Kristen Bell started singing when she was young. “I was trained as a soprano and fell in love with musical theater. I lived at my community theatre when I was growing up. I loved the sense of responsibility it gave me as a kid. There is something so wonderful about being on stage with a live audience. You get addicted to that adrenaline. That’s what turned me on to acting.” After graduation, Bell headed to the Big Apple to attend the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Just three years later, she made her Broadway debut as Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In 2002, she appeared on Broadway in The Crucible, opposite Liam Neeson and Laura Linney. Bell decided to take the plunge and was soon packing her bags for Los Angeles, where she quickly scored guest-starring roles in Everwood, American Dreams and The Shield.
These roles eventually landed her on her starring role as Veronica Mars. Bell plays a smart, fearless eighteen-year-old apprentice private investigator dedicated to solving the town’s toughest mysteries and is currently working on the second season. She gushes, “Veronica Mars is a very sassy, savvy young lady. It’s an empowering show to watch as a young woman. Veronica is labeled as a loser at her school, but she doesn’t sit in her room and cry. She stands up for the underdog. I love that.” Bell’s eyes light up, “Being on set for me is like being the runt of fifty older brothers. Last year I was the only girl on the show. The whole crew is guys, but everyone gets along great.”
Bell’s other television credits include lead roles in the made-for-television movies Gracie’s Choice, The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay, and Reefer Madness based on the hit play in which she also starred in Off Broadway. Bell is bringing her magnetic presence to the big screen as well, in the upcoming Fifty Pills and the much-anticipated Pulse, a remake of the Japanese horror hit Kairo.
This Detroit native has adored dogs for as long as she can remember. “When I was a kid, I thought I could communicate with them. I would always hang out with animals, rather than people! Everyone thought I was strange, but I just felt comfortable with them. I ended up getting my family involved in a foster program with the Humane Society. I even raised a litter of puppies. I love puppies, but we got Mr. Shakes and Lola as adults. The adult dogs are in more need of a home. Puppies get scooped up. I tend to be a sucker for the scrawny one nobody wants.”
Currently, Bell has three pooches running around her LA digs. “Lola and Mr. Shakes (Shaky) are both Corgi mutts. Lola is such an angel; she has the best temperament ever. She’s like a stuffed animal. She’ll crawl up your chest and nuzzle in the crook of your neck. She licks until you are a prune and has the hairiest toes I’ve ever seen. The little mops on her feet collect dust! Lola knows a slew of tricks, but it took Mr. Shakes four months to learn paw. That’s as far as he’ll go. Not the brightest bulb, but we love him. He broke my heart when we first got him from the pound because he was shaking so much. I picked him up and he was really nervous. He was literally vibrating. I couldn’t leave him there. So I talked to the vet about how to rehabilitate an animal that’s been traumatized. He’s a little stinker; I’m not going to lie. He’s nipped at a few people, but it’s all territorial. If the delivery man comes to the house, we know we have to put him in the back. You can see the crazy in his eyes sometimes, but he has the most immense amount of love. He’s so affectionate and it makes me happy to see him this way. He’s come such a long way from when we first got him. Lola and Mr. Shakes are best friends. They are inseparable and wrestle all the time.”
Bell goes on to explain, “Just recently, we found Malie walking down our street. He came right up to me. He’s 75 lbs. of “do whatever you want” to do kind of dog. He will push past you to get into the house. He’s knocked me over a few times, but he has the best personality. So loving. Malie is up for adoption by the way! He’s very gentle. Lola and Shaky have both bitten him and he just walks away. We are not ready to take on a third dog, but we are fully committed to fostering him until he finds a good mom and dad. He’s going to make someone very happy! When he first got here, Lola was so upset he was taking my attention. She would sit in a corner of the room and face the wall! I would call her name and she would ignore me. I’ve never seen anything like it. She’s a breed of her own.”
When Bell isn’t working, she lives in her sweatpants and enjoys watching old movies with her boyfriend, Kevin Mann. Mann is an independent film producer and high school swimming coach. Bell admits, “We almost learn from the love dogs show us. Personally, I think true love with a person is a choice, not a feeling. But the cool thing about puppy love is that it’s always a feeling for them. They have butterflies when you come home no matter what. My dogs keep me grounded and help me appreciate the small things in life.”