Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
Words Pisha Warden
Images Michael Edwards
Hey MIMP readers! Would you rather see a pictorial featuring a beautiful blonde bookworm, a Swedish-Canadian nature enthusiast, or a gorgeous girl-next-door with werewolf blood coursing her veins?
That’s a trick question. Meet Kristen Hager, who is all of the above. You may recognize her as her werewolf counterpart, Nora, on the SyFy Network series, Being Human, or from her numerous other TV appearances and feature films, which include Wanted (with Angelina Jolie) and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. You can also see her later this year in the romantic comedy, Right Kind Of Wrong, where she stars alongside Ryan Kwanten (of True Blood fame).
Kristen and I spoke recently at the end of a long day (she’s currently shooting an indie feature in which she plays a heroine addict, but more on that later). When we spoke, I immediately noticed a couple of things about Kristen—most notably that she is incredibly gracious and easy to speak with, and that she has the sexiest laugh.
When she’s not busy fighting the vampire or alien hoards, Kristen can be found cozying up at home with a cup of tea and a good book or getting physical in the great outdoors. But as the Bossman here at MIMP always says, that’s enough from me. Kristen Hager, tell it like it is and show us what you’ve got! ;)
What was it like shooting for Me In My Place?
It was great! It’s funny that it’s “Me In My Place” because it was me in a hotel room, a much more glamorized version of my life. People are going to think that I have a really swanky bedroom! But I was in New York for the weekend doing press for Being Human. It worked out perfectly that I was able to do it there. It was fun, and a very unique way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Even though you weren’t in your place, did anything make it feel like home?
Yeah, I had a couple of my favorite sweaters. I’m definitely someone who as soon as I arrive in my house, I put on comfortable clothes, like a big sweater and sweatpants. (She giggles.) I just like to be comfortable! I had all of that stuff with me, fortunately, so I did feel very at home.
What are you most excited or most nervous about regarding your MIMP shoot?
It’s a vulnerable place to be, having someone photograph you in your underwear. I’m nervous to be so exposed, if you will. And I haven’t seen any of the shots, so I’m excited about seeing them!
Can you describe the SyFy Network show you’re on, Being Human, for our readers?
The one-line premise is a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost all live together in the same apartment. It sounds like the start of a joke or something, but it’s great so I use it! It’s basically about their struggles to maintain an identity and any semblance of humanity that they can while dealing with these crazy afflictions. And the whole reason that it’s called Being Human (and why I think the show is successful) is that as much as it’s about these science fictional elements, you can take those things away and it would just be about these human beings. Their afflictions are metaphors for very human problems, and I think that’s why people can really relate to the show.
I found a surprising amount of Being Human fan fiction on the internet, as well as a myriad of other fan sites dedicated to the show. Are you aware of how hardcore the fans are?
Absolutely, simply because of Twitter. (Her handle is @Kristen_Hager, btw.) I was a latecomer to the Twitter world and I did it because of the show. It’s a great way to interact with fans; it’s really nice to be able to answer questions, et cetera, and through that world I’ve really come to see just how many people watch the show, and—just like you say—how hardcore the sci-fi fans can be. At the moment on the show, Nora and Aiden are really butting heads. So I’ve been getting a lot of angry tweets from fans who are not happy with my character at the moment, for challenging their precious vampire!
When you joined the cast of Being Human, did you know that Nora would eventually become a werewolf?
No, I didn’t! I was familiar with the BBC version of the show, but in the first season I chose to not watch it because I knew that the American creators really wanted to create their own voice and make the show unique. I knew that my character was based off of this British character and I knew that her character did become a werewolf. But I had no idea whether or not they were going to follow that storyline for all of season one. At the end of season one I was scratched [by a werewolf], and I still didn’t know if I would heal or if I would turn into a werewolf. It wasn’t until I got the first script for season two that I discovered that sure enough, I’m infected! It was a big surprise to me.
You’re on a sci-fi tv show, you’re part of the Alien Vs. Predator franchise, and you made a hilarious indie comedy last year called A Little Bit Zombie. Have you always had an affinity for sci-fi/fantasy and horror?
It’s definitely been something that sought me out as opposed to me seeking it out, and it’s been entirely coincidental that I’ve done so many things that would fall into the sci-fi/horror genre. But that being said, I love scary films! And I’ve loved science fiction stories since I was a kid, so it’s very enjoyable to do those jobs.
With all of your expertise, would you rather be stuck in an elevator with a zombie, a werewolf, a vampire, or an alien?
I’d rather be stuck in an elevator with…(she laughs quietly to herself)…a vampire. Because as dangerous as vampires are, there’s something sexy about them. It may end well for me, somehow.
Is there a classic movie creature you haven’t encountered on screen yet but would like to?
Oh boy, I’m sure there is! I was about to say ghosts, but there are ghosts on the show. But I would love to do a really scary film that involves ghosts and poltergeists. (She pauses.) You know what? I also LOVE a good alien film. And even though I did Alien Vs. Predator, I would still like to do a Fire In The Sky-type of film, you know? Like an alien abduction story, I’d be very intrigued to go there.
Have you had any really notable interactions with your fans?
Nothing too crazy as of yet with Being Human. But in the past I have, with Alien vs. Predator, for example. I wore this blue shirt in the film and someone at Fox thought it would be good to cut up the shirt afterwards and sell it online to the fans. So the day I got a piece of my shirt in the mail with someone asking me to sign it was probably the strangest thing that’s happened to me in terms of fan requests.
I hear that you’re heading back to Toronto later this year to premier your next film, Right Kind Of Wrong. What can you tell me about that?
It’s not been officially announced yet, but the game plan is that it’ll premier at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It’s a romantic comedy starring Ryan Kwanten, who is on True Blood, and also stars Sara Canning, who played the aunt in The Vampire Diaries. So between the three of us, we definitely have the vampire/werewolf worlds covered! It’s just a coincidence that we’re all on vampire-themed shows, which just goes to show you how popular that genre is at the moment.
Tell me more about the film you’re shooting now, In Embryo.
It’s a love story, but it’s a very dark love story. I’m playing a heroine addict. I think it’s going to be really interesting. The director is a Danish actor named Ulrich Thompson, who was on the show Banshee, he’s had a great American career as well. And the DP is German, so it’s got a very European feel to it and beautiful imagery. I’m really excited about it!
How did you come to be an actor?
I’m from a very small northwestern town in Ontario and my mom is the drama teacher at the only high school in the town. For as long as I can remember, she was doing community theater, directing, writing, making costumes. I was very exposed to that creative side of life and those creative possibilities from a very early age. And I think that as soon as I was conscious that this was a profession you could have, it was what I wanted to do. But I was also very serious about school and I wanted to get a degree before I started working professionally, so I went to Toronto and I got my theater degree there before I started working.
How does it feel to be going back to Toronto this fall?
It’s always really nice to get back to the city. I have so many close friends there that I went to school with. It’s just nice to be back home in Canada, in any province, to breath the fresh northern air.
Dating turn-ons and turn-offs?
First of all, they have to make me laugh. I think that’s always the first thing I notice with someone, is if I’m laughing or we have the same sense of humor. They have to have a sense of confidence. Not much, but they have to be confident. And smart. And driven.
I would imagine it takes a lot of confidence to approach you!
I don’t know, I think I’m pretty approachable.
Ideal date night?
Spontaneity is the best, so I can’t really say what my perfect date night would be. I guess it would be surprising me!
What’s your favorite way to decompress after a long day?
I’m a huge tea drinker. Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t go without having tea. And I’m also very habitual and ritualistic. Without fail, when I come home, I put on something comfortable, I make some tea, I sit down. I love reading, I’m always reading something.
There’s so much great television at the moment, too! I love when I’m not working and I get a chance to catch up on all these shows that I’ve missed, like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, for example. I also like cooking and hiking and being very active.
I figure skated for fifteen years, from age three to eighteen, and I played sports my whole life, so I’m someone who can’t sit still for too long. I always have to be busying myself with something. Every day I make time to do something active. And that’s the great thing about being in LA, there are so many fantastic hiking places up in the hills.
I love swimming. I grew up in the forest in Canada, it’s like cottage country. My back yard was this beautiful lake. Every morning in the summer, I would wake up and swim. That’s such a huge part of who I am too, swimming and being in nature.
What are some books you’ve read recently, or what are you reading right now?
I just finished a book I really love called Wild (by Cheryl Strayed), which is a non-fiction memoir of this woman’s story. There are so many male stories that are about finding one’s self, it was wonderful to read a story with a strong female voice.
At the moment I’m reading a book called The Night Circus, which is about a circus at night, by Aaron Morgenstern. It’s a very fun story, I’m really enjoying it. I like to have something fiction and non-fiction going at the same time.
I just finished Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking as well. I like real life stories of people that have gone through hardships, to keep my mind open. I’m someone who likes to use books to sort of get into character and to open up my imagination, if you will.