CANDACE KITA - Model / Actress ("Complete Savages" / "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry")
K2K: [For those who never distinguish] What nationality are you?
K2K: You never know now. So many mixes these days.
CK: I know! I never know either.
K2K: Youre best known for modeling and acting. How did you get hooked up with the British band, Catherine Wheel, to do their video?
CK: Actually, I just auditioned like everybody else. I didnt really know that it was going to be Mark Pellington who was the director. Hes a really well-known director - done a lot of videos for MTV, and a lot of independent films. So I got the job and got to play this very crazy, demented stewardess in an airplane, that goes down - if youre familiar with the video.
[See the video for "Waydown" on YouTube.]
K2K: Oh yes. Ive seen it many times. The video is for Waydown. [One of my favorite bands, and videos. - Ed.]
CK: Exactly. Way down. Get it? The lead singer, Rob, is so intense when he's doing the video, and such a nice man off-screen.
K2K: Now, the song itself is about emotions and personal crisis.
CK: It is, but the way it was portrayed was a man on a plane [singer Rob Dickinson], and everyone on the plane, and how they all feel during the last few minutes of their lives during a commercial airline disaster, when the plane is about to crash.
K2K: And youre nutty [in the video].
CK: Yes. And Rob, the singer, and I are both nutty. We're both crazy and demented and kind of happy that the plane was crashing. And I kept serving and showing how to get out of the plane.
K2K: [In the video] youre serving food and drinks.
CK: Yes. Food and drinks are going everywhere. I actually fell down a couple of times during the takes, because we actually shot in an airplane fuselage. The airplane fuselage moved. I was in high heels, and a lot of times I would just fall to the ground. They would just say, Candace! Get up! Keep going. So, yeah.
K2K: What about repercussions from that video? [Rumor had it that MTV eventually banned the video due to its disturbing nature. - Ed]
CK: You know, we didnt really have any repercussions from that video. I thought we were going to for sure. The L.A. Times newspaper wrote an article saying that they thought it was really controversial. They were questioning, I guess, the nature of music videos at the time - MTV, VH1 - and how they were getting more graphic as far as - not sexuality, but - violence. They thought that the violence was a little bit too much.
K2K: So you cant have sex in prime-time [TV], but you can in all the bling-bling videos.
CK: Yeah. And you cant show a plane going down. So I dont understand it myself.
K2K: Which happens.
CK: Right. Exactly.
K2K: You could say its too close to home for some. But thats kind of ridiculous, because everything is too close to home to someone.
CK: Nowadays, yeah. And everything you do will give you cancer. So
K2K: Just us breathing right now.
CK: is probably giving us cancer.
K2K: [Going back to your roots] You lived in Belgium and England, but you were just a child then.
K2K: When did you move back?
CK: I moved back to the States when I was about seven years old.
K2K: Where were you born?
CK: I was born here in Los Angeles.
K2K: But you call yourself a Southern girl?
CK: I am. I was raised in Lawton, TX. So I consider myself poor White Trash in an Asian body. Yeah.
K2K: Which explains your love of fried foods.
CK: Oh, I love anything fried. I think batter should be its own main course. Batter should be a course on its own. Yeah. Chicken-friend steak. Fried okra. Mashed potatoes. Fried chicken livers. Aw! Yum.
K2K: George Clooney was on David Letterman during a Thanksgiving show, talking about some Texan delicacy. You take a bucket, filled with oil, and you drop the turkey in.
CK: Yes! Deep fried turkey! Its great. I thought everybody did it, because Im from the South and its normal to me. And then here they think its just this horrible thing. Like the deep-friend Oreo, and the deep-fried Twinky, and the deep-fried pickle.
K2K: Oh my God. Are you kidding?
CK: No. This is all normal. But apparently its strange out here on the West Coast.
K2K: Well, how George Clooney described it was as just [taking the oil and cholesterol] and injecting it straight into your heart.
CK: Oh yeah. Its just inject it. Streamlining oil directly into your body. But its oh so good.
K2K: Apparently it [deep-frying turkey] seals the turkey, so you dont get that much oil.
CK: Thats true. It cooks it quickly. Its very moist and tender on the inside because of the flash cooking.
K2K: Do you cook?
CK: Oh! I love to cook.
K2K: Southern stuff? Do you cook White Trash, or do you cook other stuff?
CK: Oh yeah, I love White Trash, and I even like a can of Chef Boyardee every once in while. How bad is that?
K2K: You dont have the Roadkill Cookbook, do you you?
CK: No, but I know of it. And I know the White Trash cookbook too. [White Trash Cooking by Ernest Matthew Mickler]
K2K: The book Im talking about was written by a former model from L.A. [Swamp Cookin With The River People by Dana Holyfield. Actually less about roadkill and more about Cajun backwoods cooking. - Ed.]
CK: Are you kidding?
K2K: No. She was a model who moved back to her home in Arkansas and wrote a cookbook. She decided she didnt want to be a model anymore and just started doing that.
CK: Good for her. I salute you.
K2K: So, from cooking to modeling. When did you start in modeling?
CK: I started modeling when I was in school. I was approached by somebody to do a hair advertisement. I have hair thats all the way down to my you know. I have hair down to my bottom, and its straight and all one length. So it kind of came from that. I didnt even mean to do it. I just kind of walked into a hair salon at the time.
K2K: Was it for any specific product?
CK: It was for a very famous person who cut hair. And then I ended up being a model for Wilhelmina, for the Wilhelmina Agency for five years.
K2K: When was that?
CK: Just in my career right now. I was with Wilhelmina up until about two years ago. Then I made my segue into acting full time.
K2K: What were some of the bigger modeling accounts that you've done?
CK: Neiman Marcus, Marsha Fields, Nordstrom's, Chinese Laundry, XOXO, Diesel, and other things like that.
K2K: How did you get discovered for acting?
CK: I purposely went out for acting myself. I did not get discovered at all. I just started pounding the pavement. I took acting classes, I got an agent, a manager, a publicist, and all that kind of good stuff.
K2K: So youre a good influence on young, up-and-coming actors to work harder.
CK: Oh, definitely. Youve really got to do it on your own. Dont expect anybody to do it for you. Youve got to pound that pavement every single day.
K2K: What do you like better, modeling or acting?
CK: You know, I really like acting, because you get to portray other people. I consider myself a character actor, and so I like to play all sorts of different characters. It's like an escape. It's so much fun.
K2K: Did you ever just get stereotyped as the cute girl? Was that ever a problem, that they would only want to put you in a certain type of role?
K2K: And then theres the Asian thing too.
CK: The Asian thing, sure. I think Ive gotten lucky though. Not just the cute girl. Ive played a coroner one time. Ive played a mom. A lawyer. A court reporter. A newscaster. So Ive gotten a lot of great roles. I cant say that Ive been stereotyped in that way at all.
K2K: Its just interesting, in the people that I meet. Some people complain about getting stereotyped, while others get everything.
CK: Im happy. I cant complain. I really cant.
K2K: I know that actress Maggie Q had recently complained about Asian stereotyping. She said something along the lines of Oh, another Asian girl who knows martial arts and kicks ass.
CK: You know, it's funny. I'd rather us be stereotyped as a bad-ass, than subservient pieces of Jade. I think more important Bad-ass is good, because I think we've had the other stereotype for so long. So, more power to it.
K2K: I think she was coming from the thought that there were so many martial arts movies already.
CK: Yeah, but martial arts is a genre, for those who enjoy [them]. I like them. I think they're fun. So
K2K: What kind of acting do you prefer? Comedy?
CK: Absolutely. I think, over the course of my career, the majority of things that Ive done are comedy. Ironically, I dont know why, but I really enjoy it.
K2K: Because youre a workaholic and comedy is the hardest thing to do.
CK: Thats what people say. Sometimes I think dramas harder, but maybe its just for different people.
K2K: I think you can express drama. We can all do it. But in comedy, you might think somethings funny, while someone else might not. Its all in timing.
CK: It just depends. I feel that I do well in physical comedy. I think its universal. You dont have to say anything, and you can just do it. I did that a lot on Master Rider, which is the kids show that I was on for two years. And then working with Mel Gibson, a lot of it was physical comedy too.
K2K: What kind of movies do you like?
CK: You know, I know it sounds crazy, but I grew up watching The Three Stooges. Thats really physical comedy. Lucille Ball is another one. And of course, John Ritter. John Ritter was amazing. Think about it. In Threes Company, the amount of physical comedy that he did.
K2K: Marx Brothers?
CK: Oh yeah! Marx Brothers are great. And Little Rascals.
K2K: Its funny how, after many years - for me - no one knew what I was talking about when referencing [that kind of stuff]. Now, old bands are coming back in style. Old movies. Did you see Sylvester Stallone in Oscar?
CK: I didnt see Oscar. I did see Rocky. But youre right. Everything old is new again.
K2K: Oscar never got the recognition that it deserved. It is entirely a mix of everything that you said you liked [in old style comedy].
CK: Really? Ill have to see it then. I didnt know.
K2K: You worked on "Masked Rider."
CK: I did. That was two years of my life, getting up at four in the morning, and I loved it. I did three seasons, 40 episodes, as the series regular lead. A lot of the people from the show are still really good friends of mine today.
K2K: Tell me about Masked Rider. That came over from Japan, right?
CK: Yes. It was an original show called Kamen Rider. Kamen means mask. It was very, very popular in Japan. So then Saban brought it over [in 1995] to the United States, using preexisting footage, and turned it into Masked Rider, for FoxKids TV.
[Saban had previously had success adapting Japans Super Sentai into the Power Rangers, and Metal Heroes (VR Troopers and Beetleborgs).]
K2K: In Complete Savages, you worked with Mel Gibson.
CK: Yeah. I played his girlfriend Misty. [Its] the only time he did American television. It was great. Everyone he came on, I was like Kenny in South Park - I got killed in every episode.
K2K: No repercussions from Matt or Trey [creators of South Park]?
CK: No, no. Not at all. I never heard anything that they were upset about it, and Mel had a great time.
K2K: You didnt end the episodes with Oh no! They killed Misty!?
CK: No. Wouldnt that be awesome if they did that? Id be so thrilled. But actually I got spoofed by Beavis & Butthead for that Catherine Wheel video. They put me in the video on and started talking about me. All the Beavis & Butthead fans always come up to me to say, You were in that Beavis & Butthead Catherine Wheel episode. Its on YouTube or online somewhere.
K2K: Mel Gibson. How is he comedically?
CK: Oh hes great. And hes so nice, and so down to earth. And hes got the most energy of anyone Ive ever met.
K2K: How did they explain your return [after being killed] every episode?
CK: [Mel] said that he wanted me to come back. The casting director said that I died on the first episode. He said he didnt care, because it was a 1970s safety video. You can die at the end of each safety video and be OK.
K2K: Explain the idea of the safety video.
CK: It was a segment that was sandwiched in between the show Complete Savages on ABC. Mel Gibson would come in as Officer Steve Cox and show a segment on safety, and I would come in with him.
K2K: You also worked on I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.
CK: Oh yeah. That was great.
K2K: Didnt that come out right before the gay marriage approval started?
CK: You know, it did. I didnt even think about that. It came out just before.
K2K: Interesting timing.
CK: Yeah. I think its wonderful. Good for them.
K2K: What did you play in there?
CK: I played a sexy Hooters girl. Yeah. (laughs) It was a lot of fun. I got to go to New York. I had a wonderful time with all the girls. It was a really enjoyable shoot, definitely.
K2K: You were also in the newer version of Bad News Bears.
CK: Yes, with Billy Bob Thornton.
K2K: And you played ?
CK: I played, once again, a sexy cheerleader. So maybe I am getting stereotyped. I dont know.
K2K: And in Barb Wire?
CK: Another sexy girl who was friend with Pamela Anderson[s character]. Gee whiz, Im kind of seeing a pattern here. (laughs)
K2K: I didnt mean to bring it up, but now that we did
CK: I should be thankful. When Im old and gray and in my 50s, I can look back and say, Oh, I remember when. So thats a good thing.
K2K: Remember what Charlize Theron said. She had to get ugly before she got respected and got an Oscar [for Monster].
CK: Thats true. And Farrah Fawcett did The Burning Bed and got respect too. I understand that.
K2K: You have to be ugly. No, you have to pretty. But you have to be ugly to get respect. (laughs)
CK: To crop all my hair off, shave my head. I dont know.
K2K: That worked in Star Trek for Persis Khambatta. [Star Trek: The Motion Picture]
CK: Oh, thats right. It did. She shaved her head. Didnt she pass away?
K2K: Yes, she did [August 18, 1998 - Ed.]. That was freaky to hear about.
CK: I remember reading something about that. She passed away at a young age.
K2K: Any other films, or TV, of notoriety [that youve been in]?
CK: Lets see Oh yeah. In TV, I was a recurring regular on the FX show, Son Of The Beach, which a lot of people are familiar with.
K2K: Howard Sterns show?
CK: Yes. I was a recurring character, comedic, on Dance Fever. I guest-starred on Two And A Half Men, and According To Jim, and Pepper Dennis. I did an Ugly Betty. Just usual stuff.
K2K: What has been your favorite role so far?
CK: I really liked the "Complete Savages" character, only because it's such "schtickety," dark humor. And I'd have to say "Masked Rider" because it was so long, and so many of my good friends are from it.
K2K: So on from acting and into womens safety and anti-stalking activities.
CK: Yes. Thats something Im very active in. I wrote a book called, "The Hottie Handbook: A Girl's Guide To Safety." [Book out in early 2009, while Candace now has a similar radio show currently as well. - Ed.] It basically helps young women, 17 to 24, with safety rules. Like if you're going to college for the first time, on campus. If you're out on your own in your first apartment. Internet safety. Dating. All these things are really important to young women. I just learned [these things] for myself, and thought that it would be something important for young girls leaving home for the first time. So that's how I got involved in it. This is my one thing that Im very interested in right now. That is amending the anti-stalking laws in California. I think that they are not stringent enough. They need to have an anti-stalking law that is more stringent. This first came into effect with the death of actress Rebecca Shaeffer. Very, very frightening situation.
K2K: And there was another one as well
CK: Oh, theres been a lot. Theresa Saldana. Theresas with my agency, actually, so I know a lot about that story. She was with my agent when that happened several years ago, as well. And also, talking about the State of California needs an anti-harassment law. Other states like Arizona do. I just find it ironic that, in a state where we have so many celebrities and so many actors, we dont have that.
K2K: I would have thought that [Governor Arnold] Schwarzenneger would have been on top of that.
CK: Well, it just needs to be brought to the surface, and more to the public eye. People really need to be thinking about it, and unless you get it out there, people dont know.
K2K: The flip side of it though, as I had mentioned shooting photos of Paris Hilton the other day, I felt creepy just by association, just because I got caught in the midst of the paparazzi who were following her. It wasnt even like that for me. I just shot a couple of photos and left. These other guys were relentless though. And now they have laws protecting [the paparazzi].
CK: Really? I didnt know that.
K2K: They have the right to shoot you, to an extent. They cant shoot through your window or anything, but they can follow you around. Thats going to make it tougher to pass anti-stalking or harassment law, as it [now] protects their right to earn a living [taking celebrity photos].
K2K: Thats parasitic.
CK: It is parasitic. Its extremely parasitic.
K2K: Animal rights. Are you vegan or vegetarian?
CK: You know, I love animals, I love animal rights. Im working on vegetarianism, but honestly, Im not right now. I came from the South. I came from cattle country. I came from beef country. And I swear, they dont even know what vegetarians are out there. Its sacrilege to be vegetarian out there. So Im coming from that mentality, and slowly trying to make the segue, and thats where Im at today.
K2K: Do you go back to visit there?
CK: Oh yeah. Thats my home.
K2K: Do you ever get harassed about your animal rights things?
CK: Oh, people laugh and say, What are you talking about? We love the meat-lovers pizza.
K2K: We love animals too. Yum, yum.
CK: Yum, yum. Exactly. Thats funny.
K2K: If you were not acting or modeling, you would be doing
CK: Id probably be writing, or working with animals.
K2K: Next projects coming up?
CK: Oh, I just did the Jace Hall Show. Thats going to show in two weeks. Ive have two scripts, given to me by my manager, that I have to read. Theyre optioning. So I may be doing a movie in Louisiana pretty soon, but Im not going to say if Im not going to do it. (Candace makes a face) I know. Two scripts that HAD to read this week. So I may or may not be doing them, depending.
K2K: In reading scripts, do you skim, or actually read them?
CK: You know, Im so bad. I skim and look at my part first, to see how big it is. Then I go back. Its like skimming through a magazine, and getting to all the good parts first, in case you die of a heart attack before you get to read the whole thing. Then I go back and thoroughly read it. Good question.
K2K: Final words for fans, friends, or upcoming artists?
CK: You guys, if youre an actor and your upcoming, dont give up. I dont care what anybody says. If they say that youre too tall, or too short, too ethnic, or not ethnic enough, it doesnt matter. All I can say is go for it. Pound the pavement. Believe in yourself. Dont let anybody tell you what to do. And, go for it.
K2K: How important is a good manager or agent?
CK: Really, really good. You really cant do without it, because of the Breakdown services. You have to have a good manager, and a good agent. Trusting by word of mouth is the best way.
K2K: Thank you!
CK: Thank you so much for seeing me today.
You can find Candace Kita online at the following links:
* Candace Kita Official Website
* Candace Kita MySpace
Written by Philip Anderson
Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.
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