Happy birthday, Kristen Wiig!

Today is a very special day for our favorite actress, writer, producer, comedian, person – Kristen Wiig – her 40th birthday! To celebrate we got help from Blake, a fellow Wiig-fan, who wrote a piece on Kristen’s career from university student to Academy Award-nominee and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses! Big thanks to tumblr-user spoonful-of-crazy for the hilarious GIF of Kristen Wiig making her “Taylor Swift-face”! Be sure to read the post below and join in on the celebrations by writing a comment! Happy, happy birthday, Kristen!

For Kristen Wiig, taking the required performance class at the University of Arizona, where she was studying art, was her worst nightmare. The shy girl from Rochester, New York who used to feign sickness just to get out of giving speeches was now forced to face her worst fear head on. Surprisingly, Kristen enjoyed the class, and was encouraged by her professor who saw potential in her.

After that performance class something clicked for her, and she began to question the direction her life was going. So she did what millions of young people have done when questioning the direction of their life; she packed her things and moved to Los Angeles, where she began taking acting classes. For a girl who had a single performance class under her belt, taking acting classes in the film capital of the world proved to be too much, and she dropped out. The following years were spent in limbo which included working a series of odd jobs, like waiting tables in the executive dining room at Universal Studios, to make ends meet while she tried to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.

After three years of this a friend took her to a show featuring the improv group the Groundlings. She quickly signed herself up for classes at the Groundlings acting school, and within a few years was a member of their Main Stage cast. In 2005 she scored the audition of a lifetime; to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live. She impressed the show’s producer Lorne Michaels and finally, after 11 years in Los Angeles, she got her big break.

Kristen was brought on shortly after the beginning of the 2005 season and debuted what would become one of her signature impersonations, Nancy Pelosi, in her first episode. Her second season saw her not only make it through SNL budget cuts, but become a regular cast member. She took the opportunity to introduce many of her famous characters including The Target Lady, Gilly, and Penelope. Even as her role on SNL got bigger, she expanded her resume to include small appearances in films like Knocked Up, Walk Hard, Semi-Pro, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It was after she was cast in Knocked Up in 2006 that producer Judd Apatow approached her to see if she had any ideas for a screenplay which would feature her. Wiig pounced on this opportunity and partnered with her friend and fellow Groundlings alumna Annie Mumolo to write the screenplay for Bridesmaids. The film began production in 2010 with a budget of just over $32 million and all female cast, all of whom Apatow encouraged to improvise as much as possible.

When Bridesmaids opened on May 13, 2011 crowds flocked to see the raunchy yet clever female driven comedy. By the end of its theater run, Bridesmaids had pulled in nearly $170 million at the U.S. box office alone. Not only did audiences love the film, but critics praised the witty all-female cast. It wasn’t long before the film, and its stars, were racking up award nominations. Kristen alone was nominated for a Golden Globe, a Writers Guild Award, an MTV Movie Award, a BAFTA, and, perhaps most importantly, an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. During awards season, the film went on to win eleven awards including Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy Movie and an American Film Institute Award for Movie of the Year.

Following the massive commercial and critical success of Bridesmaids, Kristen has emerged as one of the top females comedians in the industry. She has four films slated to come out this year, including the much anticipated Anchorman 2 and two more set to come out in 2014. Not bad for a girl from Rochester who faked sick to avoid public speaking, huh?

About the Author: Blake Meredith is a freelance entertainment and film blogger for DirectTVcomparison.com. During her free time she enjoys quoting Bridesmaids at inappropriate times and long walks on the beach. She lives and works in Chicago with her two hilarious roommates.

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