Kathy Christopherson: From Memorial Stadium to the Lights of Hollywood

Kathy Christopherson: From Memorial Stadium to the Lights of Hollywood

By Mike Pearson


As Kathy Christopherson displays upon the origins of her performing profession, the previous Illinois graduate and Combating Illini cheerleader sees the roots that shaped throughout her time on the College.

“I used to be closely influenced by my mom’s love for the previous basic films,” mentioned Christopherson, a former Combating Illini cheerleader from Arlington Heights. “I all the time thought my Mother (Sandra) had a classy magnificence about her and that she must be a film star. Whereas my Dad was downstairs watching a Bears recreation, my Mother and I’d, for hours and hours, watch basic film after basic film.”

“She would inform me who all of the film stars have been,” she continued. “We would snicker and we would cry. I grew to become infatuated with the fantastic thing about filmmaking, the storytelling, the way it was all put collectively, and the way it might have an effect on folks. That was most likely my very first and most deeply rooted fascination in changing into an actress.”

Christopherson’s early roles included these in a puppet present, doing voiceovers, and serving as a substitute for a stage present. In the future, Kathy’s mom observed a toddler actor coaching alternative and shortly enrolled her younger daughter.

“It was a type of ‘give us your cash, we’ll take footage, and this and that’,” Christopherson chuckled. “I believe she simply needed to see if my bug to be an actress was actual or whether or not it could simply go away. I used to be like, ‘Mother, I am into this!'”

Kathy in certainly one of her many roles

Years later, as a youngster, Kathy reluctantly accepted a dare from a buddy to enter a Chicago magnificence pageant.

“I did not need to do it as a result of I used to be such a tomboy.” she mentioned. “I could not have been much less suited to enter a pageant. Anyway, I ended up successful … which is totally hilarious!”

Christopherson was an academically gifted scholar at John Hersey Excessive College and initially supposed to turn out to be a Texas Longhorn in Austin.

“I checked out going to Texas as being adventurous,” Christopherson mentioned. “Then I panicked. I noticed that I did not know something about Texas, and I as a substitute determined that (the College of) Illinois was the plain alternative. It was simply far sufficient away from residence the place I might have my independence, however simply shut sufficient the place I might embrace my household.”

“I am a really artistic particular person, however I am additionally very educational,” she mentioned. “I do know that is a little bit of battle of curiosity, however that is my character. I am within the regulation, in writing, in theater, in calculus. I used to be obsessive about calculus after I acquired to Illinois. It is a bizarre factor.”

Finally, Christopherson earned her U of I bachelor’s diploma in promoting. Nonetheless, the craving to be an actress remained.

“I went to the dean, and I mentioned, look, I am doing very well in promoting, however I additionally actually like this performing factor,” she mentioned. “I need to take these programs in theater, however I’ve to meet all these literature programs. Why not let my literature necessities be fulfilled in these theater lessons the place I’ve to learn all these performs and historical past of theater and the whole lot as a substitute? Nicely, I pitched it and he let me do it.”

Along with changing into a theater scholar, Christopherson captained the Illini cheerleading squad. Her staff was one of many nation’s greatest stunting squads and competed on the nationwide championship.

“I grew up very athletic,” she mentioned. “I used to be a dancer, and I used to be a baseball participant, so cheerleading was form of like combining the 2. I liked being a member of the Illini squad. There have been so many thrilling video games. Even when the Illini misplaced, it was thrilling. We have been cheering for therefore many superb followers.”

Christopherson’s well-rounded expertise on the College of Illinois earned her provides from quite a few firms. But, questions remained as to what path her profession would take.

Kathy Christopherson with fiance
Kathy and fiancé Chris Stone

“I used to be like, ‘What is the lengthy recreation?'” she mentioned. “The place do I see myself with the ability to proceed to reinvent myself and keep stimulated and to take the whole lot that I’m as a human being and as a curious particular person. It was a tough choice. Two weeks after commencement, there I used to be … packing my automotive up and driving out to California (to turn out to be an actress).”

Certainly one of Christopherson’s first jobs was for a nationwide McDonald’s industrial, however her profession was stalled a bit later by a writers’ guild strike in 1988.

“When the strike ended, I did a few small roles in TV, then I started engaged on episodic tv, commercials, theater, movie, and indie (unbiased) stuff,” she mentioned.

Since then, she’s had roles in Californication (an authentic collection on SHOWTIME), American Badass, a TV episode of Lucifer, and a vastly profitable nationwide industrial collection for Expedia.

Christopherson, who primarily resides in Santa Monica, Calif., bought a farm a 12 months in the past close to Santa Clarita together with her accomplice, Chris Stone, an actor, director and set builder. Sadly, her new part-time residence was ravaged by the West Coast’s latest heavy rains and a ensuing mud slide, delaying their wedding ceremony plans. They’re nonetheless busy cleansing up the injury.

Kathy does not foresee slowing down together with her profession anytime quickly.

“As we become older, particularly for girls on this enterprise, it is actually arduous,” Christopherson mentioned. “I am simply going to struggle more durable and do no matter I’ve to do. Should you love what you do, like I do, it’s a must to work out how you can have longevity.”

Her profession may even evolve towards one other certainly one of her passionate pursuits: regulation.

“I am utterly obsessive about regulation,” she mentioned. “And it is not not like what I already do in a method, as a result of attorneys are actors, too, in a number of methods. A lawyer buddy of mine mentioned, Kathy, if ever you wanna get out of that enterprise, I’ll rent you in a second.”

Christopherson believes that her College of Illinois schooling has benefitted her properly.

“Performing is a really difficult, typically a heartbreaking enterprise,” she mentioned, “as a result of typically you aren’t getting outcomes on your arduous work and dedication. You must have a spine. And, in some ways, Illinois gave me that spine. In these 4 years, Illinois gave me the total package deal.”

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