Kristine Froseth Is Not Your Girl Next Door
The “Looking for Alaska” star has been digging deep for her widely-anticipated role.
Kristine Froseth is everything but the girl-next-door. The warm-hearted actress has a smile you can hear through her voice, but with a list of favorites including Paul Thomas Anderson and Rick and Morty, she could find herself at home in the dorm of any film major—or on any set. In the midst of New York apartment-hunting, Froseth dropped V a line to discuss her most anticipated role to date, what she looks for in a script, and how she maintains her mental health in a hectic industry.
Although the 23-year-old got her start in Netflix titles like Sierra Burgess Is A Loser and The Society, she’s poised to take off in the titular role of Alaska in John Green’s adapted Looking for Alaska miniseries, opposite Charlie Plummer. Having first auditioned for the past five years earlier, Froseth has grown up with the character along with its intended audience, poring over the novel, again and again, discovering a new takeaway each time.
“I read the book for the first time when I was a teen and I really fell in love with it then,” Froseth shared. “What John Green does so well is he puts those thoughts and feelings of what you’re going through as a teenager and he puts those [struggles] into really special characters, and I think characters that people really relate to growing up. I just really remember after reading it for the first time feeling less alone and really seeing myself in Alaska and her journey. And so when it was going to be made into a movie a couple of years later and I reread it when I was going to audition for it, I was in a different period of my life and I related to it in a different way. And then this time around when it was going to be made into a TV show, I reread it in my twenties. It was just interesting, feeling such a strong connection to her and her journey but also in a different way than when I first read it in high school. What they go through remains so relevant.”
The actress even met with John Green at his own high school to discuss the novel, which was loosely based on the author’s own adolescent experiences. She hopes that fans of the book appreciate the adaptation because they’ve worked so hard to stay true to the original.
“That was really incredible hearing him share his version of it and getting to ask all the questions that I felt like I needed an answer to, but ultimately he just wanted us to trust ourselves,” she said. “He said he’s given us the opportunity to play these characters because he trusts our interpretations of them. He gave us permission to continue on with that, which was incredible to hear him give us the blessing.”
Although Froseth describes her teen self as the quieter, shyer type, she identifies most with Alaska’s internal struggles, recognizing that much of the character’s behavior is a front to cover deeper issues.
“She is just really outgoing and that was definitely challenging, kind of letting go of my own ego and letting loose and being that personality on the outside,” Froseth said. “But then at the core of who she really is, I really relate to her internal struggle. That was what I always came back to when I was struggling with the outside. Because it’s just kind of a facade, a protection that she puts up.”
The result is a sharp critique of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope, which Froseth hopes the film tackles adequately by fleshing Alaska’s character out.
“We also really worked hard to make sure Alaska wasn’t entirely viewed through Miles’ eyes, that she isn’t just a manic pixie dream girl—she’s a real human, teenage girl going through her own journey.”
For her more extroverted moments, Froseth reportedly listened to a playlist including artists like The Killers to get into character. She also found a supportive community onset.
“The environment on the set has been so magical,” she said. “If I had a scary scene that I was worried about, the boys would show up if they weren’t working and just like, ground me and make sure I didn’t lose my mind. It’s really rare to feel a genuine bond and such support, you know. Before a scene, we would do this thing called the ‘drop-in,’ and we’d hold our hands and close our eyes and ground ourselves in what our world was and what we were about to shoot. That was something I had never done before, and it really helped.”
The role of Alaska also ties into Froseth’s passion for mental health awareness, which she often shares on social media. As her schedule has filled up with her newfound fame, she’s careful to set aside time for herself when she can. When she does have time to binge-watch, Froseth opts for either The O.C. or Rick and Morty— familiar shows she can enjoy over and over.
“What’s really helped me is just a sense of not being so alone, and knowing it’s okay to feel this way and you don’t have to apologize to the people around you,” Froseth said of her own relationship with mental health. “By following these pages on social media, I’ve learned a lot about the steps I can take which is so important after a project when I’m really feeling burnt out. I like to just take time away from my phone and kind of get a stricter routine on my daily schedule. With my job, I don’t have a lot of control of what my life and days are gonna look like, so when I do have time off I really like to have some control over it. It helps me get a stronger grounding in reality.”
These periods between projects spent with family and friends, keep Froseth in a good rhythm.
“I love just spending time in nature with people I love and reading a lot, doing really simple things. In the midst of all the chaos, it really helps me.”
As a young actress, the Norwegian-born star is eager for roles that allow her to delve deep into the character’s psyche, passing up two-dimensional girl-next-door types and always searching for a role beyond the love interest. A well-noted cinephile, she admires the styles of Andrea Arnold and Paul Thomas Anderson, directors known for their deeply internal explorations.
“What I usually just look for is really feeling like there’s an actual human heart, that the character isn’t just there for like, convenience,” she continued. “There should be some complexity to it, and it should just be truthful in some way. That’s usually what I want to keep exploring. Otherwise, I think you can get kind of lazy with it and pull the same moves. With Alaska, there’s still so much mystery to her. I’ve read the book countless times, I’ve lived with her for five months on set, and there are still so many things I have no idea about. That’s so interesting when you’re just constantly exploring. That feels real to me.”