We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristin Fione and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristin, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risk is what you make of it. For me, I took a huge risk to go back to grad school at 29 to pursue a career in the film industry. When I graduated, I was older than most assistants, but that’s the position I needed to take to start at the bottom. I began as a temp, and landed at Walt Disney Television, where I met my bestie, roommate, and partner in wine Hayley. We went on a trip to Napa, then began to study wine. It all kind of escalated from there.
Had I stayed in Pennsylvania, I would have never accomplished anything I’ve done so far. I moved to LA blind, I knew no one, and I’ve been able to make a home here, a career here, and now, I’m also a winemaker.
That’s probably the second biggest risk I’ve taken. Winemaking is not easy. And you really don’t know what the end product will be when you start to spend the money on grapes. I only made one barrel because once you make it, you also need to sell it. I was in sales in my previous life, and it’s not a profession I love!
I just released and sold out of my wine within a week. Part of me wishes I made more, but the other part of me also knows that I can make more next year, and I’d rather be slow steady then over commit and be sitting on cases of wine with nowhere to put them.
Honestly, the greatest risks I have taken in my life and in my career have been scary, but they have ultimately let me to become a stronger human being. I wouldn’t change anything.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a production coordinator at Freeform. I just hit my 5 year anniversary. To get here, it was an uphill battle. I’ve had so many jobs in my life time, but hated them all, so I chose to change that. I spent 4 years at USC in grad school, a year working for a former child star in the most toxic environment of my life, then a year temping in entertainment before landing at Freeform. I’d say that working 14 hours a day, being exhausted, and dealing with tempestuous personalities were some of my greatest challenges at first. Being an assistant in Hollywood it not easy. It’s often a thankless job and you have to really keep moving forward knowing that it’s temporary, that it’s the beginning of something bigger. But, there’s also a community of people going through the same thing.
Community has definitely been instrumental in overcoming challenges. When I started my wine instagram, I was introduced to that community as well, and I’ve made some really amazing friends that way as well.
I’m very honest with my story. I’ve always had the support of my family. I know not everyone is that lucky. But, if I want people to know anything, it’s that I’ve been all over the map. I’ve been so. low that I didn’t know if I wanted to go on, and I’ve been so high that I’ve thought, “how can my life get any better?” I’ve been through therapy, and it helps. I’ve leaned on the people in. my life to get me through all of the ups and downs. But each time I’ve emerged stronger, more capable, and ready to move forward even when I’m not sure what will happen.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’d definitely spend time at Vintage Wine + Eats in Studio City. At least one day at Disneyland
Dinner in Thai Town, drinks at Harvard and Stone, a stop in to Jumbo’s Clown Room
A pool day at The Roosevelt Hotel
Little Tokyo for Ramen
Bike riding in Venice and Santa Monica, with Brunch at The Rose and a walk through the Venice Canals
Hiking up to Griffith Observatory
Drag Bingo at Hamburger Mary’s then barhopping in WeHo
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Absolutely! I have to shoutout to Patrick Kelley of Cavaletti Vineyards, he really pushed me to learn more about winemaking and ultimately make my own wine. He’s a great mentor and a friend and probably the hardest worker I know.