There are a lot of social issues I care about. If I had to choose one it would be to start a group that allows a safe space for women to see the best in themselves and in other women. I spent most of my life being bullied by other women and being told I am not capable, by other women. I believe we can be better than that. As an oppressed group in society it can be hard for us to support others who are having “greater” success. We are taught from a young age that only X number of women can get to the top of a field of study. Therefore we have to push others out of the way so we can get our piece of the pie. WRONG! Women truly can rule the world, but we are only going to do it by lifting each other up, and supporting our success’ and failures with equal open-mindedness. We have been conditioned to think only of ourselves so we can get to the top of whatever field holds our interest. I think there is a better way. The more inclusive and supportive we are the stronger we will be.
I had the pleasure to interview Kristina Miller-Weston. Kristina is a bi-costal actor, originally from Scottsdale, AZ. Her career has taken her all around the world but is currently taking LA by storm. Tours: Teresa in Barbie, Live!, Female Swing in Jersey Boys. Regional: Mrs. Wormwood in “Matilda”, Queenie in “Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party”, Josephine in “Big Fish”, Jane Russell in “Marilyn the Musical” (LV). TV/Film: Nanny Surveillance (Lifetime), Murder Among Friends (TruTV), In The Closet (Award Nominated at NoHo CineFest) Upcoming: OUT LOUD (Kristina’s one woman show) and In Different (short). She is represented by Across the Board Talent and Chris Roe Management. Click here for information and ticket information for OUT LOUD!
Thank you so much for joining us Kristina! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was always a storyteller growing up. One of my earliest memories is of watching all the classic movie musicals with my Dad and knowing that I wanted to be like Gene Kelly. Most of my childhood was spent in a dance studio. By the time I was in High School I was dancing 40 hours a week, in addition to school. But when it came time to audition for colleges I knew I wanted to tell stories in more ways than just movement. I wanted to act. So my high school Theatre Tech teacher encouraged me to audition for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. I eventually went on to earn my BFA in Musical Theatre there. And then I started auditioning and have never looked back.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Oh man, there are so many but one that really stands out to me was when I was in South East Asia doing a tour of Barbie, Live! The Musical. An instant classic(!) But a large part of the job was all the meet and greets we got to do. And at one of these a dad sat his little girl down on my lap. I looked down and saw that her leg was covered in “Tree Bark Warts”. It’s a very painful disease that can take over the limb. She was in so much pain, but at that moment, she was sitting in the lap of her favorite Barbie, Teresa, and that was all that mattered to her. I looked in to her eyes, and it broke my heart. But I realized in that moment that THIS is why I do what I do. That moment has stuck with me everyday since and it is my anchor when I walk into a room or on to a stage. You never know who can be affected by you turning up and just simply doing your job. We allow escapism, which in today’s world is incredibly important.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Over the years I have earned the nickname of “Special K” because of my need to always want to give 120% no matter what, to always see something through to its conclusion, which often leads to me doing silly things. Like the time I was on stage dancing with a beach ball, managed to trip and fling said beach ball towards the audience. Then I proceeded chase the beach ball and just as I am about to grab it, I kicked it into the second row of the audience. Now logic states to just leave the beach ball, get back in line and keep going on with the show. But instead I didn’t hesitate and I decided to ask for it back. Thus the nickname “Special K”.
I learned to never take myself too seriously because authentic moments like that are priceless to both yourself and the audience.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am about to premiere my one-woman show OUT LOUD at The Rockwell Table and Stages! I have been work shopping it for a while and am really excited to share it! If you’re interested check out the ticket link.
I also made a conscious effort about a year ago that I have stories I want to tell, that no one else is telling, so I have been writing and producing my own work, which is always interesting, and a learning experience. And like every other actor, I am just trying to leave myself open and willing for the next challenge.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I have been blessed to work with some pretty incredible people over my career but two stand out to me.
One is Dick Van Dyke. He produced a production of Cabaret I was apart of at the Malibu Stage Company. I played one of the Kit Kat Girls and the infamous gorilla in “I Don’t Care Much”. The first rehearsal we had in front of Dick he laughed at my physical comedy as the gorilla. And I thought, “This is it, it won’t get any better. I can die happy!”
The second was this past summer. I was playing Mrs. Wormwood in a production of Matilda down in San Diego at Moonlight Stages and the little girl playing Matilda, Charity Rose, is one of the most naturally talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Her ability to just BE on stage is so unique. That entire cast was truly a once in a lifetime group. We all made each other better!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Never take yourself too seriously and when it stops being fun, get out! Show business is too hard. If it starts to feel like a chore either change your mindset or find something else you love to do because it will always be a labor of love no matter what level you get to.
It should always be fun! We get to play for a living.
The other thing I try and do, and I have to remind myself of this, is that self-love, and looking after your health and well-being is equally important to your career as going to every class and workshop. Sometimes a well place lazy weekend, or random Thursday afternoon in the park can be just what my mind needs, and in turn what my career needs.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
There are a lot of social issues I care about. If I had to choose one it would be to start a group that allows a safe space for women to see the best in themselves and in other women. I spent most of my life being bullied by other women and being told I am not capable, by other women. I believe we can be better than that. As an oppressed group in society it can be hard for us to support others who are having “greater” success. We are taught from a young age that only X number of women can get to the top of a field of study. Therefore we have to push others out of the way so we can get our piece of the pie. WRONG! Women truly can rule the world, but we are only going to do it by lifting each other up, and supporting our success’ and failures with equal open-mindedness.
We have been conditioned to think only of ourselves so we can get to the top of whatever field holds our interest.
I think there is a better way. The more inclusive and supportive we are the stronger we will be.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I would like to preface this section with, I’m pretty sure these were all said to me early on I just wasn’t ready to hear them at the time.
- “Stop trying to please the ‘room’” I spent a good chunk of my career trying to give the proverbial “them” what they want, without ever really truly knowing what that was. That gets you nowhere accept unhappy. You can’t please everyone and you won’t be everybody’s cup of tea but when you find those who love what you bring to the table you will be in that sweet spot that we all strive for. So keep being you!
- “You can only compete with yourself,” Tell me I can’t do something and I will prove you wrong! That is the type of person I am and it’s a strong motivator in this world but don’t let that word “prove” fuel your desire. Make sure at the end of the day that the fire that is lit by someone telling you, “You can’t”, is only stoked by the desire to be better tomorrow than you were today. It’s not about beating someone in a race.
- “Never apologize in an audition room,” You were asked to be there, you deserve to be there and no one is perfect. If you make a mistake don’t profusely apologize, just say “well, let’s try that again” Own your work. Have the confidence to fall flat on your face. Some of my best auditions have been when I have literally fallen! HA!
- “Don’t just work for work sake. If you are offered a job make sure it ticks at least two of the following boxes: A) It’s financially fulfilling B) It is artistically fulfilling or C) It will further your career in some way.” I have used this system over the last few years and it has saved me from a lot of frustration and FOMO!
- “Be nice to everyone but know you get to choose who is apart of your life. You are in control.” It can be hard in this business to separate personal and professional because apart of the professional is to get so personal BUT that doesn’t mean you have to bring those who annoy you home with you. I mean that figuratively. Leave that stuff in your trailer, dressing room or stage. When you come home BE home, not dwelling on the scene partner that pissed you off today. Ultimately they have no affect on your life!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have two favorites!
“Obstacles are Inspiration”
Life will always throw you curve balls but what shows true character is how you deal with those curve balls. The other day I had an in-person audition (Anyone in LA knows how hard those are to come by) that was for a very put together Tech Exec. Well that morning I wound up with a doctor’s appointment that left me frazzled and my hair and make-up a mess. I couldn’t let that ruin an opportunity. I called a friend, put myself back together as best I could and went in there and had a great audition. Was it the audition I prepared for? No. But that just means I got to show them something different that day!
“No one can make you feel inferior with out your consent”
This is so important and something I remind myself of daily. You are always in control. People will always be cruel but that doesn’t mean you have to allow them to change the course of your day or life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Again, it’s too hard to pick one. There have been several people who have given me a helping hand throughout the years but for me it’s the two incredible women that have helped guide me through my most formative years. My Mentor and my Mom.
My mentor, Mary Amorosia, gave me the tools to create the career I wanted to have. When I met her I had no idea who I was, how this business of show worked and certainly didn’t know how I was perceived. She was the first person to sit me down and say my image mattered, how I presented myself mattered. She also helped me develop my voice. I was told growing up that I was tone deaf and would never be a leading lady. Because of Mary and her patience I now have a 4-octave range and have spent most of my career in Musical Theatre.
And my mama. This business takes a lot of patience and tenacity and I got both of those things from her. She showed me what a power house woman looks like and I have taken that and ran with it. And still to this day she is always there helping me brainstorm on how to make the next steps.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Oh man that is hard… I think the person who I would most like to have a conversation with is Amy Sherman-Palladino. I have admired her writing for years. I lived for Gilmore Girls. Her way with words and grounding larger than life characters is inspiring. Whenever I watch one of her shows I just want to jump in and be apart of the sand box. Her characters always have depth and quirk and they just speak to my “Special K”. I would love to pick her brain on her writing process and her choices in storytelling.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Insta and Twitter is @koolbnz
Facebook is Kristina Miller-Weston
OUT LOUD tickets https://rockwell-la.com/event/kristina-out-loud/