AE: So what’s happening for Penelope on Criminal Minds this season?
KV: We’re on episode 3 and I’m working a lot, so I’m really grateful for that. I love the people I work with so it’s so great to be able to be with them because a lot of times, in episodes past when I just work one day and I’m just in my office, I don’t get to see them. And when I do, it’s always like first day of school because they all have inside jokes from last week and I don’t know what’s going on, they’re all trying to catch me up and it’s weird. I love them and so I know that episode 8 is all about Penelope.
It’s just fun. It’s so great to have everybody back and it’s a really good job. It’s kind of weird because I know it now so well and I haven’t done anything this long so it’s Season 7 and so many episodes. I’m so grateful on this train, I will stay on this train as long as the train runs.
AE: Are you excited that AJ and Paget are back?
KV: I love them so much. I’m so excited! It all worked beautifully because Rachel [Nichols] is there, she was wonderful. Now she’s on the cover of Maxim and Conan‘s coming out and I know she’s in Detroit right now doing a movie, and she’s rising like a Phoenix. I always said about those girls, and I meant it and it’s true: They will rise like Phoenixes. In my dreamiest world, I never thought they would be back and now they’re back and because of that break, all these changes happened with them and their characters are different so that’s cool.
AE: You have a girlfriend, right?
KV: Yes — a fiancee. We go back and forth because we don’t know when we’re doing it. I don’t know — everything’s wonderful, there’s no problems so it’s like “Meh.” [shrugs] We don’t know if we’re going to wait until it’s legal but we’re madly in love. We’re about to celebrate our five year anniversary at the end of August.
AE: Congrats! What does she do?
KV: She works with digital cinema. She does a lot of stuff that Penelope Garcia does. She works for technicolor. She does a lot of computer stuff — creating iPhone apps and things like that.
AE: How do you make time to see one another when you’re so busy?
KV: We live together so we see each other. It’s sort of like “When are you feeding the dog? Am I feeding the dog today, or are you feeding the dog?” We make time. Right now, because I’m doing so many things at the same time, it gets a little dicey. And it’s girls, so it’s like “I wanna wrap myself around your kidneys and live there!” It’s good.
AE: Have you ever not gotten a job because of your openness about your sexuality?
KV: I always feel so weird about all that because sexuality is such a weird thing. Clearly, I’m with a woman and I love her and I’m super queer and, at the same time, I can totally appreciate guys.
I totally get there are people that are like “I’m only into guys, I don’t get girls.” That’s not where my Kinsey scale lies. I don’t think I’m bisexual. But I’m very “Whatever!” I find all kinds of people attractive. Do I tend to err on the — do I like my boys with makeup on? Yes I do. Do I tend to like girls whether they have makeup on or not? Yes I do! Am I with a woman? Yes I am. So you can deduce that — “Oh, OK you’re a lesbian.” But I sometimes find myself not bristling about somebody else that says they’re a lesbian, but I was talking to [my partner] Melanie a few weeks ago and she hates “queer.” That’s my favorite word. But she likes lesbian. That isn’t my word. That fits me in such a simplistic way.
So I haven’t found that yet. I feel like that’s my job as an actor — that if I was crazy straight as an arrow, that I think — I hope I could wrap my head around it. I find it fascinating with some people — “Really? You don’t find girls even remotely attractive? Really?” I’m very open with my sexuality and I think that’s one of the prerequisites in being able to play all different things. I’m happy with sexuality, period. However, whatever gets you going. Whatever you do, that’s fine. And I’m on this show and I get to flirt all the time with boys and I get to do a lot of things. Also I stretch my muscles in different kinds of ways. Right now I’m in a play making out with a girl, and at work I mentally make out with Shemar, so I do all kinds of things. No one’s going to care. No one’s saying, “I can’t stop thinking about you with a lady!” That’s not going to happen.
It’s absolutely part of my identity. Melanie doesn’t like to go at all to these kinds of things because I usually have to work, but I know when I’m on the carpet I’m just like, “God I want her to be here so I can hold her hand!” so someone can take a picture of us. I’m with her. And like all the other stuff, it’s just fun to do all those different things. It’s not so weird — everyone’s got their own journey.
Criminal Minds‘s seventh season premieres Sept. 21 on CBS.