I think that first and foremost we can’t bridge division without active engagement! We are always trying to make our films look like our life and our world. It’s a priority to us! Second, I think art often leads reality, so it’s our job to show unity and togetherness! Last it’s more than just diversity it’s about proper portrayal of characters. If we only cast Middle Eastern people as terrorists, we make it hard for people to see all the other things they are or portraying blacks as criminals etc. I have so many friends tired of auditioning for just another stereotype. I’m really excited that we make an effort to limit stereotyping and further negative imagery.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Kaiti Wallen. Kaiti started acting and modeling at a young age. She always had an interest and talent for the Arts as she is very creative. When she married Harley Wallen she realized it was a passion to pursue acting and filmmaking as Harley is an actor/filmmaker. Together Harley and Kaiti formed the production company ‘Painted Creek Productions’ in 2016. It went from passion to purpose very quickly after that. She loves the transition to becoming the character. When Kaiti isn’t acting she’s a mother and wife and a myomassologist. She loves to paint and being active.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Kaiti! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in a busy household with lots of siblings. My first encounters with Acting came early as my older sister Kelly (Who’s now a multi ward and Emmy winning filmmaker) used me for her projects before film school and during. After she moved I didn’t see a viable path in Michigan to pursue it but I started getting modeling jobs. It was not until I met my husband Harley Wallen and seeing him pursuing acting in the independent film community I started getting back into it. I got myself an acting coach and went to seminars and read books and watched as much as I could from actors I admire, now here I am!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Well first it was my sisters pursuit of being a filmmaker then seeing my husband prepare for roles and going through all his methods and putting in the work, seeing that made me want to get back to acting and do it right!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I think, it’s cheesy but getting noticed and recognized for my work. My first time I realized how motivating and inspiring I can be to others was at a Starbucks when I saw someone looking at me funny. She began to tell me how much she enjoyed watching Betrayed and even how it made her a little more conscious about her own safety. What a moment realizing what we do can mean so much!
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?
Oh this is a bit embarrassing but for my escape scene in Betrayed I was walking down a long hallway with lights going in and out and I was so in character I kept landing in the wrong spot or either going to fast.. A simple scene that should be a couple of takes somehow ended up taking me a few more tries.. I think I gave the crew a good laugh but I got it eventually!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am incredibly excited about Eternal Code coming out here this late summer. It’s such an amazing cast with incredible performances and an intriguing subject matter! Beyond that I have a busy year with a film releasing each month until the end of the year. I am also really excited about the horror movie Ash and Bone that I just recently wrapped. Every screen I have seen tells me it’s going to be incredible!
I’m very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I think that first and foremost we can’t bridge division without active engagement! We are always trying to make our films look like our life and our world. It’s a priority to us!
Second, I think art often leads reality, so it’s our job to show unity and togetherness!
Last it’s more than just diversity it’s about proper portrayal of characters. If we only cast Middle Eastern people as terrorists, we make it hard for people to see all the other things they are or portraying blacks as criminals etc. I have so many friends tired of auditioning for just another stereotype. I’m really excited that we make an effort to limit stereotyping and further negative imagery.
From your personal experience, can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address some of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
I think taking the steps we’ve done in allowing all people to play all roles not just stereotyping them is a great start.
I think calling out productions that don’t do this, casting a white person to play a real life person who was black with a white actor. I’ve seen far too many movies where a white person portray a minority and that’s just unnecessary and causes division.
I also think we can get better at learning of other cultures and I’ve always been fascinated by learning, traveling and meeting new people. I guess don’t be afraid of different!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- First off I’d say don’t listen to the critics, haters and don’t believe the hype either. Just focus on the craft and do the best you can preparing and living out each role and character you get the opportunity to portray.
- Believing in myself was another obstacle coming back to acting from a child to an adult jumping into things, it took me a while to get the confidence needed to do this.
- Bring coffee, yes it’s silly but some days on set can be long and challenging and a little caffeine never hurt anyone… I think Haha
- And this one is especially for the women, bring a pair of comfy shoes, another reminder some days on set drag on and you don’t want to get caught in heels all day.
- Read the entire script! I can’t say this enough but reading the entire script and reading it more than once is so important for your big picture as an actress!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Don’t forget how incredibly privileged we are to do this for a living! What a treat to get to live as another human being and see things and situations out of their eyes and I’ve found I learn a lot about myself doing so… It’s incredible therapy!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂
I guess in a world where suicide, drugs and hate seem to be breeding, I’d want to inspire self love because if we love ourselves we can more easily love others.
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?
My husband Harley Wallen! He’s so inspirational from his wisdom and drive. I see a man who finds a way no matter what even when no one else sees it. I see someone willing to share and give and help others at every turn. His work ethic, his talent.. I could write a book haha No but seriously, I’ve learned so much from him and all these years later I am still in awe on a regular basis. And of course my parents whose love and support has been incredible and they are both always there for me as life happens.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
‘Pain is temporary but Quitting lasts forever’. Do the work, if it doesn’t work out at least you tried. I don’t want to regret my choices in life, even if they don’t seem important to others, it is to me,
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 just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would have to say Steve Irwin’s daughter Bindi Irwin. I didn’t have a TV in my household until I was 8yrs old. It was 1998 and I watched Animal Planet every day. I loved ‘The Crocodile Hunter”!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Facebook Page: Kaiti Wallen
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
Thank you, so many great insightful questions… I appreciate you taking the time!