costar Kirsten Vangsness figure out that she is, as she says, “super queer.” Over brunch at her favorite café in the Larchmont Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, Vangsness laughs as she tells the story.“Season 1 was right when I was coming out,” remembers the 39-year-old actress, who stars as Penelope Garcia on the hit CBS drama opposite Moore (as flirty coworker Derek Morgan).
“It was like one of the coolest things to sit there with Shemar. I had two lines, and they kept making my part a little bigger.
You’re going to hold my hand.” Vangsness says, “I thought maybe that way I can kind of let everybody know I’m [queer].”Although it hasn’t been suggested that Vangsness can’t play straight convincingly, she says the argument is ridiculous when applied to other lesbian actors.
“And it makes you very aware of the fact that people should take parenting classes before they’re even allowed to put anything in their uterus.“Shemar goes to every single play I’ve ever done ever since I’ve met him,” she says.“All of them do, actually.”The daughter of elementary school teachers (dad was band director and an opera singer, as well), Vangsness grew up in Southern California’s theater community but didn’t quite fit in.“Melanie always says, ‘I know we’re ready to leave the house when you’ve pulled out the scissors.’ I’ll be like, ‘I want to wear that jacket, [but] I don’t like these sleeves.’ And I’ll just take scissors to things.”Vangsness describes her on-screen persona as “geek chic, the-smart-is-sexy” kind of girl.“There’s the size thing, the nerdy thing, the I’m going to dress like this, I’m not going to play dumb.I have clothes that I still wear regularly from high school.My mom would give us and she would send us to the thrift store, and I would [buy] a faux fur coat with a pimp-daddy collar and some sort of nature scene polyester dress.” Now that she’s on red carpets — and can afford stylists and couture — the actress is still hands-on with her threads, sometimes to the chagrin of fiancée Melanie Goldstein.“From the time I was about 7 until I was about 13 or 14, I looked like I was Pat from ,” she laughs.“I’m not exaggerating, remotely.”A target of bullies, Vangsness wants to do an It Gets Better video to remind kids that being different is okay — and so is letting your “freak flag fly.” Vangsness says she developed her own unique sense of style: “I dress like a 7-year-old space pilot.The couple have been dating for five years but aren’t walking down the aisle quite yet. If I share my healthcare with you, that’s a bigger deal.”The couple hopes same-sex marriage will regain its legal footing before they tie the knot, but they won’t wait indefinitely. Regardless whether it’s legal or not by then, fuck it, we’re doing it.”Don’t expect her or Goldstein to start popping out babies, though.“There are people who place a high value on marriage and people who don’t,” Vangsness says. A former substitute teacher who once spent 15 hours a day working in a group home, Vangsness says she’s has had her share of children.