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Ep52 Transcript: Interview with Kimberley Pember
Andrea Vahl: Would you like to get into acting or writing a screenplay in midlife, but you think it’s too late? In today’s episode, I talked to Kimberly Pember, who dove back into acting in midlife, and her most recent film was with Bruce Willis. Playing his ex-wife, she’s also writing a screenplay. Listen in and get some great tips.
Intro: Hello dreamers. Welcome to the Late Starters Club, giving you the inspiration, mindset, and tools you need to start something midlife and beyond. Remember, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
Dreamers, it is your host, Andrea Vahl, and I am here with the amazing Kimberly Pember and we are going to dive all, all into acting and screenwriting today.
I’m so excited. Welcome, Kim.
Kimberley Pember: Well thank you. Thank you so much for having me. This is This is wild. I’ve never done this.
Andrea Vahl: Well, it’s so fun. So fun. I’m super excited. Well, I’ll just give people a little bit of background. Kim and I both are at the same acting studio. Babcock Studios here in Denver, run by the fabulous Todd Babcock, and give him a little shout-out there. And on Late Starters Club, I’ve been looking for people who have started something later in life having success in their midlifes and things like that.
And Kim has been doing amazing things with her acting, appearing in things like detective, let’s see, Detective Knight: Independence with Bruce Willis.
Kimberley Pember: Yep. It just dropped today. So it’s been a kind of a wild morning.
Andrea Vahl: Oh my gosh. I know. I saw your little screenshot of that. That is so cool.
You play his ex-wife, right?
Kimberley Pember: I do. I play his ex-wife and Willow Shields plays our daughter. And yeah, that was a…such a surreal event in my life. I’ve been watching him since I was younger, so it was definitely a…put a checkmark in that box.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. And you’ve appeared on other films and other projects and…
Kimberley Pember: I have. I’ve been very very fortunate in the business to be blessed with the projects that I’ve been blessed with and to meet people that I’ve met. But I just, I love telling stories and, it’s wonderful.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. That’s so cool. And now you are currently writing a screenplay?
Kimberley Pember: I am. Again, the Babcock Studios, it’s such a creative home.
Andrea Vahl: It is.
Kimberley Pember: And everyone coming there and it’s such a great community, that they share each other’s talents and influence you. It’s peer pressure, right? And so one of the students there started writing and as the studio, we’re going to try to produce it. And it just really it made me jealous a little bit, to be honest.
No, it just inspired me. And a friend of ours Kat, someone that you know, came up to me and said we should do something. And I love her spirit and I just saw her with a pantyhose over her head. I don’t know what that image came. I don’t know why it, so that was my launching point. And it’s just about sisters, you know?
Trying to deal with end-of-life things with their parents and get into a little bit of trouble.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, and it’s interesting you mentioned peer pressure and I love that because I just joined Babcock Studios, a couple years ago, right before the pandemic hit, actually our class like was split right in the middle of the pandemic, and I think it is very true. So getting around people, being inspired by people, and I never, I thought, for me, I thought, well, acting’s done right. It’s. And I didn’t, as an older woman, I was like, yeah, lots of parts. What am I going to play grandma? You know, and…
Kimberley Pember: sh we don’t talk about that.
I don’t think about those things.
Andrea Vahl: But like. But it is it is amazing when you get around a group like that is inspiring, that’s doing things. It just opens up new possibilities, I think. And
Kimberley Pember: It truly does. And you know, not even in the arts, I just think that in general, in life when you find something you’re passionate about, surrounding yourself with those people that are just as passionate, it only forces you to grow.
Andrea Vahl: Right, right, right. For sure. For sure.
So let’s see. You have been acting for a longer period. It’s not like you just started in midlife, but you’ve had some great success in midlife.
And what are some of the lessons or takeaways, the biggest lessons or takeaways that you’ve had?
Kimberley Pember: Oh goodness. Yeah, so I started acting in the little small One Act plays in our small town and did it through college and then married my husband and had kids and there was the army and there was a lot of in-between that I wasn’t working in my craft.
And so there came a point when the children were older and they were going to school, and the opportunity just presented itself. And so I must have been, well, my kids were already in school, so I’m not going to tell you my age. I’m not getting that outta me.
So I had the time and so coming back around to it, we were living in Austin and I just Googled.
I started Googling studios and then by that way, connecting with people in the Austin industry, and it’s just blossomed from there, but it’s truly about the people and putting yourself out there. Through that and with this newfound, I don’t know what to call it. Like the projects I’m on, I’m very lucky to have and I never thought I would be here.
The obstacle that I find is myself, I can get in my own way better than anybody that I know. And I think when you do that kind of late start, and something you’re passionate about, there’s that apprehension, there’s an insecurity, and surrounding yourself by people who are like-minded helps break those walls down.
You start to trust yourself a little more. . But just, and not being the overly critical of your work, which we can all do.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. That is definitely a hard thing to get through. And I think that the other thing that’s nice about working in Todd’s studio is that it’s just a muscle that you continue to build and work on, and you get so much practice and so many different roles that you get put into that you are able to let down your guard and hopefully not get in your own way. Not get in your head, but it’s still easy to do. I just…
Kimberley Pember: Oh my gosh. Oh, well, this morning, watching my right before literally walking out the door and the kids are like, mom, you your movie. You know? And so we watched that and it was a little horrifying.
A little horrifying. Cuz I’m like picking it apart, you know, and eventually, I just have to kinda take a breath and come back around to it and look at it more from a learning experience, well that worked or that didn’t. And then also it gives a good gauge on my growth. And so I just joined the studio.
Not shortly before I filmed that and I think about a year ago where I was compared to where I’m now. It’s leaps and bounds.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. It is always beneficial to recognize that growth and recognize that we can, give ourselves a little grace.
Kimberley Pember: Absolutely. And it does, it comes from the people you surround yourself with.
I give all that credit to the community and the culture that Todd has created in that studio. I’ve never experienced anything like that.
Andrea Vahl: It’s awesome. It’s awesome.
Kimberley Pember: It really is.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. So if you could, I don’t always ask this question, but you sent in your response.
If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing, what would that be?
Kimberley Pember: Not to wash my hair in Nair. When I was…
Andrea Vahl: Did that actually happen?
Kimberley Pember: It actually happened. It did. I And I, anyone out there that knows how old I was, don’t call and give me a hassle. I don’t know, a five, six. I had hair. Let’s just put it that way. And apparently, Nair used to come into a pearl bottle and, you know, I’m just sitting there in my hot, you know, baby pink bathtub was, you know, 1970s just pouring that bottle, the whole thing in. And my mother said when she walked in, because it has that smell, that the smell hit her and she grabbed my ponytail and pulled and the whole ponytail…
Yeah lots of people thought I was a boy for a long time. Someone at SeaWorld. Actually, they asked for a girl. I raised my hand. They said they want a boy. They want a girl, you know? I can’t remember it, but. You know, the story basically is, it’s traumatizing, truly, for sure.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I had the, I know I had the Dorothy Hamel haircut, which didn’t really work on me, so I got called son, you know … yeah.
Kimberley Pember: Well, yeah, and that was, yeah. Nicknames are fun,
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. The other thing you mentioned about having a goal, not a man.
Kimberley Pember: Have a goal, not a man. I don’t know that we have enough time for me to flush all that out.
No, I, and I don’t mean to stereotype. This is my experience growing up in a small town and I did grow up on a ranch and there was just this, I don’t know, idea that I would marry someone local and I would come back, and live in the town and raise a family there. That’s really for a long time was just this is what’s going to happen to me.
And luckily some events happened when I was younger that, you know, obviously the path has changed, but, I struggled with it even in college, feeling like I didn’t have my own identity, that I had to be with someone, that I couldn’t stand on my own two feet.
And if I could go back, I would definitely tell myself, your feet are there. You just gotta get your butt outta the chair.
I love my life and things like that. I just wish I would’ve been a little more independent, a little more trusting in myself.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Well, the programming, I think, is challenging to get through. When we’ve been programmed from a young age that, our role is being married, being a family, traditional life, whatever that can be. And I think doing something like acting or screenwriting is way outside that box. And so it’s hard to, it’s hard to break free. Yeah. So I’m glad you did.
Kimberley Pember: Yeah, me too. And, Again, it’s about the people that are around you without the support of my family and my mentors and my teachers over the years. Saying, you can do this. , you’ve got it. You just gotta keep walking forward. Take that next step.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. And let’s dive into some of your biggest mentors and teachers. I think you said your dad was one of one of them.
Kimberley Pember: Yeah. My dad, he’s a cowboy boots, you know, doesn’t go anywhere without him and his hat, even to the Beach. He’s one of those guys. He’s just very he’s always been patient and supportive. He has read everything I’ve written, bless his heart, over the last couple of months. And a, and an empathy too for nature and relationships and things of that nature.
He’s just, Yep. He’s on that pedestal pretty high.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Yep.
And yeah and definitely I think you said also your children are one of your greatest influencers.
Kimberley Pember: Yes. Paying for my raising right now for sure, no, my children are amazing. And it’s cool right now that they’re 13 and 16 and really finding their path their own way of things. . And it’s really interesting to watch. Very different. The younger is doing the acting thing and is involved with that, but, you know, plays the violin and write stories and all that.
And then the older one skateboards and hangs out with his friend and takes pictures. So it’s just nice to see them becoming well-rounded and there’s always kids over here, so they tell the best stories too. So mostly I’m just sitting back there recording their conversations, getting in a screenplay,
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, totally. Totally.
Kimberley Pember: I’m, I don’t mean that children.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s awesome. That’s awesome.
So let’s talk a little bit about how you’ve dove into the writing and what kinds of things have been motivating you for writing a screenplay versus doing the acting. And what are some of the ways that you push through things like writer’s block or you know, things like that.
Kimberley Pember: Yeah. So like I mentioned earlier, Kat planted the seed and it just happened. It really did. It just, I just sat down and just went with that thought, and then it just flowed out after that.
And the other side of it, probably more so than just for my creative brain or my creative self, is in the studio, we have a lot of young actors and it’s really hard to get an agent, and that’s really your first step. If you want to get into some better roles and some more meatier stuff, right? But you gotta have a reel, you gotta have your headshot, you got to have a voice audio, the, you know, the stuff to self-tape at home.
It’s a lot. It’s truly a lot of money. And usually, you’re trying, you’re just out there auditioning and just trying to get something. And then if you do film something, you gotta wait for it to get back to you. And so my thought was, if we could, if we have enough talent in that studio to just write short scenes that we can film for these kids’ reels it would be short, sweet.
And then they would have something to move on to that next step. And I have enough little stories that I could type it out and it would take, you know, five minutes and we could film it and they would have something. So that was the other side of it is I saw it as a need and something fun to bring the community together.
The biggest thing when I can’t think of anything is I usually just go do a puzzle or watch some tv or if it’s a character, or I’ll try to find some examples of film clips that have that kind of character in it. To just see, And then sometimes I just go take a nap.
Maybe more than sometimes, but
Andrea Vahl: That’s probably my favorite. Right. Working from home like the bed is just right over there, you know.
Kimberley Pember: Oh, I know. You’re like, ugh. Right, right. And yeah, and keeping the motivation too of. You know, so I do. I try to at least sit down at it for 10 minutes and, see what spills out
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. And then on the acting side, you know, you’ve got an agent, you’re represented, but it is really, truly up to you to go out and be finding things, right? The agent might bring some things to you, but you’re the one who’s responsible in more of that.
Kimberley Pember: Right. Yeah. When you’re first starting out, for sure, there are websites that will be posting jobs and stuff. Some of them pay, some of them don’t. And so you have to just decide like how far are you willing to go to get what you want, right? So, when I first started, I did a lot of stuff that didn’t pay.
I did a lot of university films for their finals and just anything to get something. Right, right. But now we can just tape it ourselves. Take to that phone and go outside and do it yourselves. You don’t have to wait on anybody anymore.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. That is the cool thing is that it, there’s a lot more available in terms of the way, you know, the quality of the way things can look even when you’re doing it.
Kimberley Pember: And I do think that, you know, that we talked about getting in our own way. It’s just, it’s, everybody’s probably had this idea. It’s just taking that first step and making it happen, right?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. That is a scary thing. It’s amazing how many people say, yeah, I’m going to do that someday, or I want to do that, or, you know, but they’re just not doing it.
Here’s a good question. How has your view of aging changed over your life? Especially in this world, I think it’s harder for women who are in their midlife in the acting industry.
But how has that changed for you?
Kimberley Pember: Ooh, it’s, this is a good question. Tell you what my first thought was. So I turned, I did, I turned 45 this past December. And I didn’t think it would hit me as hard as it did. But it really, it whacks me across the face. You know, like standing outside in my backyard over my fire pit, you know, that kind of am I going to do the next 45 years?
Andrea Vahl: It’s funny cuz I have a harder time at the fives a lot of time too cuz it feels like I’m just that much closer to the next big one.
Kimberley Pember: Right. You know, and I’m just like, Ooh. And, you know, it caused me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of like where is my family?
And amongst all of this, where do I fit in? Because I everybody’s doing their own thing. My husband has his medical practice that he works for in Texas, and he travels a lot. My son is off with his friends and photography. You know, they each have their, they’re doing their thing. And it woke me up.
I’m like, you know what? I can do my thing. And not feel guilty about it anymore. . Because even if I booked a role, I would be so happy, but I would feel so guilty that I would’ve to leave my husband and leave the kids and, you know, thinking that they couldn’t take care of themselves cuz mom’s not there.
Andrea Vahl: we do a lot as moms.
Kimberley Pember: We do. And letting go of those those responsibilities, it’s been. It’s been interesting. , I’ll say that.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, definitely. My kids are 17 and 20 and I definitely feel it was a big shift as they hit their teens and all of a sudden they started to be gone a little bit more, started to have their own activities. I didn’t even really know about as much anymore. I used to. You know, you’re used to knowing every single minute of their day, and then
Kimberley Pember: Oh yeah.
Andrea Vahl: They get a little older. You’re like, well, I don’t, you know, they’re on their own a little more. And you know, and it’s time to, that is of the nice time.
It’s time to get back to discovering who we are and,
Kimberley Pember: yeah, exactly. And there’s an, you know, and almost an, I told my husband this an acceptance of. Who I am. There, you know, for, I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it always felt like I was always pushing against myself again, getting my own way, like it, you know, I have to do this, right, I gotta do this. Or I, you know, there was just a ownership of myself, of okay, this is who I am now, and. I’m not in a place where I feel judged or feel like I have to be anybody else or behave in a different way. There’s just a, I don’t know. It was just a weird thing.
I just kept saying, oh yeah, this is me. This is my body. This is…
Andrea Vahl: Right.
Well, I’m telling you, I am turning 53 next week and I thought the fifties were going to be terrible. I was like, you know, people say stuff like, oh, the fifties are great. And I was like, that is a bunch of crap right there.
But I really am loving the fifties. So I think it is, again, just a lot of letting go of that judgment and
Kimberley Pember: yeah. And I guess the word identity just popped in my head while you were talking. It’s I finally like I don’t know, there was like, this is who I, my identity, like I claimed it, right?
, I’m not Sean and Brynn’s mom, which I am, but. Right. You know, being, and then knowing how passionate I am about the acting and telling stories. I don’t know, it just felt like I finally put on a final piece of my own skin. That’s awesome. That makes any sense.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. No, that’s great.
I love that. I love that. So what is an assumption that a lot of people have about you that is wrong?
Kimberley Pember: Well, I’ve been told. That I am very intimidating.
Andrea Vahl: That’s interesting.
Kimberley Pember: People, mostly when I’m on set and I’m like, well, because I’m actually scared outta my pajamas. But yeah, people have said that we, I didn’t know how to take you because you look like you are not nice.
Andrea Vahl: Oh my gosh, that’s crazy.
Kimberley Pember: I know. Oh my, okay. Like I’m usually just in my head.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, it’s funny because I think sometimes I can come, I think when I’m in a situation, I’m pretty outgoing normally, and when in a new situation, I just shut up and look around and don’t say anything. And I think people think I might be standoffish or something like that, but I’m just like, I’m really just shaking over here quietly.
Kimberley Pember: Exactly. Exactly.
Yeah. That’s been one. I don’t know any other, maybe I think people think maybe I’m healthier than I am.
Andrea Vahl: Well you do. I will also let people know, one of your a side gig, cuz you’re really full-time actress, but also you teach workout, is that right? You teach?
Kimberley Pember: Yeah, so I’m a certified group instructor. . For Mecca Studios here in Boulder and in Louisville.
Yeah. I’ve been doing fitness for a long time. That was when the kids were younger I had my own business in East Texas and so it’s just I’ve always been athletic and . . Healthy . . . But it’s a good way to, you know, I love the members. I love to see people change and grow and it’s a way for me to get out and meet people too. Because we’ve only lived here for a couple of years and
Andrea Vahl: Right. Yeah, it is nice.
Yeah, no, it is good to have something grounding in that way, so that’s good. Good.
I’d love to get your thoughts, you talked about some of the sites that you go to looking for acting gigs and I’d love to give some resources out for people.
Where are your favorite places to watch for acting jobs?
Kimberley Pember: Oh, sure. Backstage.com is a very common one, and they have, anybody can post a job there. If there’s, I think you can get a free account. You just put your pictures on there, whatever you have. actors access.com is also another one, and it’s broken up by regions, so you can search different places.
And then also it’s just on Facebook and Instagram. Try to join, casting director’s websites Colorado media and film things of that nature. And then just find a studio that you love and practice. And surround yourself with people that love what they do.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. So you had a studio when you were at a studio when you were in Austin. Were at, both at Babcock Studios who offers they offer different nights and things like that. Do most towns have studios similar to that, do you know? Or is that a thing or?
Kimberley Pember: Oh, well, I’ve lived in a lot of towns.
Right. I can tell you. And yes. I would say more than most you may have to drive. . You know? But, If there’s a school nearby or a university or a junior college or anything just, just check it out. . I know when I lived in Austin, I was at a studio there and then I did, I went over to the junior college and took a classes over there.
You know, the more exposure to different teachers. Different theories. You’ll find what works for you and you’ll be a rockstar.
Andrea Vahl: Awesome. I just realized I wanted to also quickly you talked about a couple stories and I want to talk about your oh shit moment First,
Kimberley Pember: So I was in New Mexico about to shoot Detective Knight: Independence with Bruce Willis. It was the morning of, it was the mor no, the day before. So it was morning, basically went downstairs and he’s having breakfast and I’m like, well, this is the perfect time for me to go introduce myself.
And I’m like, but I’m going to go wash my hands. I went to the bathroom, washed my hands, and there were not any towels. and there weren’t anything to dry my hands with except my yoga pants. So I just went up to him and like he grabbed my hand and I’m like, I promise they’re clean. I’m sorry they’re wet.
He was like, hi, I’m Kimberly, I’m your ex-wife. Of course, he’s got like his entourage there and they’re like ex-wife. That’s awesome. He’s adorable and kind and
Andrea Vahl: that’s so cool. Very cool. Very cool. And then talk about your pivotal moment.
Kimberley Pember: Oh, yeah, sure. Yeah.
Yeah. So my first film was Pasture the first one I ever booked. And we were shooting down in San Antonio. We were in that area and at the time I had just started back into acting. Was struggling a little bit with my confidence. And just life in general was yucky. Right. And with anything that you start fresh. Right? Whether you, you’ve never done it before or whether you have, and it’s been a long time. So it was just a little bit of a rough giddy up, let’s just say. I was on this shoot if you, there were, you know, drinking, I was drinking a little bit more than probably I should have.
Just trying to squelch. that doubt in the security, right? So a little too much into the bottle. And I met this actress on set. Abigail Rose, she played the lead and she was she was the only one not drinking. And we started talking and she shared with me, she said, you know, I, I used to drink a lot.
And she’s and then I decided what was it doing for me? How was it serving me and my passion, which was acting and it wasn’t, and it really hit me hard. . Here I was returning to something that I, that was near and dear to my heart and numbing the very instrument that I needed to do that job. And you know, we hear stories about it all the time and other entertainers in the world, you know, coming out of rehab and starting over and it’s a scary thing.
It is, has made a difference and the quality of my work, my confidence and it was the best thing I ever did.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. That’s awesome. And you know, I think that’s so great to commit to that and realize that it’s going to be a barrier between you and what you want to achieve and what your dreams and everything like that.
And, you know, it’s silly cuz I, I’ve been doing dry January and it really has made me realize how much it was affecting me when I didn’t think it was, I always thought, oh, I’m just doing, having a glass or two to relax or whatever. And, you know, you improved sleep, you improved focus, improved, you know, just awareness and even just, energy during the day for me.
And so it’s been a really eye-opening thing for me. Just this past three weeks,
Kimberley Pember: exactly. And it’s, you know, everything in moderation. But, you know, you have to make that, you have to be able to, ID oh. This is in my way. It’s not me. It’s this. And so you have to make a decision.
What’s more important? And you know, and then again, everything in moderation. But, that was, for me, that was just eyeopening and it really did push me back into, okay, what is the goal and what is the focus? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Right?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. Yeah. I love it. I love it. Well, Kim, we are we are coming to the end of our time, but I always like to have people share one of their favorite quotes or inspirational things with us here. And what would you like to, what quote would you like to share? Inspire us.
Kimberley Pember: Yeah. I have a couple, but the one that I tend to lean on the most is it’s the YES theory at the studio we have Yes and the yes theory is a theory that like, if you don’t ask. You don’t know, right? And so you can there’s a group, I think they’re on YouTube called the Yes Theory. And this is my son shared it with me. So this is where I got it. It’s total rip-off. But I appreciate you guys because I live by your YouTube channel.
Anyway, so it’s like finding an agent if you don’t ask. Then you don’t know. And if you ask and they tell you no, what have you lost but some time? But if they tell you yes, it’s a whole new door, they just open. So anytime I’m afraid, just go, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. It’s awesome. That is awesome. I love it. I’m a huge yes and person as well, so that’s great. But I like that frame of it, you know, for sure. Well, Kim, it’s been just a delight having you on. So fun. And hopefully, I will see you at the studio sometime. We, yeah.
Kimberley Pember: Oh my gosh. Thank you so much, Andrea.
This has been fun. And
Andrea Vahl: yeah. And we’ll post the link to your IMDB credit or your IMDB page. And is that the best place people can find you?
Kimberley Pember: Yeah.
And yep. And it’s spelled l e y, Kimberley. I have that, that Southern Long vow sound at the end. Kimberley. So when Mama calls you that you come running
Andrea Vahl: Well, I love it. Well, thank you for sharing with our listeners and everything. It’s been just a pleasure talking to you and
Kimberley Pember: well, thank you so much. Okay.
Andrea Vahl: Bye everyone.
Kimberley Pember: Thank you. Bye everyone.
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