Pop-Culturalist Chats with Kristen Gutoskie
Strong female characters are the backbone to any great story. They’re crafted in the writers’ rooms and brought to life by the talented and gifted leading women who pour their hearts and souls into each performance. Kristen Gutoskie is one of these actresses. She’s portrayed everything from a siren on The Vampire Diaries to a grade school teacher and single mother trying to survive a deadly epidemic in Containment. Currently, she’s stepping into the shoes of Pembrooke, a career-driven woman living in New York City who’s trying to navigate the ins and outs of dating in the digital era, on the breakout Verizon’s go90 hit, Relationship Status. Pop-Culturalist had the pleasure of speaking with Kristen about the role, why it’s important to always be authentic (especially in the digital age), and what drew her to this project.
P-C: Tell us about Relationship Status and your character on the show.
Kristen: Relationship Status is a show about navigating dating in the digital age. It follows a group of intertwined millennials who are connected through the grape vine, similar to Love Actually, who are looking for love or are in love and trying to understand relational communication in this new universe of dating apps and emoji flirting. I play Pembrooke, a successful career woman living in New York with her bestie Maggie (Christine Ko). In season one, she had her heart broken by Church (Brant Daugherty). She has now healed her proverbial wounds and is back in the dating game, ready to mingle but almost mingled out from the abundance of dating app dates not going her way, until she meets Nate (Kendrick Sampson).
P-C: What drew you to this project?
Kristen: I really loved the people involved. Season one producer, Laura Terry, brought the project to me and I liked it right away. Celine Geiger, the writer/creator, is brilliant with a pen and captured really relatable life circumstances and wrote about them. Also each season, the directors have been female and we also had a female DP in season two. I think having such strong female driven and written stories, as well as hilarious tongue and cheek dialogue, was what drew me in most. Also, I was excited to get to work with Milo Ventigmilia and his team, as I have followed his career for some time, he is a fantastic producer and actor.
P-C: How has Pembrooke changed from season one?
Kristen: Her heart is on the mend from her breakup with Church and she is feeling confident and in her skin. She is getting a little jaded from the New York dating scene however, and definitely isn’t afraid to say it. I think she has sharpened her edges a bit in a good way.
P-C: At the end of the first season, we learn that Pembrooke and Church choose to end their relationship in order to pursue their careers. What advice would you give to someone in a similar situation?
Kristen: I think every scenario is different so I can’t really offer much advice outside of follow your heart and your gut and things will play out how they are meant to. If a relationship is built to last it will, distance/career or not.
P-C: The series explores the complexities of many different relationships. Besides Pembrooke, has there been another storyline that’s resonated with you and why?
Kristen: I really enjoyed Abraham Lim’s storyline this season. It was exciting to watch him fall in love but also battle the human insecurities we all have when putting our hearts on the line, and admitting to making mistakes because of it. He really brought that character to life in such a beautiful and vulnerable, yet sassy way.
P-C: What advice would you give to someone trying to navigate relationships in the digital era?
Kristen: Don’t take things so seriously. Don’t overanalyze every emoji or text message, and try to get out more and meet people in the real world. Even if on a dating app, which can be successful, go explore with your dates, and be yourself rather than hiding behind a filter, metaphorical or not.
P-C: Relationship Status was the most-viewed original series on Verizon’s go90 last year, can you talk about how the show has adapted for a millennial audience, both in terms of the storyline, consumption, and education?
Kristen: I think the series speaks to a younger audience this season with our college characters, which is great. That is the generation most immersed in the digital world, they have had it all throughout adolescence, so I think it is helpful to them. I think it can help educate them in that it gives them the knowledge they are not alone in this interesting time where our communication media has changed drastically. Everyone is navigating it together.
P-C: Verizon’s go90 polled Tinder users on the dating topics featured in Relationship Status, which of
these stats was the most surprising for you?
Kristen: I don’t really find any of these surprising. Seems right on the mark.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Kristen: The Bachelor/ette. It’s all fluff but so addictive.
P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Kristen: Mean Girls
P-C: Favorite book?
Kristen: The Alchemist
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Kristen: I love that you asked that. Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by John Patrick Shanley. I am going to see Book of Mormon in London over the holidays though, and I have a feeling I will absolutely love it.
P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
P-C: Hidden talent?