Meet Kristine Frøseth. SBJCT spoke with Kristine as she embarks on her latest role in THE FIRST LADY. Get to know her take on surrendering, compassion, and approaching it all with a sense of calm. Oh, and remembering to treat your thoughts like visitors. Begin Again with Kristine, and read on below…
BY ERIN WALSH
PHOTO CHRISTIAN HOGSTEDT
Erin Walsh Hello Kristine, we are so happy to get a little moment with you! Tell me a bit about your upbringing and how you ended up in this biz.
Kristine Frøseth I was born in Summit, NJ, but spent my entire upbringing moving back and forth between NJ and various places outside of Oslo, Norway. My dad’s job moved us around every 4-5 years. It was quite difficult at the time constantly adjusting to the different cultures, but looking back at it I’m very grateful for all that I got to experience.
At the age of 15 my friends and I thought it would be funny to sign up for a catwalk addition at our local mall and little did I know it would lead me into a modeling career. Which then led me to my first ever film audition which was for Looking For Alaska back when it was supposed to be made into a movie. That was the first time I had ever received sides and the first time I ever put myself on tape. It was an incredible first opportunity because I knew about the story of Alaska. I taped 3 scenes, but I also made two short movies for it because I thought that was a part of the process. The first one was a silly short of me on photo booth listening to music smoking cigarettes and doing an inner monologue, trying to tap into my inner Alaska and then I realized I wanted to create a whole short of me as Alaska and the whole concept was about grief.
I sent both to the director, Rebecca Thomas, and luckily she really responded to them or saw some potential. We exchanged emails and tapes for a few months and then I made it to the final rounds of chemistry reads. I’ll never forget what it felt like to fly out and step onto the Paramount lot and in front of all of these producers and writers. And I’ll never forget when Rebecca took me into the bathroom and we just yelled together stirring up emotions. It was truly special and I can’t thank her enough for having made my first ever audition experience so supportive and encouraging.
That whole experience is what got me my team and from there I worked my butt off trying to learn about acting. I tried to watch all the interviews on my favorite actors on how they prepped, tried to read all the books by acting coaches and learn about the various techniques while taping for auditions several times a week, just trying to get my foot in the door.
EW What were some of your goals in the beginning with an acting career that seem so far away now? What has stayed the same?
KF When I think about goals I think about them in terms of how I can personally grow, not only as an actor, but also as a human being. A lot of the things I was trying to get a hang on from the beginning are still quite relevant to me now actually. I am still always trying to embrace the chaos, letting go of things that are out of my control, reminding myself to be PATIENT and to always be kind to myself, work hard & smart and to never take things for granted.
These are the main reminders I keep repeating to myself.
Just want to leave parts of my favorite saying: accepting the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. It’s been a big one for me.
EW I would love to know more about The First Lady-tell me everything. What drew you to the project, the role, what can we expect?
KF When I was given the opportunity to tape for Betty Ford, I was all in. I had known of Betty and admired her for all that she had done during her lifetime. I was familiar with the Betty Ford Clinic and of how open she had been about her struggle with addiction. Anyone who speaks up about the truths of addiction and helps destigmatize alcohol or drug use is a hero of mine. She truly changed the way people thought of the terms alcoholic and addict/addiction; reminding people of the disease that it is and through her honesty she saved so many lives.
We need to change the perception of these labels so people don’t feel ashamed and feel more encouraged to seek help. Our Nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic and we still need to continue these conversations with honesty and with education. I deeply applaud her candor and courage to speak out about her history with these struggles and I hope her story reminds people of the conversations we need to be having.
The show does a great job of showcasing all the amazing changes these women created as well as really changing the perspective on what American leadership has looked like through their POV. I’m really excited for people to get to know their personal stories as well as all that they did for our country.
accepting the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference
EW Any lessons from filming you found you take with you into your life?
KF Oh boy, you learn and grow so much from this job I think. I think with each project I’ve learned so much about life and for my own personal growth. Either it is from the people I work with or what the characters inspire or teach me or simply from doing research for a project that opens up my mind to things I never knew about.
EW How do you go about deciding what projects to take on?
KF I try to always stay open when reading scripts and see where or how it moves within me. For me there usually needs to be either a sense of challenge, fear or a part of me that really resonates with the character or themes/message of the project. I’m very interested in why people become and behave the way they do, tapping into themes of trauma or grief especially.
Hopefully through exploring and sharing all these different lives we can all create greater compassion and understanding for one another.
And other times it’s just fun to be a part of projects that create escapism and can hopefully create some relief for people if they need it.
EW What is most helpful in the process of finding a character? And how do you go about shedding one?
KF It really depends on the projects. Sometimes I feel like there is this instant connection with the character or the world that is presented. Other times it takes more research and prep into finding the connection and if there is none, it all comes from educating myself, understanding and finding empathy for the way the character behaves.
I also create playlists for what I think the characters listen to as well as writing character diary entries. I love to write about their past and create memories for them or moments for between scenes that aren’t in the script. Additionally, writing out their personal monologues is very helpful to me.
Lastly, I like to read the scripts in various moods and many times over and over again so my subconscious has space to work on the material. It’s very interesting; I’ll be eating breakfast or doing something random and my brain will just pop up with a thought about a scene and I’ll get obsessive and explore that; a complete EUREKA moment. Allowing myself to be “bored” really fosters creativity so I set time off throughout my day to just sit and be.
Doing as much internal work or physical prep as I can so on the day when I’m on set I’m not thinking about any of it. The most important thing for me is staying open trying to receive from the environment or the actors I’m working with.
When it comes to wrapping up a project I try to take some personal time after to really reflect on the character I’ve played; making sure I take what has been helpful, but leave anything that isn’t healthy to carry with me forward.
EW What should we be expecting from you in the coming years in terms of roles? Can you give us any sneak peeks?
KF I’m always trying to push myself and trying to tap into new worlds, eras and souls.
I don’t have specific roles that I am dying to explore, it’s more about the people involved that I desperately want to work with, but until that time comes I am just going to explore as many universes as possible.
I am about to head into a 7-month production starting this June, which will be a whole new era and experience compared to other projects I’ve done. So stay tuned… 🙂
EW What helps you stay sane and tethered these days?
KF I am one who definitely needs to keep up a practice when it comes to releasing stress and for keeping sane.
It’s important for me to try to set the tone right away when I wake up. First things first, chocolate and almond butter with coffee in the morning without any influence of the outside world. My phone is off until I’ve had time to wake up, stretch a bit and meditate. Just holding off on notifications and work has made a big difference on my mood throughout the day. If I am not able to stabilize myself early I’m usually off on the emotions of anxiety and stress about a million different things.
I’m really trying to treat emotions and thoughts like visitors who are just passing through, but when I’m already on the rollercoaster I find it hard to jump off and ground myself again so I try to do all the small things before the ride kicks in.
It’s also really important for me to move my body somehow throughout the day, a little dance party or a proper workout is needed. Additionally, any chance I have at escaping to the ocean or woods is a must during my days off.
EW Any dream role you hope to come your way?
KF No dream roles, but my dream is to work with Joachim Trier, Ruben Östlund, Andrea Arnold and Paul Thomas Anderson!
I think they all have really unique ways of depicting human life and behaviors. I have watched, studied and respected every project they have all worked on. My answer would be way too long if I dove into each of the directors, but I would be so honored to ever be included in any of their projects.
EW Do you often get “pinch yourself” moments when huge opportunities come through?
KF I pinch myself constantly for having the opportunity to call this (acting) my life and my work. I am so lucky I get to pursue this passion of mine.
EW Do you consider acting or the arts as a vocation or something you were called to do?
KF Well, I don’t personally believe in predetermined destinies, but the events, experiences and random factors that have played into my life really did give me useful tools for this job I think. So one could argue all of those events played out for me so I would become an actor?
I feel really lucky in being able to call this my work; it scares the heck out of me, but I also have never felt more alive.
EW What are your thoughts on purpose- like do you see a greater meaning in your work and what you are called to do? And what else do you feel particularly called to do?
KF I hope that through various projects I choose that I’ll create some sort of connection or release for people out there. I am hoping as mentioned earlier to create more understanding for various human upbringing and behavior so we can hopefully treat each other with more love and understanding, so there is greater meaning in that for me. Growing up and moving so much I often did feel odd or lonely and so escaping into other worlds saved me and made me understand that I’m not alone.
Beyond that I really hope to create a charity or a creative platform that revolves mostly about mental health and suicide prevention.
Until I have sorted out how to execute this goal, I’m spending my time educating myself on mental health, neuroscience and addiction as well as getting involved in other suicide prevention organizations that are currently doing amazing work.
EW What or who inspires you?
KF I have always respected Marion Cotillard’s work- I’ve watched Two days, One night more times than I can count. I feel like she always pushes the limit, but does it in such a grounded way. I only hope to be as compelling, effortless and powerful like her one day. Further, Ingrid Bergman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Liv Ullman, Heath Ledger, Jon Bernthal, Juliette Binoche are other people who have inspired me a whole lot.
Nature inspires me, amazing poetry and observing people. There is inspiration everywhere you go!
EW How do you connect your spirit with your work and your day to day?
KF I try to find ways to nurture it as much as I can. Anything from finding projects that align with my value system to incorporating meditations or different mantras into my work day or every day connect me to my spirit. Being in nature is also incredibly important for me.
EW How do you like to spend your days when you aren’t working?
KF I like to move in a slow pace as my usual working days are so long and fast paced. I enjoy going for walks, listening to podcasts, doing yoga and seeing friends. If I can escape to the ocean and Surf or go to nature for a hike, I will.
EW What are some of your favorite ways to pay it forward? Any charities or causes we should know about?
KF I try and do small acts of kindness every day for both friends, family or strangers. I also do other small thing, like for birthdays I ask for donations for charities, such as NAMI, AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) or The Trevor Project instead of gifts for myself. These organizations also have great volunteer options that are easy to get into.
I also try to use running, a big passion of mine, as a way of raising money for various organizations. Last year I ran the NYC marathon to raise money for Shoe4Africa, they are doing great work by committing themselves in building the 1st children’s cancer hospital in Sub-Saharan Africa. I am hoping to continue using running or other creative ways to raise money and awareness for various projects I am passionate about.
You can always begin again
EW Do you keep anything in the way of a 5 or 10 year plan?
KF I have my North Star that I’m trying to get closer to, which is the representation of the work I want to be doing, aka working with those dream directors as mentioned above.
I would also really love to create, produce and direct myself one day, so doing the work every day to get closer to that is the plan.
EW What do you wish people would stop asking you in interviews? / What do you wish you were asked more often?
KF I like to keep my private life private, so anything to do with relationships and family I like to skip. I like sticking to the work or talking about the causes I care about like mental health awareness, suicide prevention and addiction.
EW Anything in the way of a motto you subscribe to?
KF You can always begin again is my go to motto.
EW What makes you excited about the coming year?
KF I am excited about living abroad for the rest of this year shooting. I am excited for the new people I will meet and all the challenges that will come my way. I’m really excited for people to see The First Lady and Sharp Stick. I am excited to pursue my passions of surfing and hopefully beating my Marathon time from last year.
EW What should we be eating?
KF Everyone is different, you gotta listen to your own gut and see what works for you! But I start my day off with some dark chocolate dipped in almond butter every single day. Highly recommend!
EW Book we should be reading?
1.) LOST CONNECTIONS – JOHANN HARI
2.) Behave + Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers – Robert M. Sapolsky
3.) On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous- Ocean Vuong
4.) Reality is Not What it Seems- Carlo Rovelli
5.) Born to Run – Christopher McDougall (regardless of your belief when it comes to running shoes, it’s an amazing book!) 😛
EW Tell me about the CLOTHES bit in your job- does doing the press and getting dressed up for it spark any joy? Or does it more just come with the territory. You have this incredible ease in front of the camera that I was very moved by. It reminded me that taking photos and being a part of the production should always bring forth some joy, spark some joy. I remind myself of this with the fashion bit. What do you think?
KF Thank you so much for saying that!! First of all I think everyone on our set had the most amazing and calming energy so it was a very easy to feel safe and relaxed and move in whatever way felt right. You and Christian have very supportive and easy going energies. I also think the intention as you told me behind creating SBJCT influences that as well. I totally agree and think with anything from celebrating fashion or a project that is about to release should feel exciting, fun and spark joy. However, very often it’s in such a fast-paced setting that there is no space to play or find those moments. I do always hope for that to be the case, but in tense or fast-paced environments, it usually feels too vulnerable or forced.
When it comes to my relationship with clothes, I am usually very casual on my days off. It’s important for me to be pragmatic and comfortable, I need to have the ability to be functional and get from A to Z comfortably. I am very thrilled that sneakers made such a comeback.
Because of my relaxed every day, the outfits I get to wear when I’m doing press feel 10 times more special. I have a lot of admiration for stylists; It’s amazing how they can bring out these different versions of people with all the mix & match magic. I love to experiment and explore how various pieces make me feel.
And when it comes to being on set, getting into costume is everything for me. Especially the shoes!!
when it comes to being on set, getting into costume is everything for me
EW What do you hope you would see more of in terms of features about actors? I am happy to take some constructive criticism to better things. We are all works in progress.
KF AMEN! We are all works in progress :))
I truly admire so much what SBJCT JOURNAL’s aim is and how you are interested in getting to know the people you work with and your approach in doing so.
I think just sticking to truthful and open conversations is the most important thing.
It goes a long way when the interviewer has done their research so the questions feel more unique and less generic. I love HOT ONES so much for that reason, the spice catches people off guard and you really get to see the real them. Anything that just takes people into real conversations- I’m all for!
EW What do you hope to improve this year?
KF I think everyone’s goal is to be the best versions of themselves so I’m trying to take the steps to get there this year. I also hope to improve my self-love and time management more specifically. Lastly, I’m hoping to be more active and seek out new experiences.
EW What are you most proud of thus far?
KF I’m proud of getting out of bed and trying every day to grow and be present with where I am at. I am really proud of the accomplishments I’ve made so far. Never in a million years would I think I’d have the ability or confidence to be on a set and perform and share stories.
Work-wise, I’m really proud of getting to play Alaska after a 5-year pursuit. It was always a dream of mine to play her. Getting to do it with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (the creators of the OC- my favorite show of all time) was really the icing on the cake. I’m also really proud of the two projects coming out this year (The First Lady and Sharp Stick) and the one I’m starting this June.
EW Kristine, What’s Your SBJCT? What really moves and motivates you?
KF Education and curiosity about people and the world we live in. I’d like to say my main SBJCT is surrounding mental health especially within the suicide prevention space. We are so much stronger than the darkness wants us to be and we need to support each other and find the light together.