Woodbury native, and husband, are Hollywood casting directors
If anyone in Woodbury ever tries out for a network reality television show, they may see a familiar face sitting behind the audition table.
Woodbury native Kat Wolffe is a casting director in Hollywood. Along with her husband, Tazariah, she has worked on such shows as "Supernanny," "The Mole," "Wipe Out," "Intervention" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."
"You get to meet the most amazing people," said Wolffe, a 1997 graduate of Hill-Murray High School. "But it's not like you're necessarily meeting celebrities like you do in other types of casting. When you do reality casting, you meet just every day people who have the most incredible stories -- that's what's so wonderful about the job."
Kat and Tazariah were in Minnesota recently for an open casting call for "Supernanny" at the Mall of America. Tazariah said a total of 65 families shared their interesting family situations.
"We're looking for everybody who has an issue with their children, everybody whose kids are out of control," Kat said. "There's really no such thing as a bad kid, there's bad behavior, and there's no such thing as a bad parent."
"I want to find uniquely Minnesota stories -- hunting families, fishing families, hot dish specialists," Tazariah said. "I desperately want a thick Minnesota accent on 'Supernanny' -- that is my personal goal."
From Woodbury to Hollywood
Wolffe, whose parents, John and Sheryl Rapheal, still live in Woodbury, found her way to Hollywood through a variety of coincidences and occurrences.
While in high school, Kat was involved in the area youth performance company.
"I loved theater always growing up," she said. "I was fascinated by theater, television and that kind of stuff."
It happened that one day an acquaintance who owned a Twin Cities-based casting company needed some help with a project. Kat stepped up.
From there, she did work on local commercials, including Huggies diaper advertisements and locally filmed movies like "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and "Sugar and Spice."
"Amy Adams was a local girl when we did 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' -- she was working at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, so that was really her first big movie role," Kat said. "From there she moved out to L.A. and made a huge career for herself."
After working at Akerlind and Associates casting company for four years, Kat had a decision to make -- become a partner, or try for something bigger out Hollywood way. She moved West.
During her first six months in Los Angeles, Kat worked a lot of commercial casting jobs until she landed her first big break in reality television when she was hired to cast for "Paradise Hotel."
"I was really fortunate -- reality just kind of fell into my lap and it's a huge industry now," she said.
Kat actually met her husband while he worked as a producer for "The Bachelor." The couple both worked in the same ABC studio location while Kat was casting for a show called "Superstar USA."
The couple has since started their own production company, Time & Light Productions, where they produce, cast and develop for television.
"The point of starting our own production company was that we're not going to take anything that comes at us, we're going to do projects that we are really proud of, what we really can invest in," she said.
"We want to do shows that we are comfortable putting our children in front of and saying 'Watch what Mom and Dad do,'" Tazariah said, adding that reality television works best when people play themselves and not someone they believe the audience wants to see.
"The best way to get on a reality show is to unzip your soul, unzip your heart, let me see inside the real you and let that shine -- wear your genuine self on your sleeve," Tazariah said.
Being out in Hollywood, it's no surprise that Kat and Tazariah have had their fair share of celebrity encounters -- the casting directors are very close friends with "Survivor" host Jeff Probst, have attended Kelly Clarkson's birthday party, Jason Statham's wedding and even shared a sauna with Will Smith.
But don't expect the pair to become star struck when they see celebrities walking down the street since it is such a common occurrence.
"The stars out there are just people like us," Tazariah said. "I'm gonna get more star struck by a mom who's a hockey mom."
If your family is interested in being the next family on "Supernanny" contact Kat and Tazariah Wolffe at (805) 558-5913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found on Kat and Tazariah Wolffe, and their production company, at www.timeandlight.net.