Kirsten Vangsness

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Kirsten Vangsness
Kirsten Vangsness.jpg
Vangsness in 2007
Born (1972-07-07) July 7, 1972 (age 42)
Pasadena, California,
United States
Occupation Actress

Kirsten Simone Vangsness (born 7 July 1972[1]) is an American actress. She currently stars in the CBS television drama series Criminal Minds as FBI Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia. She also portrayed the same character on the spin-off, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.[2]

Early life[edit]

Kirsten was born July 7, 1972 in Pasadena, California to Errol Leroy Vangsness (born 1938 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and his wife Barbara Mary, née Marconi (born 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). All of her paternal great grandparents were Norwegians, with ancestry from Gol, Bergen and Oslo.[3] She was raised in Porterville, California and moved to Cerritos, California. She graduated from Cerritos High School in June 1990, and later attended Cypress College [4] and graduated from California State University Fullerton.


She got her first big break in the theater where she won several awards, including the 15 Minutes of Female Best Actress Award, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Emerging Comic Actress and the Golden Betty Award. She is also a writer, and her work has been published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine.

Personal life[edit]

Vangsness describes herself as "queer as a purple unicorn singing Madonna".[5] Her fiancée was film editor Melanie Goldstein, whom she began dating in 2006.[6] Goldstein's credits include the television series 24.[7][8] Melanie and Vangsness separated in 2013.



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Sometimes Santa's Gotta Get Whacked Tooth Fairy Short film
2006 A-List Blue
2008 Tranny McGuyver TV News Reporter Short film
2009 Scream of the Bikini Interior Decorator
2010 In My Sleep Madge
2011 Sarina's Song Party Guest Short film
2011 Chicago 8, TheThe Chicago 8 Sketch Artist
2012 Remember to Breathe Vocals for Young Alice Short film
2013 Kill Me, Deadly Mona Livingston Main Role


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Phil of the Future Veronica Season 1 Episode 16 (Age Before Beauty)
2004 LAX Ticket Agent / Stephanie Season 1 Episode 1,8+10
2005–present Criminal Minds Penelope Garcia Main Cast (Season 2–present) Recurring Cast (Season 1)
2010 Vampire Mob Laura Anderson TV series
2010–2012 Pretty the Series Meredith Champagne Recurring role (14 episodes)
2011 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Penelope Garcia Main role (Season 1)
2011 Second City This Week Celebrity Guest Season 1 Episode 32
2011–2013 Good Job, Thanks! Therapist Season 1 Episode 6 + Season 2 Episode 2


  1. ^ Vangsness, Kirsten (2007-07-24). "Kirstens Blog". CBS. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  2. ^ "Criminal Minds' Kirsten Vangsness Joins Spin-Off as a Series Regular". 
  3. ^ "Kirsten Simone Vangsness ancestry profile". 
  4. ^ Cypress College Public Information Office (2012-05-04). "Cypress College @Cypress Newsletter". 
  5. ^ Anderson-Minshall, Diane (November 2011). "The Purple Unicorn". The Advocate: 42. 
  6. ^ Waldon, Dave (2008-09-23). "Kirsten Vangsness Thrives on "Criminal Minds"". Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  7. ^ Melanie Goldstein at the Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ "Untitled". Criminal Minds Fanatic. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 

External links[edit]