that just come naturally?

Kimberley: Honestly, I’m a bit of a showoff and have been since birth, so I had no issues with that. I feel like I’m born to be an entertainer, that’s where I get a lot of my joy and validation from is from entertaining people and making them laugh or feel something or bringing a character to life that tells a story. So I think I’m a natural born story teller. That wasn’t really a challenge being in front of the camera. I really enjoy that whole aspect of it. I love film & television and it’s what I’m choosing to do for my career. I get to play make believe everyday – why wouldn’t you love it. It keeps the child in me alive.

Charmaine: It’s just that I’m a photographer and a lot of people I photograph, they’re everyday women and majority of people hate being in front of the camera. They’re so nervous, wether it’s video or still photography. Have you got any tips of being confident in front of the camera that they could use?

Kimberley: Photography may be a little bit different because you’re actually looking through the lens, where as I guess in acting the idea is you’re not meant to be super aware of  the cameras, your supposed to be in a moment with a person. I think it’s about being confident in what people see and unapologetically being yourself I guess. Of course I have moments and when my skin breaks out and that’s all that the camera’s looking at. We all have that inside voice that’s not our best friend at all. In terms of confidence tips in front of the camera, I think just try and enjoy it and just give over to it. It’s not going to take long. The more you relax and are in your own skin and in yourself, then better you’re going to look and your eyes will come alight – so fake it till you make it and enjoy the process.

Someone once told me that Will Ferrel is so great because he is so unaware of himself and just unapologetically himself. The example they used in a class was that, a child can stare at an adult for a period of time and it not bother them but the adult becomes uncomfortable for someone staring at them, where the child has no issue just staring at people because they are so unaware of themselves. I guess that’s the goal to be in a position to be comfortable in yourself. I think that’s always the goal and what we’re always looking to achieve and some days it’s easier than others.

Charmaine: So one thing I’ve noticed is each year, starting this year is your year of adventure and last year was your year of no fear. How’s it going. Is it to just push you outside your comfort zone, try different things and have new experiences?

Kimberley: Yeah, I’m always trying to do things that I hope other people jump on board with and I’m still young and still have so much to learn and different lessons and I want to be able to do that. Doing things that scared me is probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done, because it required a lot of growth, it required a lot of change, it required me outside of my comfort zone and I think I came out the end of it having tried things that I would have never tried before and loving them and finding these new passions, meeting new people. I think it’s very safe to live inside your own bubble and your own box but I think that’s what we’re supposed to do here, I think we’re supposed to push some boundaries a little bit.

Charmaine: And has your confidence grown even more for that?

Kimberley: Sure, I mean I did stand up comedy. 5 years ago if you told me to do stand up, I’d be like never in my life would I ever, that sounds like the worst thing. I still kind of have that where I’m like “Why am I doing this”, it’s scary but you’re not going to die, you’ll learn from it. It’s good to feel scared sometimes and do things anyway because you realise you are capable of so much. It’s a cool feeling to go from so scared then in five minutes later to feel so great about yourself is really cool.

Charmaine: Yeah, it’s quite exciting isn’t it that once you’ve stepped outside that comfort zone, it’s just pushing through that barrier, it’s pretty good on the other side once you’ve done it. With you moving to LA, was that outside your comfort zone or where you ready for it?

Kimberley: I think I’ve said this before, I think naivety was probably my best friend, because I didn’t think to much about it. I was 22 years old and I’m like, yeah I’m going to go live in America. I had people speaking into me, be safe, it’s dangerous there, but I was like, I’ll be fine. I think as you get older you get a little bit safer in your mentality, you think things through clearly and you weigh things up. I think it was good for me to come out here and have to figure it all out on my own. There were some very average days early on where I learnt a lot of horrible lessons. I was robbed, my car got towed, all these things in my first weeks, and you’re not in a position where I can call Mum or Dad or a friend. I could sit there and cry or just figure it out. Although they were awful at the time, it felt good at the end of it to go, oh I did that by myself and I can do that, I can make it and make friends and push myself in an entirely different country. That’s are really validating feeling to know you can do that.

Charmaine: Totally understand when you said you didn’t think about it and naivety was your friend. I felt the same, I guess I can’t really compare Palmerston North to LA, but from my home town to Palmerston North, I didn’t think about it as well, but now that I’m getting older, I’m really thinking about things more. Well I’ve actually read your book – Love You, be your best and live your dreams. I enjoyed reading this and you cover so much in it, confidence, chasing your dreams, looking after yourself, money, relationships, all sorts and the thing that I really liked is you did share your experiences, especially going to LA and how you stepped outside your comfort zone and how you dealt with those. It really makes you think, if you do step outside your comfort zone you can grow so much. You share so much so it was a really good read. So what made you want to write this book?

Kimberley: There were a lot of reasons, I always wanted to write a book, I just didn’t know what it would specifically be. I have a lot of people who come to me for advice on things, I’m not a professional by any means and I’ve never pretended to be but it kind of got me thinking. I’m very lucky that I have a few people in my life that I can go to for advice who are around my age or done similar things but I know that isn’t the case for everyone, especially for young women in New Zealand growing up who want to do something that is maybe a little bit different, or any career path I think. I wrote it for myself in many ways and I wanted to help people who maybe needed some tools to make positive change that I have learnt and picked up along the way. Obviously I’m young, and writing a self-help book when you’re young is an interesting endeavour too, but I wanted to write it for people who are going through the stage of life that I’ve just come to the end of. A lot of the books out there are written by women a lot older, speaking to this chapter and I felt when I was reading it there was a bit of a disconnect. I wanted to make some advice that was relatable and obviously my own opinion. People can have different opinions, but I think the most rewarding thing about doing the book was going on book tour and meeting people who had read it, and having teenage girls or girls in their early twenties come up to me and say thank you, because they haven’t had someone encouraging them or empowering them to take a different route, that was really cool to hear. That was the goal, but to see it come to fruition is pretty cool.

Charmaine:  You know my daughter would probably love this book, she’s seventeen. It’s perfect for teenagers absolutely and early twenties, but hey, I’m in my mid thirties and I found it good. You know I picked some things out of there and thought, why am I not doing that. So even though you are targeting early twenties, there are still people out there that are older who will benefit.

Kimberley: I think so too, I think it would just be too bold of me to go this book is for everyone and everyone will get something from it. I did try and make it a lot of questions in the book and make it about the read, so I feel like the way I formatted it the goal is to have you start to question the things that you the reader are doing or your behaviour too and stuff like that.

Charmaine: One of the things that really stood out is, your family is a huge part of who you are and support and they always have been.

Kimberley: Yeah, I have been very blessed in that respect and I definitely don’t take it for granted. I can be a brat at times but I usually come around or if it last very long I usually get told off.  I am really really lucky and to be pursuing something that I’m pursuing that has so many ups and downs, to know that I have the support of my family is really cool and I’m very very lucky for that. I can’t imagine doing this without having a team in the corner. I feel that what I’m pursuing is definitely a team sport and it should be too. It’s not something anyone should be doing on their own.

Charmaine: So what are your plans now, you’re in LA, what are you doing right now at the moment?

Kimberley: I just finished shooting a couple of TV shows that will come out in New Zealand. One is called the ‘The young and hungry’ it’s an ABC family sitcom. The other one is called ‘Kevin from work’ which will also be out in New Zealand on demand in a couple of weeks. I just did a movie that premiered in New Zealand called ‘Deathgasm’ which was awesome and I’m about to go and shoot my first big US feature which is about the Green Bay Packers, which is a football team out here. Then I’m coming back to New Zealand to shoot a new TV3 show at the end of the year.

Charmaine: So how do you find juggling LA work and New Zealand work? Where ever you are you just go?

Kimberley: Kind of, I mean it’s tough. You’re always trying, the goal is to be a working actor all the time and I’m very lucky that I have work and have been working. But you really don’t have a schedule, I couldn’t tell you what tomorrow looks like, I have an idea but that could all change. I could be told I have this audition here and I have to be there. It’s hard when you’re trying to live in two countries as well. So I don’t know how I’m doing it, it’s just kind of happening. But if there are ever scheduling conflicts, in my mind that’s a good problem to have, I’d rather have that problem than not working.

Charmaine: You just have to be able to go with the flow obviously.

Kimberley: I feel there are parts of my personality that’s really cool with that but then I’m quite type A by nature, I need to be doing something, I need to be busy, even working on Shortland Street, I knew I would be working Monday to Friday and you have a kind of a schedule or rough thing in your mind. So to be able to go from that to someone could ask you to move to London tomorrow, you have to be able to go. I think that’s been testing for me and my personality. That has a toll on relationships and friendships, so it’s definitely a big sacrifice, I’m getting a lot better at it but there’s been a few panic freak outs. But you know what, it’s fine, I’m very good at packing, I can pack a suitcase in under five minutes and good to go.

Charmaine: So how is the acting different from New Zealand to LA? And the people that you deal with and work with?

Kimberley: I’ve been very lucky with everyone that I’ve worked with. I’ve been a working actor for almost a decade now. Everyone has been pretty cool and I think that true for America and true for New Zealand. The difference here is that there’s just more people and your crew is bigger, there’s more people, there’s more food here. Make it on a bigger scale because they have bigger budgets. The work is the same, you still have to put in 110% or you’re very replaceable.

Charmaine: Is there anything you do every day to look after yourself or to keep focused?

Kimberley: Im in school everyday with acting so. I do comedy school and I do stand up and then I do my acting class and I do private coaching on all my auditions.  Im keeping my approach to acting is kind of like an athlete mentality so if an audition is the olympics, I can’t just go to the Olympics and expect to win. I have to be warming up and training every day if I want to compete and win is ultimately what I’m doing is very very competitive. If I don’t practice or I don’t pick up a script or I’m not reading a script everyday then I’m not giving myself the best shot. There are a lot of different elements to practicing, whether it’s rehearsing with people or writing stuff or accent work. But I make sure I’m doing something every day.

Charmaine: So what about you and yourself personally and at home, any little rituals you have?

Kimberley: I eat so badly, I can’t lie to you. I sleep a lot. I try and get a good night sleep. I’m not a night person, I’m definitely a morning person. So I’m up everyday but I do try and get eight hours sleep a night because I know I’m not the best version of myself if I don’t sleep. I think at the moment just trying to really ground myself, my spirituality, my beliefs system and trying to make that a big part of my every day. Because what I’m finding it’s not healthy for me to go up and down with the ups and downs of Hollywood, so I’m really trying to find a bit of neutral. So when things go good or when things go bad I have that foundation to come back to, but it is tough because you could get a roll and it can get take from you, you book a show and it doesn’t go ahead. All these things you’re putting everything in to being here and everything into your career, time and money and so when you have a win it’s hard to not be like…Oh my gosh, it’s going to do this, it’s going to do that, and then it gets taken away. You’re heart broken. I’m an easily excitable person so when things go well I get really excited.

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