About Kirsten Vangsness

Kirsten is an American actress and a writer who is known majorly for the role she played as an FBI Technical analyst called Penelope Garcia in the movie Criminal minds aired by CBS.

She also played the same role when they made it a seasonal film. She played the FBI role in different seasons of the film.

Source: Wikipedia

Kirsten’s Early Life

She was born in Pasadena, California, USA her father was Mr. Errol Leroy Vangsness who was part of Norwegian descendants.

Her mother was Barbara Mary who was a descendant of Italian origin. Both her parents lived in Porterville, California where she was born and raised before moving to Cerritos, California.

She was a graduate of Cerritos high school as part of the class of 1990 and then moved on to Cypress College in Cypress, California. Although she later graduated from California State University, Fullerton in 1996.

Kirsten’s Personal Life And Relationship

Currently, we don’t have any news of her dating or being married to anyone as she stands alone right now.

She has been in a relationship before, it lasted for seven years before they both separated. She was in this relationship until 2013 with the editor known as Melanie Goldstein. They were also engaged at the time before they separated.

In November 2015, the media had a gist that Kirsten was dating the actor Keith Hanson. They also said that both of them were engaged, although no confirmation of the story.

There was also a rumor that came out then about her dating Shemar Moore and that they were getting married. This wasn’t true because they were both just good friends.

Aside from being friends, Shemar had a girlfriend who he met in 2014, so he cannot be married to Kirsten.

Source: Wikipedia

Kirsten Career

As we have said before, she is an actress and also a writer. Firstly she got herself involved in acting because she was a shy person and wanted to get rid of that part of her life.

She decided to become an actress to overcome her fear. Through the process, she got her big break in theatre and won different awards for it.

Among her awards were the Female Best Actress Award in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best coming up comic actress. She also bagged a golden Betty award.

As for her writing career, she had been published once in the Los Angeles Times.

She has also co-written four episodes of the hit film criminal mind. She is an actress and writer in this film. In 2014, she helped to write the movie Nelson Sparrow alongside a producer, Erica Messer.

The next year which was 2015, she co-wrote a movie with Messer called a beautiful disaster. And then came 206, she also worked with Erica Messer to write the movie Spencer before finally working with her on the finale of criminal minds.

Ten Interesting Facts About Kirsten Vangsness

First of all, we would like to point out that Kirsten is a very interesting woman and has had some good roles in theater and television as an actress.

Her most famous role that most of her fans know her for is the role she played as Penelope Garcia on Criminal minds.

She didn’t start very well as an actress because at the time she was a starving actress, although this is how most of the famous people we know started.

She was working as a substitute teacher in theatres and also in a natural center. She had a rough start but she has become someone very important in life and is now worth 3 million dollars.

She was able to work and take the risk just to see if her talent could pay her out.

  1. She Started Theatre As A Young Girl

Kirsten is deeply in love with the theater, she doesn’t mind if she is one of the actresses in the play or she is one of those writing it.

She started falling in love with drama and theater as a child because her father used to be in the theater too. Kirsten would go with her father and watch him play the lead role in the dramas and she wouldn’t say a word.

Her role in the theater drama was the old woman in the background while her younger sister played the young girl. She didn’t have to say a word because of the character she was portraying.

She played the role of an old woman because she looked weird and her friends would always tease her about it. She admitted to this.

  1. She Didn’t Speak To Anyone Throughout Her Eighth Grade.

She admitted to this fact in an interview with Long Island weekly that she was a very shy child and couldn’t talk to anyone.

Her shy nature caused her some things, for instance, she didn’t have any friends in eighth grade and didn’t speak to anyone, and she didn’t pass many courses that year.

Her parents didn’t like the fact that she wasn’t outspoken and too scared to talk to her peers. Her mother especially didn’t like this.

And then she thought that a solution would be for Kirsten to join a drama class. Her mother said she had to join so she was enrolled in high school as a drama student. She had her first two assignments, and they didn’t require anyone to speak.

Because she is so good at not speaking to anyone, she got an A and thought to herself that she could build something out of her silent nature.

  1. Her Major Character As Penelope Garcia Was Created By Her

Kirsten had created a talent inside of herself, a writer and an actress. She held both of these talents dearly and invested in them.

She created her character, Penelope, in the hit film Criminal minds because she was a co-writer on the set.

She created this character and was put in the film without having any wardrobe to cater to her. She always brought in her own clothes to the set.

The producers of the film were expecting Penelope to be dressed in formal wear but Kirsten didn’t have any of these kinds of clothes so she had to wear what she had and they had to make do with that.

As time went on, she noticed that her workstation is mostly empty so she decided to fill it with whatever she thought her character would need. The first thing she added to her workstation was a candy dish that belonged to Kirsten’s grandmother.

  1. She And Shemar Moore Met On The Set Of Criminal Minds And Became Friends From There

Kirsten, says that the speed at which she and Shemar became friends and related to each other just made her believe that they must have known each other in one of their lifetimes.

During the first episode, she only spoke to him over the phone, they got to meet when they were about to shoot the second episode which was mainly about sexual harassment.

They met on the set for the table read of the second episode and they were joking about what they would say is sexually harassing each other, and the producers picked some of the things they said and it was part of the script.

They just like each other genuinely because somehow they were friends that connected with each other. This isn’t a friendship for show business but Shemar helps Kirsten in all of her endeavors and also goes to watch her theater performances. He likes to sit in the front row.

  1. She Knew About Her Sexuality In High School

Kirsten is bisexual, and she didn’t know about this until she was in high school when she was crushing hard on a guy in her high school called Ben.

At the same time, while she was crushing on this boy, she also had a secret love affair with a girl in her high school. The girl’s name was Amy.

By that time she was young and didn’t know what I do about the feelings she had because she was just a kid.

Not until she turned 30 and then she met Melanie Goldstein who she believed would be her soul mate.

They had already gotten engaged and we were prepared to spend their life together until they broke up.

After her relationship with Goldstein, she also got involved with Keith Hanson, and they both got engaged in 2015 but later broke up.

  1. Co-Writing The Series Finale Of Criminal Mind Was Very Tough For Her

Kirsten enjoyed writing and she was given the chance to try out her talent on the series. She co-wrote a few episodes in the series.

In an interview, she also said that it wasn’t very easy for her to write episodes regularly.

Although she did say that the last episode was nice for her because they had wrapped up the whole season and film.

She was requested to write on the series by Erica who was her co-writer. She said that she could only write and act but she wouldn’t have been able to direct because she didn’t like telling people what to do.

  1. She Was Only Supposed To Appear In One Episode Of The Series As Penelope Garcia

Her faith was what got her that character in the series. She went and auditioned for the character she had created, she only had to read two lines and get off.

After she read her lines for that episode, the fans fell in love with her and so she was put in the second episode and the ones after that until the series finale.

  1. She Has Been On A Role Ever Since She Was Thirteen, She Had At Least Two Theater Gigs Every Year

According to her, her dream started when she got an A in drama class. She knew that she was going to make it big if she follows this path.

Although at first her shy nature hindered her and made her think that she wouldn’t get a lot of profit from doing this.

At that time, Kirsten never thought that acting would pay her as much as she earns now because she wasn’t even able to talk to people back then.

Her bad start also made her think that she would always remain in the gutter where she is today.

She never lost faith though, she was determined to be an actress and earn money from it, even though it was scary. This determination got her to appear in at least two theater plays every year.

She wasn’t getting paid for her writing services in theater but she liked the idea that her talent was being appreciated by people.

She knew that this was the one thing that no one would ever take from her.

  1. She Is A Businesswoman

In 2016, Kirsten was able to get a business partnership with a distillery. The Blinking owl distillery. The company was located in Santa, Ana.

The business was created by her two friends and she refers to it as her favorite side business.

Kirsten often visits this place during the weekends where she gets to connect with her friends and watch people enjoy themselves by having a wonderful time.

  1. Being Pigeonholed For Her Penelope Role Doesn’t Bother Her

Most of the actors would always try to make sure that they are not playing a character that they have gotten a role to play for before.

This is just to make sure that they are not getting pigeonholed. Kirsten once stated that she doesn’t mind this at all.

She also said that if she is given a chance to play the queer character for life, she wouldn’t see it as a problem.

The funny thing is that the role that she created wasn’t meant for her but she auditioned to get the role because her friend wanted her to go and try it out.

About Penelope Garcia, Her Role In The Series Criminal Minds

Penelope Garcia Character is a fictional character that made an appearance on the hit CBS series known as Criminal minds.

The actor that gook over this role was Kirsten Vangsness, she was in the spin-off known as suspect behavior.

According to the script, she is a technical analyst who is part of the Behavioral Analysis Unit which is the core of both shows.

She has also appeared on the set of criminal minds: beyond the border. Her character was the only character that made an appearance in the three series of criminal minds.

Penelope’s Life Before She Joined The Behavioral Analysis Unit

According to the script, you can read that Penelope is a lady from San Francisco, CA who lost her parent at a young age.

Her parents were killed by a drunk driver according to the story. She was eighteen when she saved this horrible tragedy and so she uses her spare time to counsel family members that went through the same thing she did.

Penelope was a student of Caltech but couldn’t go on because her parents were late and she didn’t afford it. Because of this, she went underground and continued learning computer coding on her own.

She became enlisted as one of the hackers for the FBI. She was useful but dangerous in the wrong hands. They had to recruit her after she showed her talent. It was also mentioned that she was not permitted to leave with the team going to Langley. Also, she was on the list of hackers for the CIA too.

An FBI agent once mentioned that she was supposed to be on that CIA list when she saw what she did as she successfully hacked the CIA website and got information about the different conspiracies that are hidden by the CIA.

Penelope loved online games, one, in particular, is the one she plays regularly known as MMOGs.

She always loved playing the game which was about Camelot where she always met a Sir Kneighf who was controlled by a serial killer known as Randall Garner.

At the time he was playing the game with Penelope, he was keeping a young woman hostage and sending out clues so the FBI could try and find him. He was toying with them.

Penelope usually played this game using the Behavioral Analysis Unit Network.

While they both played the game online, Garner was able to hack Penelope’s server and get some information from her computer which helped him send clues to the FBI team to their exact location.

So she was working for the FBI based on her skills and helped people who have gone through her kind of trauma in her spare time. Her character just revolved around these two things in the series. Nothing more.

Other Movies Starring Kirsten

We will be mentioning one or two movies where Kirsten got to play important roles.

  1. Dave Made A Maze

Dave made a maze was a film made in 2017, it is an American fantasy adventure comedy horror film.

The director of this movie was Bill Waterson, Kirsten was cast in the movie alongside Nick Thune, Mira Rohit, Stephanie Allynne, John Hennigan, and James Urbaniak.

Like we said before, it was a fantasy movie, following the name, Dave had built a cardboard fort that somehow the cardboard was able to hold the full Labyrinth filled with fatal traps and other creatures. This is the part where we have the horror.

It was released in 2017, on August 18. Gravitas Ventures were the ones in charge of the production.

The film was majorly about Dave and his girlfriend Annie who went away for the weekend leaving Dave to work consciously on his latest art project.

Dave was known for not being able to complete any project in his life, this has left him jobless and receiving money from his parents even as a 30 years old man.

He believes that his parents are very tired of him, this is fair because no one wants to train a 30-year-old man.

Later on in his life, he was finally able to make something of his life and he started building something from the ground up. Even his girlfriend was in shock when she found the project that Dave had finished.

  1. In My Sleep

In my sleep is a 2010 movie. It was written and produced by the famous film director Allen Wolf.

The movie also has Kirsten in it as a major character alongside different actors and actresses.

It features Kirsten and Tony Hale in a Cameo role. This story film is based mainly on a Massage therapist who has Insomnia and is very scared because he believes he killed his friend while Sleepwalking. This is very serious Insomnia.

The massage therapist woke up in a cemetery and doesn’t know how he must have gotten there.

He suffers from a disease known as Parasomnia. This is a sleep disorder that causes people to do things while asleep. They usually don’t remember what they did after they did it.

The day he got very scared was when he woke up with a knife that had blood on it and he didn’t know what was going on. The police were also knocking on his door so he had to clean up and hide the knife.

They told him that his friend’s wife Ann had been stabbed to death with a knife and so they just came in to check if he was doing okay.

He got scared and didn’t know what was going on with him. This is basically what the movie was centered around.

What’s a criminal mind?

A criminal mind is a term that refers to the thought processes and behavior of someone who engages in criminal activity. It is often used to describe the mindset of people who commit crimes, such as theft, violence, or fraud, and who may be motivated by a variety of factors, such as greed, power, or a lack of empathy.

There is no one-size-fits-all definition of a criminal mind, as the motivations and behaviors of individuals who engage in criminal activity can vary widely. However, some common characteristics that are often associated with a criminal mind include a lack of remorse or empathy for victims, a willingness to engage in risky or harmful behaviors, and a tendency to prioritize personal gain over the well-being of others.

It is important to note that the concept of a criminal mind is not a scientific or medical term, and it does not necessarily reflect the underlying causes or contributing factors of criminal behavior. Some experts believe that criminal behavior may be influenced by a range of psychological, social, and environmental factors, and that understanding these factors can help to prevent and address criminal behavior.


Kirsten has lived a very rewarding life for herself and so far she has been doing okay. She grew from nothing to something, that should be the dream.

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I’ve been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I’m currently writing for many websites and newspaper. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn everyday. You can contact me on our forum or by email at: [email protected].