Over a nine month period, they went from blank page to a four episode series about two queer women, a lesbian and a bisexual, and their life challenges in New York City. Their characters, named Kait and Nic, struggle with dating, depression, parties, and being their true selves. We had the opportunity to have an interview with Kaitlyn Krieg and Nicole Lee about their series, Kait & Nic.
Brought Together by Twitter
While Kaitlyn and Nicole knew each other before, their friendship began after Emily Andras (of Wynonna Earp and Lost Girl fame) replied to one of Nicole’s tweets. As two of the only fans of Wynonna Earp they knew, they quickly became BFFs. Not long after, Kaitlyn was watching Barbelle, and wondered to herself that age old question.
Why are Nicole and I not dating? Oh right, I have a cat.Kaitlyn
That simple thought spurred Kaitlyn to start jotting down notes until she had the shape of what became Kait & Nic. By October of 2017, they began drafting the series. They ran a successful fundraiser in January, started filming in March, and had the show up and done by June.
Keeping it Real In Terror
Even though they worked over the two major US holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Kaitlyn and Nicole set deadlines and kept each other honest. They didn’t want to see their passion project be just another case of people liking a great idea, but never following through. To achieve this success, they set a schedule, but were flexible about vacations and holidays, tackling the project with an awareness of the world around them.
While Kaitlyn was releasing their Indiegogo campaign, Nicole was on vacation in Hawaii. She was aware of all the messages from their supporters, but then one morning she received the false missile alert.
I was having breakfast with my parents, and I’m like, “Is this the last meal we’ll have? I’m finishing this omelet.”Nicole
It’s that sort of savoir-faire you find, specific to New York, that underlies the entire series. While we’re watching two sometimes hapless queer women stumble through their lives in a Seinfeld-esque slice of life, we see them take everything life throws at them. While their characters are exaggerated versions of themselves, they’re also entirely identifiable. Unique and recognizable, it’s easy to connect with over the top Nic and depressed Kait because they reflect aspects of ourselves.
Much like Shonda Rhimes works tirelessly to normalize the world in her series, Kaitlyn and Nicole embraced the diversity that is New York, and in fact the world, in their show. They did so not just by including multiple characters of colour and gender diversity, but also all body types.
I think for me it was very important to me to have a plus size love interest because, as a person who does have a body image issues and not a lot of confidence, when you don’t see a body type that reflects your body it’s hard to feel like [love’s] something that you get to have.Kaitlyn
At the same time, they remained aware of the double standard of inclusivity. Would having Nic date only people of colour swing too far to the side that Asians only date other Asians? Would having her date a white woman perpetuate the myth that all Asians aspire to whiteness? It’s a complex situation, delicately balancing representation in a realistic way, pushing the needle further so we can see more of our world in our stories, while still addressing common tropes and clichés.
Representation On All Sides
When casting the show, Kaitlyn and Nicole reached out to a queer group on Facebook, asking for extras. This lead to the majority of the cast being queer themselves, bolstering representation in another way. Currently only 14.5% of queer characters are played by queer actors, which matters too. While seeing queer characters on television gives hope and representation to ourselves, seeing queer actors inspires the next generation of actors to know they won’t be excluded for being who they are.
This also allowed them to draw from real life experiences when crafting the series. While Nic is an over the top version of Nicole, both actor and character have to face people asking her that inevitable question of “Where are you from?” as a code for “What kind of Asian are you?” Similarly, when Kait deals with a straight girl who’s experimenting, it resonates as most of us without gaydars has found ourselves in that predicament.
Acceptance of Self
Even though Kait and Nic are exaggerated aspects of real people, they know and accept who they are. They’re self aware of their flaws, like Nic’s ‘go big or go home’ attitude with dating, or Kait’s tendency to vomit her flaws at the slightest suggestion. By showing queers who aren’t just size four, white femmes, they help to break out of the heteronormative mold and remind people that gaydar or not, you can’t tell by looking.
I think […] seeing actual queer people and not the stereotypes that they may have had in their head it really helped when I actually did come out to my parents. I think they were super supportive.Nicole
Twenty-four years ago, someone’s first glimpse of homosexuality might have been Ross’ ex-wife, Carol, and her lover Susan on Friends. Today, it can be a wonderfully quirky, if depressed, lesbian, and her bisexual, allergic to cats, BFF.
Watch it Now
It’s not too late to watch the short series. The four episodes are a quick dance through a slice of New York queer life. Will Kait self-sabotage herself? Will Nic scare off women by coming on too strong?
Check out season one of Kait & Nic.