Are you a patron of Omaha’s stage/screen, feel a loss, but not sure why? Could it be “it girl” Kirstin Kluver is that missing element? The sparkling, blue eyed, ivory-skinned, leggy red-head left Omaha for Southern California last July. The move is her return to Los Angeles from a recent stint of 7 years in in Omaha.
After winning virtually all the local acting awards, Theatre Arts Guild Award, Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award, and Omaha Community Playhouse Award, Kluver says she wants to take her career to the next level.
I became acquainted with Kirstin during the early days of LOOM, during
their dance parties at Espana. Kirstin is someone you notice in a room,
with her red hair and pretty, bright face. A sweet, free spirit, yet a tender soul who generates impulses in you to protect her, Kluver’s persona is reflective yet passionate. She is a bold performer, a sensational center-of-attention.
For example, I remember seeing her clad in a denim jumpsuit coming down the outdoor runway at a drizzly, gray, Omaha Fashion Week. She belted a light,
fresh dance ditty, commanding the diverse crowd to get up and hustle with her. Kirstin Kluver transcends circumstances and takes any crowd higher.
Recently, in LA, she has been booking commercial work, and taking a Master Scene Study class at Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio.
Kluver graduated from Creighton University with a degree in acting in
2001. When she returned to Omaha in 2007, she became a licensed massage
therapist. Versed in astrology, an avid camper/hiker, and a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, Kluver’s bag of tricks is deep, and so is she.
Check out this entry from her blog: “The lessons are not just learned in the
classroom my friends… I am blessed to have crossed paths with many
lovely individuals that are teaching me how to be graceful in navigating
the industry! Abundance flows deep… and i am amazed how people just want
to help if you are open enough to show you need it… And the older i get,
the less i fear being looked at as “silly” or “unrealistic”. And the
more authentic i approach my bliss, the more open i stay to the humility
it takes to find it.”
Kirsten was all heart, and sweetly complete in her answers to
1) Which came first for you, acting, singing or dancing? How old were
you when you had your first taste of an audience? What motivates you to
act and perform? Who ‘discovered’ your talent?
KK- I may have been a very shy little girl, but there was something magical
that happened when i stepped on to a stage… You put me in a group and i
would get quiet (still do, to this day)… but you give me a story to
tell, a task to be done, and i could walk in front of hundreds of people
and not bat an eye.
I would have to say dancing came first. I begged to be put into dance
classes, my mother and sisters still joke that they placed bets on
whether i would walk out on stage or not… but from that moment on i
couldn’t get enough. Pat Carlson’s dance studio was where i broke out of
my shell… pat, anne, susie, carol, tracey… even irene at the front desk,
taught me how the importance of preparation and dedication…so many hours
spent in that studio… hours of making mistakes, sprinkled with moments
of breakthroughs and growth; try, try and then try again… I am so very
grateful for that education. Not only the work ethic, but the vocabulary
of the body. How to articulate through movement really has shaped how i
The first time i stepped on stage for a production, bringing all the
dancing, acting and singing together, was at the elkhorn valley
community theater… my audition was SO terrible! it was in a room that
used to be a bank vault in waterloo… i remember the room was crowded
with people with their sheet music…. my girlfriend kara was going, and i
asked my mom if i could tag along… couldn’t have been older than 11 or
12… had no idea what sheet music was, but i knew the songs for “beauty
and the beast”… when it was my turn, i choked. the sweet director let me
start over several times… i left feeling foolish, but oddly proud that
at least i tried. I can still smell my childhood kitchen when i think
about answering the phone call saying i was invited to be in the chorus
There isn’t just one person that “discovered” me… it was a village of
people who cultivated confidence and skill within me. Just reflecting
back through out the years, all the people who believed in me, or took a
chance on me brings me to tears. I am still very much that shy little
girl who wants to shrink away because i am not sure i am good enough…
but i guess we all have that within us; we are all looking for
validation, all looking to be seen and heard for who we feel like
inside. I do, however, think about the list of people i’d like to thank
in my acceptance speech:) when i am talking into my mirror… scanning
back to all the directors, teachers, mentors of those who lifted me up
(and those who have broken me down… they have shaped me too)… the list
is so long, the journey so nuanced…. and i pray that the list gets
longer, and that i continue to look back, even as a playful reenactment,
to those people who have blessed my life. It makes me want to be on
that list for someone else.
I would have to say the continual uncertainty is what motivates me to
keep performing… the unending needing to trust in another human being,
that brings me back to the process… sometimes you have bad experiences
and the trust is misplaced… but always i find a greater respect for
humanity, a deeper tolerance for different points of view, and weight of
the basic human need for story telling. The community also motivates me…
so many people are needed for a production to come together. I am
fascinated by the industry and how the same people show up in the same
rooms… like attracting to like. Figuring out who i am and where i fit…
and from that point where i want to go, and how i am able to stretch and
adapt. The future of storytelling is also incredibly motivating…. we are
on the precipice in so many ways, telling stories with the technology
that we are advancing into… utilizing this tool (that a lot of people
are afraid is distancing us in human interaction), in a manner to bring
us closer together… to help us find people who are of like mind, and
maybe stumble upon something that feeds our souls in a way we never knew
whether its through dance, song or scenes… whether i am in the audience
or on the stage… performance has a way of reminding me that i am human,
and that my experience is universal. No matter how unique i like to
think i am,my struggles and my joys are miles wide and generations deep.
2) Speak about your recent move back to the coast, how have things
changed since you were last there? How are you being received? What
communities are you becoming involved in? Any mentors? What has been
most exciting about your move?
KK- I moved out to LA (again) at the beginning of august. These last 5
months have been such a whirlwind.
I am overwhelmed with the momentum i have swung in with… so i guess i am
being received pretty well… can’t tell if it is the preparation that i did before i landed, the timing of where the industry is at, or just my perspective of success… both the city itself has changed, and i am coming back with a better understanding of who i am and what i want to do.
There are so many pockets of resources and community out here… i have
been very patient with cultivating relationships that are fulfilling not
only to my career but also in life. the more i work, the more i see how
people like to work with people they like… so as opposed to walking
around with an agenda to be a good actor, i have the agenda of being a
good human being… and maybe that is helping me find some incredibly
soulful and creative people, and making me less prey to people who are
scattered and flakey…
There are a few people from my previous stay in LA that i have kept in
contact with… I just finished a master scene study with a Elizabeth
Mestnik, and i studied with her for years in the early 2000’s. She is a
woman that has cracked me open both in craft and in life, That kind of
trust and history is very valuable to me staying anchored in truth. To
be accountable in a city where it is very easy to get lost in the crowd.
3) You are truly a great beauty. Do you feel that your looks help or
hinder you in your craft? What would you like to change, if anything
about your looks? When you audition what things do you most often hear
about regarding your look?
KK- hahaha… thank you:) I have nothing to do with how i look, i have to
credit my mother and father for passing that on to me… and its really
subjective when you think about it… I went out for a commercial last
week and it was a call for “ordinary people who may be a bit quirky.”
they also wrote in the description “they can be pretty, most people
are.” … and that notation stuck with me… most people are.
I think i have a different kind of look that always pushes me up against
a wall when i go out for “pretty roles” because i am not as pretty as
some people i walk into an audition room with… and then i go out for the
“everyday” look and i don’t quite fit that either when up against the
everyday look. Which tells me, i need to stop thinking about it… and
just show up. Its not for me to decide what is “pretty” and what is
“everyday”… I just need to be honest with who i am, and comfortable in
my own skin.
I guess what i am trying to change about my looks is the way i think
about how i look. 🙂 When you walk into a room of beautiful and
“perfect” people, its hard not to scan your self and think about how you
are different, how you don’t measure up. I am in constant practice of
reminding myself that I can not be the judge of myself, i have no idea
what these casting directors want. I have no idea of what “facet of
beautiful” is what is needed in this project. And if i keep changing how
i look to what i THINK people think of as beautiful i am denying that
one moment when my special kind is what is needed. I will also deny
myself of esteem and happiness if i don’t allow myself to be in love
with the woman i am at this exact moment.
Thats the challenge of getting older in an industry where youth reigns.
How do i love myself now, and not pine for the 23 year old kirstin. To
be comfortable in my skin, now that is where beauty comes from… to know
myself, and to own myself. And to remember that if someone sees me as
pretty or as quirkey or as ugly… that is their experience. To not judge
myself for “you”; to not come up with my own conclusion of how “you”
view me… So everyday, I try to embrace who i am right now; not what i
will be in a year, and not try to be who i was two years ago. and i work
But It is funny, people have very strong opinions about redheads.
hehehe… and more often than not when they tell me i look like someone i
wonder if it is only because of the color of my hair. And people tell me
that i have a “good look”. I always wonder, what does that mean? and it
makes me super curious for when i find where this “look” fits. This
industry is kind of like a puzzle. I am this piece. if i know my edges,
i can find the place i fit. even better? I know that if i DON’T fit, it
has nothing to do with who i am as a person, its just not my place… and
i keep searching for that space where it clicks. that is the sweet spot.
that is when my goals and your goals line up and everyone wins.
4) What sort of roles do you hope you are performing in the future? Who
are the actors you admire most at this time and why? In which area would you like to improve the most? What are you most proud of regarding your craft?
KK- I am so excited to dive into Episodic and Theatrical work! these
first 5 months have been about commercial work… feeling out the industry
and getting my groove in those audition rooms. Commercials are in
production constantly… and the turn around is so quick. I like to think
of them as little 30 second movies:) I have been lucky enough to land 2
national spots and a non-union commercial during this leg of my journey…
I am going out on commercial auditions every day of the work week. I
feel extremely happy to be working. My next step after the new year is
to seek out tv and film, looking for representation to assist me in
moving forward in those areas.
I would love to have a career like tilda swinton, or like amy adams. Not
so much to mimic their choices, but I think more on who i want to work
with… what film directors i would love to experience. Like David O
Russel, Susanne Bier, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, Alexander
Payne, Spike Jonze. But all of these names, all of these careers are
just like a legend on a map… i enjoy the work they have done so far, and
i want something for myself in this tone or in this quality…. but it
would be amazing to actually get to work with them!
Right now my focus of improvement is stamina. Keeping myself busy enough
so i don’t wear myself out on long projects. I want to be emotionally
available when it is needed, but not overextend myself so i am exhausted
by the time it is actually called for. every day there is something to
do. Right now, I look at each audition, each meeting as important as the
end result. Its not just about being cast, and being on set… at this
moment it is about finding grace in the in-between and enjoyment in the
I volunteer every year at the sundance film festival, and it is so
inspiring to witness what is “next”. to see work by people i have never
heard of but know i will be hearing of in the years to come. I think
that is important with how the industry is shifting with technology to
keep a soft focus. Not to be so specific that i miss a really
interesting opportunity, but not so open that i am looking in the wrong
direction. I think working with a big studio would be an amazing
experience, but i don’t have to wait around for someone to take a risk
in casting me in order to be a part of an amazing project. The tools to
create high production value are so accessible, and some really
interesting thoughts and stories are being articulated outside of big
budgets. For example, I shot a web series down in Kansas City called
“Kill em All”, and Jesse Pringle (the producer and writer) has expanded
his project by getting investors in Los Angeles to start their own
franchise “Kill em All: LA” to branch off of the main story line… we
also went to the LA WebFest in 2014 and swept the awards with “KEA” and
ended up catching the attention of some european producers who have
picked up the Kansas City version to be syndicated over in France…. the
world is getting smaller and smaller…
5) Look to the future. What goals do you have short and long term? How
can your fans best access you and your work?
KK- My short term goals are to start doing more narrative work. And I would love to find a live performance outlet! I miss the work I was doing with the BlueBarn and with Aetheroplough…. it would be good to get on stage again. My long term goals include finding a way to bridge my present with my past; either finding a project that i can take back to the midwest, or maybe one day producing my own project and bring a few of my favorite collaborators in omaha to the west coast to work with me…. I would love to be more mobile in my career, having to travel for work would be a dream… i don’t have much tying me down (other than 2 adorable kittens:)) so if an opportunity in another city was calling i would love to be able
to be where the work is. my website is kirstenkluver.com, I try to post seasonally what i have been working on… and there is always IMDB where you can find a projects i have worked on in the past.