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November 17, 2015

Badass Ladies You Should Know: Kate Spencer

Kate Hart
Kate Spencer has long been high on my list of "funniest but also most thoughtful ladies." She's been everywhere: from VH1 to Upright Citizens Brigade, Gawker to College Humor, and Mommyish to Late Night with Conan O'Brien. She also has the greatest basketball team name ever, and an exceptionally cute dog. I'm so excited to share her profile here.


Kate H.: Describe your career(s) and/or current projects. What path(s) and passions led you there?

Kate S. : I'm currently freelance writing and working on a few larger projects that explore topics of particular interest to me, mainly motherhood, mother-loss and grief explored through comedy.
I spent years writing and producing at VH1, doing everything from editing their Celebrity blog to being an on-air host. I love covering pop culture, but losing my own mom to cancer and having two daughters has expanded what I love to write about. Most recently I was Editor-In-Chief of the parenting website

The Kimmy Dribblers basketball team
Kate's team, The Kimmy Dribblers
Kate H.: Do you have any creative outlets? How do they influence/affect your main work (if at all)?

Kate S. : I've recently been doing more storytelling at the UCB Theatre and around Los Angeles. Improv has long been the love of my life, but I am really enjoying learning how to craft a story for stage. It's kind of perfect because I love writing and performing, and this allows me to do both. But writing something to then read and perform organically is a different beast than, say, drafting a personal essay. I've found it very satisfying.

I'm also on a women's basketball team in a rec league here in LA, and I find that to be an amazing creative outlet. It just allows me to express myself in an entirely different way. And I fail a ton, since I'm just learning how to play, so that's always a good thing.

Kate H.: What's your biggest challenge?

Kate S. : Confidence. I struggling with crippling self-doubt. I tend to overthink my work before it's even written, which holds me up from actually just creating it.

Kate Spencer and members of the UCB
Backstage at the Upright Citizen's
Brigade in Los Angeles
Kate H.: Tell us about a time that you bounced back from failure.
Kate S. : I think longform improv comedy is such a great teacher when it comes to failure. If you have a terrible show you have no one else to blame but yourselves. And terrible improv shows are the absolute WORST. The audience suffers. The performers are miserable. It's a total shitshow. Performing weekly (on teams at the UCB Theatre) meant we had to get up week after week and try again, no matter how we did the week before.

Kate H.: Tell us something that makes you proud.
Kate S. : I'm proud that my four-year-old daughter says she wants to be a writer when she grows up. I'm proud when my father loves my work. I'm proud when someone tells me something I've written - in particular about grief and/or mother-loss - connected with them.


Kate Spencer with basketball labeled "feminist"
Kate H.: Did you have any defining moments that galvanized your understanding of and/or commitment to feminism? How does it inform/inspire your work?
I was raised by a feminist who was raised by a feminist. I am so grateful for this. Being a woman and understanding and supporting the experiences of ALL women is so important to me. I'm always learning something new and strive to always be a student of feminism and other women. As silly as it sounds, I've learned so much from so many women on Twitter.

Kate H.: What are the best ways to support other women?
Kate S. : Be supportive. Offer constructive feedback. Take the feedback given to you. Listen. Share. Listen some more. Remember that critical thinking and criticism is not "tearing each other down."
Mentoring, kindness, and supporting other women is so key. Find someone you can learn from and someone you can teach.

Kate H.: What is your advice to aspiring badasses?
Kate S. : You know, I am sure I could think of something to say here, but I want to share some words I read recently that have really inspired me. A magnificent woman with whom I was friends over Twitter recently passed away from cancer. I have been thinking about her a lot - even though we only knew each other over social media - and have recently come back to read this blog post she wrote over and over again. It moves me every time and I have been sitting with her words in the hopes that I might manifest them in my own life. Joanna Montgomery was a badass lady. She's got the answer to this question covered, I think.


Kate Spencer spent seven years as a Senior Editor/Producer/On-Air Host at VH1, where she created original pop culture content for TV and the web, interviewing celebrities like George Clooney, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Kristen Stewart, and Fleetwood Mac along the way. Her writing has appeared on Buzzfeed, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Vulture, Modern Loss, Scary Mommy, The Mid, College Humor and Metro Newspaper, and in books like Gawker's Guide to Conquering All Media and My Parents Were Awesome. She most recently served as the Editor-in-Chief of the popular parenting site, where she covered everything from mother loss to breastfeeding activists on YouTube.

An established performer and teacher at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York and Los Angeles, Kate co-hosts the always sold-out pop culture roundtable Shut Up! I Hate You! with her TV writer husband Anthony King. In addition to being a talking head on TV shows like VH1's 40 Greatest Celebrity Scandals, she's made appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Comedy Bang Bang.

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