Kirsten Vangsness
Penelope Garcia in CRIMINAL MINDS

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Birthday: July 7

Kirsten Vangsness is an award-winning actress who continues to maintain strong ties to her roots in the theater. A two-time Golden Betty Award winner, Vangsness is an acting member and past president of the artistic board for Theatre of NOTE, a critically acclaimed Hollywood theatre company. Earlier this year, she debuted the first full run of her one-woman show “Mess” to sold out audiences in Los Angeles, and continues to perform the show in various cities across the U.S. Vangsness also wrote, produced and starred in her first full-length play, “Potential Space,” in 2012, and wrote a new short play, “The Block of Thoon. She is a past winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Natalie Schafer Award for Best Emerging Comic Actress, and won a Garland Award for Best Actress for the west coast premiere of Neil LaBute’s “Fat Pig.”

Vangsness’ other television credits include “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” and “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” on the Network, “Phil of the Future” and “LAX.”

Vangsness has starred in several web series, including “Pretty the Series,” which she also produced, “Vampire Mob” and “Shelf Life.” Also, along with Isaiah Sheffer, she has read short stories on the Symphony Space/PRI program “Selected Shorts” and can be heard on the podcasts of “The Thrilling Adventure Hour.”

On the film side, Vangsness starred in the adventure comedy, “Dave Made a Maze,” which won the Audience Award for Best Narrative at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City this past January. In 2015, Vangsness executive produced and starred in the independent noir/comedy film “Kill Me Deadly” with co-stars Joe Mantegna and Shemar Moore, which premiered at the Paris Noir festival that November, and opened in theatres in April 2016. Her other film credits include the independent film “A-List,” the comedic thriller “In My Sleep, Scream of the Bikini” and “The Chicago 8.”

In September 2016, Vangsness and two business partners opened Blinking Owl Distillery, the very first craft distillery to open in Orange County. Based in Santa Ana, the distillery makes five different spirits to taste and is open for tours and tastings.

An avid soup maker and voracious pleasure seeker, Vangsness is a native Californian who is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton and resides in Los Angeles. Her birthday is July 7. Follow her on Twitter @Vangsness and on Instagram @kirstenvangsness.