As the titular b---- in the hit ABC comedy Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23, Krysten Ritter holds her own against sleazeball James Van Der Beek in millions of homes across America. But who is the woman behind the B? I met the actress for lunch to find out.
She’s from the sticks.
I’m from a tiny place in northeastern Pennsylvania called Shickshinny. I grew up very poor on a cattle farm and lived in the same house where my stepdad was born and his father before him. As a child, I had to harvest corn, pick vegetables, feed cows, and pick up rocks.
She left the sticks at age fifteen.
I started coming to New York to model when I was 15 after being scouted at a mall in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. As soon as I visited, I started to meet all these cool weirdos, but I also realized that you have a short shelf life as a model. You’ve got two seasons; if you don’t make it, you go home. And I never wanted to go home.
She left the sticks at age fifteen and moved to Williamsburg (before it was cool).
Back in 2000, I lived on North Third and Kent, right next to a cement factory. Every morning at seven, they’d start loudly making cement. It was horrible. My friends who live there now never would have come to visit me back then.
Success came early.
When I was 23, I sold a pilot called Model Camp. I was acting and writing a lot, and I just pitched this idea to a room of people at Warner Bros. What was I thinking?! It didn’t get made, but it was pretty cool to sell something. It’s so hard to get anything made.
Success came early and often.
I had one line in the 2003 film Mona Lisa Smile, but I was on set for the whole shoot, surrounded by these famous girls like Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Julia Stiles. And Julia Roberts! She was so cool. She came up to me on set one day holding this drawing of a girl from the ’50s with short black hair and a pointy nose and said, “Krysten, this is you!”
Success came early and often and continues.
I just sold a show to MTV, which I’m also producing, called Cassandra French’s Finishing School for Boys, based on a book by Eric Garcia. It’s about this girl who keeps a bunch of boys chained up in her basement. She’s basically a female Dexter but without the killing.
She’s a flautist.
I was in the school band. I started out with the flute, but I didn’t think that was cool enough, you know. So I switched to clarinet. I liked the whole reed thing. I was very, very cool.
She’s an ex-flautist, current apprehensive rock star. I’m in a band with my friend Will. We’re called Ex Vivian. It’s a very lo-fi project and not produced at all. I click record and go. Everyone who’s heard it says it sounds like Mazzy Star, and I’m like, “Yeah, probably because I love Mazzy Star.” But as it turns out, I don’t like to perform live.
She’s on TV. But does not own a TV.
Because of how I grew up, I’m the most frugal person in the world. I like saving the $150 a month. My friends all stare at me slack–jawed when I ask them the difference between TiVo and DVR. I thought about getting cable, and even called Time Warner, but they never showed up. Eventually I forgot about it.
She’s totally cool about the insane flip-flopping pertaining to the title of her show.
I never thought they would use “bitch” in the title anyway. I’ve been around the block. They told me it was the title role, and I thought, “There’s no way that’s happening.” And sure enough, they changed it to Apt. 23. I thought, “See, you can’t trust anyone in television!” And then they put it back! Sure, it’s the softer version. I said, “C’mon, let’s just go for it.” Now, I’m glad it’s just The B. Everyone yells that at me now. “Hey, it’s The B!” It’s much better than people screaming, “Hey, bitch!” at me!
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