Writer, actress and director Kimmy Gatewood talks early love for theater, wearing several industry hats and more

Photo: Mandee Johnson

When it comes to the entertainment industry, there isn’t a hat that Kimmy Gatewood won’t wear.

From the time she was young, Gatewood was drawn to the theater. Performing for her family during holidays helped ignite her passion for entertainment, but as she grew older it was very appealing to be a comedic performer.

“My dad is a contractor and my mom is an accountant, it surprised everyone when I wanted to do theater. My dad is one of 13, so when holidays came around I would put on a show to a captive and willing audience,” said Gatewood. “I think it was when I saw ‘SNL’ that I think I found what I want to do. Do acting, comedy acting. The thing about ‘SNL’ or other comedic performances, you are also a writer and own costume maker, and you’re self-directing. I really like the part of you are creating your world, so that’s what kind of brought me in.”

Gatewood did all that she could to make it in the entertainment space. In 2007, she founded a comedy group called The Apple Sisters with Rebekka Johnson and Sarah Lowe in New York City, and started to build up acting and writing credits. 

“I was waiting tables until I writing for ‘The Morning After’ on Hulu. This was before Hulu had original programming, it was the first one,” said Gatewood. “That was when I was like, ‘I’m a writer now.’ I was hustling bits on ‘Conan’ and stuff, but this was the first time I actively quit my waitressing job. However, ‘Glow’ was when it got sustainable.”

Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, “Glow” the show tells the story of 1980s syndicated women’s professional wrestling circuit Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Gatewood plays Stacey “Ethel Rosenblatt”/”Ozone” Beswick in the critically-acclaimed Netflix series.

“‘Glow’ was one of those projects where I was at a place in my career where I needed some stability, it was going to be my last audition,” recalls Gatewood. “I auditioned with my best friend Rebekka Johnson and it seemed impossible to get, the script was incredible.”

Gatewood and Johnson both ended up getting called back together and were ultimately cast as tag-team partners. 

“The casting director had seen our comedy group The Apple Sisters and brought us in for the role,” said Gatewood. “We thought it was a joke at first It was incredible.”

Gatewood has continued to rack up director credits. She directed and produced the entire first season of “Timeline” (2019), a digital adventure series produced by Will Gluck’s Olive Bridge Entertainment and developed in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, and over the years, she has directed for series including “The Baby-Sitters Club” (Netflix), “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (The CW), “Just Add Magic” (Amazon) and “The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale” (Netflix).

Gatewood has also dipped her toes into the world of podcasting. She initially started one with the Apple Sisters by recording their performances to have online, but in 2019 she launched “Mother of All Shows,” which aimed to uncover what it truly means to be a modern parent in an over-informed world through investigative journalism, comedy, and honest interviews.

“The podcast is doling out advice to friends. It has a series of sketches, one called ‘Milk Factory,’ plus songs like ‘Invisible Mommy’ where I became invisible once had I kids so I robbed banks,” said Gatewood. “Podcasting lets you reach a new scope of people. YouTube for a lot of young filmmakers was a place to put your work out there, you didn’t have to have a network telling you to be on the air. It’s the same for podcasts, you don’t need someone else to do that. You don’t need to do more expensive things, you can upload it right to SoundCloud. It’s a really great expression of creativity.”

As to how she does it all, Gatewood says that she thrives on having so much to do.

“I look back at myself in high school and being in marching band, theater, soccer, student government — for whatever reason, I work best when I’m too busy and multitasking,” said Gatewood. “It takes a great amount of discipline and drive, and I have not emptied my drive out yet. But it’s also about time management and desire and want. If you want it enough, you will work and see this through. There’s nothing more fun than completing a project and showing people, it’s absolutely thrilling to make art.”

Currently, Gatewood’s short film “Navel Gazers” (which she directed and starred in) is on the festival circuit, and it also won the award for Outstanding Sci-fi at the 2021 Micheaux Film Festival. You can also catch her very first feature-length directorial debut “Good On Paper,” which dropped on Netflix this past June.

“There are lots of fun things coming up and I’m really excited to share them,” said Gatewood.

Stay up to date with the latest on Gatewood by visiting kimmygatewood.com or by following her on Instagram @kimmygatewood.

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