Kimberley Crossman is best known to Kiwis for her role as Sophie McKay on Shortland Street, but for the past six years the bubbly actress and presenter, 30, has been working as an actress in Los Angeles.
The World Vision ambassador catches up with the Weekly to chat about life in LA, her return to New Zealand and her unfortunate Christmas plans.
Kimberley, you've been in New Zealand since May. Why did you come home?
I came back to do the show Golden Boy on TV3 and then another called Creamerie, which comes out next year on TVNZ. I wasn't intending on spending so long here. When I left California, I packed for three weeks and have been here for six months! With New Zealand being Covid-free, I've been very fortunate to have back-to-back jobs.
That's six months away from home in LA. How has that been?
I'm just grateful I've been able to work because I know Covid has been rough on a lot of people. I love working and have been quite a busy bee. I tie a lot of my validation to employment, so this year has been a good one for me. Also, I think being in a Covid-free country needs to be celebrated more.
You travel between both cities a lot, but you also visited Bihar, India, last year and met a special little girl. Tell us about that.
I got to meet my sponsor child Megha, who is super rad! She's five now and loves sports and is such a delight. It was one of the best days of my life, seeing how much has changed for women in the community in terms of hygiene and education because of World Vision. I have two pivotal moments in my life that are clearly landmarked. One is before and after visiting India, and the other is before and after visiting Jordan, where I worked in refugee camps on the border of Syria. That was the moment I really grew up and it makes me emotional talking about it now.
What's it like being an actress in LA? Is the industry receptive to Kiwis?
Yes, definitely, especially thanks to the work of Rhys Darby, Taika Waititi and KJ Apa, who are putting both New Zealanders and the Kiwi accent on the map. Rhys and Taika have a brand of comedy that's really unique, and it definitely opens the door for a few of us to walk through. In terms of being a freelancer, you take the highs with the highs and the lows with the lows. I had burnout and depression last year, which was all tied to what I do for a living.
Your podcast Pretty Depressed is about your struggles with mental health. How's that going?
I did another season of it while I was here in quarantine, which has been a real gift. It's so nice to hear from people who listened to the podcast and got something from it, especially when it's a topic I was so terrified of sharing. Pretty Depressed is extremely open and honest, and it has been really freeing and empowering, which is the stark opposite of how I was feeling about having depressive emotions and thoughts last year.
Where are you at with things now?
I've started to see my depression and anxiety as strength, and my vulnerability as something that has provided a lot of empathy and understanding to other people's situations. I feel like I'm in a good place and I've recently got better at recognising when I'm tired and starting to have spiralling thoughts, and I'll rest or distract myself. It's definitely a journey, but I'm well on the way.
How are you gearing up for Christmas?
I actually have to go out of town tomorrow for a job, so I'm running around like one of those fun headless chickens. I'll be in America for 12 days, the Covid capital of the planet, and then come back because I have more work lined up here. There's a lot of trepidation leaving a Covid-free country to go into the centre of the petri dish, but I'll do my very best to be safe and I know they're taking a lot of precautions.
It must be an exciting job you're going over for?
The show is an American pilot for ABC and Disney, and it'll hopefully be a really good, big show. I'm one of the leads and it's an awesome job, otherwise I probably wouldn't go through all this drama! Also, I have a green card and you have to enter the States every six months otherwise you lose it, so it actually worked out kind of perfectly.
Good luck on your trip and stay safe! Before you go, I'd love to hear who your ultimate tea date would be with and why?
Thank you! Oh, my gosh, it'd be my late nana Joan without a doubt! She loved cups of tea. I was very lucky because I grew up with her in the house and so she's very sorely missed. I'd want to check that she's all good and how our pets are doing up there. And I'd invite my mum because she misses her very much.