Celebrity

Kim Fields About Her Life, Career and Family

Kim Fields credit:

The journey from child star to accomplished adult actor is a path that many in the entertainment industry struggle to navigate. However, there are those who manage to transition seamlessly, and one shining example of this is Kim Fields. Pop Style TV’s Lauren Conlin had the opportunity to speak with Fields about her life, career, and family.  Having burst onto the scene as a child actor, Fields has not only maintained her presence in the industry but has also flourished and evolved as a performer, director, and producer.  Her breakthrough role came when she portrayed the endearing and memorable character of Tootie Ramsey on the hit sitcom “The Facts of Life.” The show, which aired from 1979 to 1988, followed a group of girls at a boarding school, tackling both comedic and serious issues. Fields’s performance as Tootie showcased her comedic chops, charm and charisma.

Transitioning from a child actor to an adult performer is a challenging endeavor. However, Kim Fields managed this transition with grace and determination. After “The Facts of Life,” she continued to work in the industry and became a regular (Regine Hunter) on the popular 1990s sitcom “Living Single,” also starring Queen Latifah. In this series, which just celebrated its 30-year anniversary, Fields played a character highlighting her comedic talents while also tackling more complex social themes. This role solidified her status as a sought-after adult actor in the industry.

Kim Fields

Kim Fields
credit: the everett collection

Today, Fields continues to act in television series and films, and has her own coffee company called Signature Blends by KF. Read Lauren Conlin and Kim Fields’ interview below:

Lauren:
Hi, Kim.

Kim Fields:
Hey, good morning. How are you?

Lauren:
I’m doing well. How are you doing?

Kim Fields:
I’m doing so great. Thank you.

Lauren:
Yeah, of course. I’m so happy to talk to you, Kim. I’m just in awe of you. You were so cute on ‘The Facts of Life’. I guess you can’t talk about that stuff because of the strike, but I just wanted to tell you that I’m so impressed with you.

Kim Fields:
Thank you. Thank you very much. I really appreciate that. Thank you.

Lauren:
You’ve been in a lot of news/media articles that I’ve read personally just talking about how you were able to navigate the life of a child actor and avoiding some of the pitfalls that they have. So, if you can just add to that a little bit, I would love it.

Kim Fields:
Sure. When I was growing up, I had determined very, very early on, maybe around eight or nine but definitely by age 10, that I did not want to be a statistic. I felt like I owed my village. I was always keenly aware of it takes a village to raise Kim Fields. And so, I never wanted to do anything to disappoint or disrespect my village. I felt that they were owed way too much. And so, I knew that I didn’t want to fall into some of the pitfalls. Again, no shade, no disrespect, no judgment, because some of the pitfalls are justified. How do you go from making a lot of money as a child to nobody really is checking for you anymore? How do you go through that as an adult?

Lauren:
Yeah. Totally.

Kim Fields:
So, making sure that I stayed as rooted, as grounded as possible… That’s not to say I didn’t have and don’t have my bad days, my bad seasons, my challenging times, and things like that. But it’s how you go through what you’re going through, and again, leaning on my village and being able to hold onto my faith. But also, we all talk multitask. That’s why the Lord says an idle mind is the devil’s playground. My mind rarely becomes idle. I’m not going to sit still and let grass grow under my feet and certainly not going to wait for somebody to ask me to do something or be a part of something. If I’m not in the room where it happens, then I’ll make the room where it happens. If I don’t have a seat at the table, I bring the table and the chair.

Lauren:
I love it. Oh my gosh. Honestly, I’m going to use that. If I don’t have a seat at the table, I’m bringing my own seat.

Kim Fields:
Absolutely.

Lauren:
No. That’s great.

Kim Fields:
Sometimes you have to bring your own table first before you can even bring a seat for somebody else’s.

Lauren:
Yes. No, I really love that.And forgive me for not knowing this. But, you have two kids. Did they ever say to you, “Mom, I want to be an actor,” or are they actors? I’m not even sure.

Kim Fields:
Well, they both have been in two of my Christmas movies, and then our youngest was in another movie when he was four. And so, they like being on the fringe of it. But they are inundated with it so much by my life and lifestyle, and they certainly know who their mom mom is to the industry, my mother Chip and their Auntie Red, who’s Alexis, my sister, and the work that we’ve all done. So, I feel like we understand how to navigate and raise; again, just raising good human beings if the entertainment industry is a path that they want to go down temporarily, full-time, what have you.

Lauren:
Yeah, that’s incredible. It’s interesting to really think about just you doing this as a child. You started when you were nine, and the whole industry is like a mind F, if you will, just because it’s like you go into these auditions and people are judging you based on your looks, based on how you speak etc. That’s enough to give anybody issues to work through. You know what I’m saying?

Kim Fields:
Very much I know what you’re saying, because I live it.

Lauren:
I know.

Kim Fields:
Oh, yes, I know what you’re saying. Blair Underwood, I call him one of the pillars in my village, and he has been for decades. And Blair, years ago, we were talking about exactly that with auditioning and things, and he said, “You have to flip the script so that you work on and focus on the things that you can control.” For example, if you wanted to be off book knowing all the lines for the audition, or, hey, I want to try something different with my comedy, or I want to do something different with my style, a drama, I want to feel more engaged on camera in my auditions, just finding things that you can focus on so that it doesn’t become, “I got to book this job. I got to book this job to pay the bill. I got to book this job to feed my kid. I got to book this job.” And in that way, the pressure isn’t so hard.
Because very few people perform well under pressure, especially if you’re doing something creative versus doing something that is more muscle memory where you’re trained to perform under pressure. So, you’re right in terms of that level of judgment, that level of you can have the skillset perfect, but there are external components that you have no control over.

Lauren:
Yes, exactly. Personally, I did a little bit when I was younger, I feel like it’s 70% you don’t have control over. And maybe 70 or 80% is like… I don’t know. That’s what I gathered, but you’ve obviously lived it. I know that it’s been, gosh, it’s so crazy, like 30 years since Living Single premiered, which is incredible. Congratulations.

Kim Fields:
Thank you.

Lauren:
Do you still have a relationship with the cast? Just curious.

Kim Fields:
Absolutely. Yeah, the six of us and Yvette who created the show, we have this wonderful text thread that is exclusive to the six of us and Yvette, and it’s great. We’re all still very much in touch. We talk almost on a weekly or biweekly basis. We’re always so connected.
And the same with really most of my castmates from shows, movies, projects. You become a family. And so, I love nurturing that. Just because we’re not working together like we were and putting in the kind of hours that we were when we worked together, it’s like somebody who retires, you still have lunch with your girlfriends from your department or you’ll still hang out with some of your coworkers even after you’ve retired. I feel like with that, when you develop those kinds of bonds, that chemistry that people talk about, whether it’s the current work that I do or the shows I’ve done in the past, that chemistry, you can’t manufacture certain things. People smell it a mile away and they want nothing to do with it, and they can’t get invested in it the way that they’ve gotten invested with the shows that I’ve been blessed to be a part of. So, just because the cameras aren’t rolling and because we’re not there, we’re still all very much connected.

Lauren:
I think that is pretty much every fan’s dream, what you just said. It really is. It’s like all of our dreams come true to know that you guys all talk, that you’re all still friends. I love it.
And just because I only have a few more minutes, I want to hear about your coffee brand. Because I’m a mom, I obviously am obsessed with coffee. I drink way too much of it as you can see. It’s early and I’m like, [inaudible]. So, please tell me all about it and where I can get it.

Kim Fields:
Sure. Well, what you were saying about just how precarious some of the aspects of the industry can be from the actor standpoint, that’s one of the reasons why I learned to direct, produce, write, edit, wearing all these different hats so that I become more of a valuable player in the game. But that being said, my mother taught me when I was very young, make sure you have a backup plan that has nothing to do with the entertainment industry. Make sure you find something to do just in case. Just in case. And I developed a love for coffee, I think most people when they’re in college, you need it from that utilitarian aspect of I got to get through finals, or I got to get to class, I got to stay awake in class, whatever. And then, it becomes an appendage to your life and lifestyle. For me, that’s where it started in terms of the idea of it. And when my mom said, “Have a backup plan,” I knew that I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and something that would make me a global citizen and a global business woman. And so, working with over 36 countries from around the world, the coffee bean belt, it’s just amazing. And to work with different growers and farmers as well as with our teas and the tea leaves that we curate and work with, I’m very excited that the brand has been going on for a few years now, Signature Blends by KF. Every blend is like another character of mine. I love the response that people have to the coffee, to the teas, to the dry rubs that they may use for grilling or cooking, the face and body club that’s plant-based and coffee-based when they’re having their self-care moments. I feel like I’m a part of other slices of their life and lifestyle the way that I have been for so many years as an actor, a director, a producer, and even now with new works that I do.

Lauren:
Wow. I had no idea that it extended to face scrub and body scrub. That’s so awesome. Where can we get it? Where can we find it?

Kim Fields:
Sure. We are an exclusive online boutique, signature blendsbykf.com. Signatureblendsbykf.com. We are actually about to pull out of our vault as we do every year for the fall, our fall collection, which is a beautiful curation of teas and coffee that celebrates all things Harlem. Our fall offering is called the Harlem Collection. It’s only available in the fall, for fall, and celebrates all things that are my hometown and my heart, Harlem. We have the Ellington tea collection, the Baldwin blend, the holiday blend, the Langston blend, the A Train, the Savoy blend, which is a nod to the great Savoy dance hall, because my grandmother, who was a dancer, danced at the Savoy.

Lauren:
Oh my gosh. I love it. I live very close to Harlem, so I love that. I’m going to put that in the notes section of this, where to get your coffee, the Signature Blends.
I’m so happy for you. This is so awesome. You are making it happen.

Kim Fields:
Thank you.

Lauren:
Yeah. So Kim Fields, thank you.

Kim Fields:
Thank you.

Lauren:
Thank you so much for coming on the show and just sharing all of this. I really appreciate it.

Kim Fields:
Thank you very much. One more thing I forgot to tell you guys-

Lauren:
Please.

Kim Fields:
So, my YouTube channel dropped a few weeks ago. It’s called Refresh.

Lauren:
Okay.

Kim Fields:
You can see conversations that I’ve had called Refresh by KF. But, my channel is called Refresh. We have a new show on there called Expeditions by KF, which is some adventure and travel that I’ve done. Episode one is already on there. And we have a new show dropping with a Brooklynite whose name is Woody. He’s a mixologist. He has his own bartending services. And so, that show is called Mixologist.

Lauren:
Okay.

Kim Fields:
When you subscribe to our Refresh channel, again, Refresh, that channel will have our conversations, my expeditions, and then our new series Mixologist, which is a new follow doc series following the lives of a handful of bartenders.

Lauren:
I love it. That is so cool. It’s like you are making it rain with this strike that’s going on. It’s like for you, it’s whatever, here we go.
But anyway, yeah, congratulations. I will note all of that so everyone can go to your YouTube channel Refresh and they can buy your coffee and watch everything you’re doing. Thank you so much, Kim Fields.

Kim Fields:
Thank you. Have a great day.

Lauren:
Bye.

To order Kim’s coffee and other products: https://www.signatureblendsbykf.com/

To visit Kim’s YouTube Channel, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS4zEZ2WvN4MKlzCqdTZbbw.CREDIT/THE EVERETT COLLECTION

About author

Articles

Lauren Conlin is an NYC based entertainment & news reporter/writer, host & producer. Lauren was most recently WABC Radio's News Anchor & Entertainment Reporter, gracing the airwaves 6x a day! Currently, Lauren is a contributor for SkyNews, NewsNation, Newsmax TV & recently made her first appearance on Fox News discussing Adele's new album! Check out Lauren's weekly entertainment & news podcast, 'Lauren Interviews' (formerly Red Carpet Rendezvous) wherever podcasts are available. twitter: @conlin_lauren
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