Quick Stats: Kristen Renton, Actress
Daily Driver: 2002 Chevy TrailBlazer LTZ (Kristen's rating: 9 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Favorite road trip: California coast
Car she learned to drive in: a Driver's Ed car
First car bought: 2001 Ford Explorer Sport
When actress Kristen Renton isn't on the set of FX's "Sons of Anarchy" or studying for college, she often is transporting stray dogs in need of homes or medical attention in her 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer LTZ.
She loves her TrailBlazer, named Bertha, because it offers a smooth ride and drives like a car. "It has the best turning radius I have experienced, whether it be a compact car or an SUV. It's a tank but it's light; the maneuverability is fabulous. I just hit 100,000 miles a couple of weeks ago and she's running like brand-new. I will have this car until she dies on me," she says. "I adore her."
She saved up money she made on her first series, the scripted MTV show "Now What?," to buy the SUV. The only negative about the TrailBlazer is its gas mileage, which isn't great. "I was test driving a lot of different SUVs because I wanted something bigger for L.A. freeways. I was doing a lot of traveling between San Diego, L.A., and Vegas. The minute I got into the TrailBlazer I fell in love. Super comfortable ride, super-comfortable seats, big rear windshield."
It's a far cry from her first car, a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport that she leased for two years. "I hated it, absolutely hated it," she says. "I got mine before the whole rollover incidents fiasco happened, and I would be driving to San Diego and if I went above 65, the whole thing would shake. It didn't feel sturdy. The center of gravity was a lot higher than it should've been. It felt very top-heavy, not stable. I didn't feel secure. I just didn't feel comfortable."
The TrailBlazer is important for Renton's work with Boxer Rescue Los Angeles. Since she has a roomy car, she is often called upon to transport dogs from shelters to the BRLA's no-kill shelter. One time she drove all the way to San Francisco to bring boxers back to their shelter.
"I can fold the seats to give them more space," she says. "They just laid out in the back and were as happy as could be and we brought them back to our no-kill and found forever homes. It's always me because I'm the one with the biggest car, so it comes in handy having that, being able to have enough space for the animals because they're always scared and nervous and you can make a nice bed in the back for them. I've had dogs throw up in my car. I've had dogs pee in my car."
She likes that the TrailBlazer is four-wheel drive, so it's durable for desert or mountain driving. Renton also does rescue work for Tazzy Fund, which rescues anything from pigs to chickens, goats, dogs, and cats, as well as finds foster homes for pets of military personnel who are deployed overseas.
Renton also temporarily takes in dogs that might need extra medical attention, and owns one dog named Roxy. "She's a boxer bull mastiff," she says. "She has her own seat belt for the back seat. It's quite cute. It's a yellow harness. "
Renton has no other cars, but she just recently took an intense motorcycle course to get her license and is looking to buy a Harley-Davidson. The course made her a better, more conscientious driver.
"When you're out there and it's just you without anything around you and you're on the bike, all your senses are heightened," she says. "I look everywhere more often now."
Even though she is on "Sons of Anarchy," which is about a motorcycle gang, that wasn't the reason she learned how to ride. Her father has ridden his whole life and she always wanted to learn.
Car she learned to drive in
Renton grew up in Clearwater, Florida, where she learned how to drive in Driver's Ed. It was a white compact car, but she doesn't recall the model.
"It was a typical Driver's Ed car," she says. "I'm sure I drove around the block with my parents once or twice. They would let me drive to my friend's house down the street or go get Chick-fil-A down the block, but we didn't go out and practice because I was doing all that at school."
Renton had had her license for two months when she drove out to Los Angeles from Florida with her parents at age 16 to pursue acting. They drove her parents' Jeep Cherokee, taking turns on the road trip. After about four months, they drove back to Florida. "At 16, driving cross-country twice in four months with your parents is quite intense," she says, with a chuckle.
Favorite road trip
Growing up, Renton's family was fond of road trips, having driven up the East Coast as well as through the Southwest. But her favorite road trip is drive they took in 2006 up the California coast, with her parents, her sister, and her sister's dog.
"We piled into my TrailBlazer and started in Santa Monica," she says. "We stopped in Santa Barbara and Solvang and went all the way up to Monterey." Once in Solvang, they took Highway 101. "We did Big Sur, Pebble Beach - to this day I'm aching to go back and do it all again. It was beautiful, serene, peaceful, lovely."
"Sons of Anarchy"
Renton plays Ima, the devilish porn star on "Sons of Anarchy," the FX show about an outlaw motorcycle club that just began its fourth season. "This year is a little different because the guys have just gotten out of prison, so it's about relationships being tested now that everybody has had 16 months inside to think about what they want to do when they get out," she says.
Tension builds within the club, and while there will be some good guest-stars, several episodes will focus on the main characters. "A lot of the characters are going in opposite directions, they want different things, when before it was a club based on love and respect for each other, and family and one common bond. It's going to be the best season so far. Wherever my character goes, there is mischief and mayhem following behind. I don't disappoint this year at all," she says. The show airs Tuesdays on FX.
Renton has been busy lately. She also plays Summer, a lead character another show "Strictly Sexual: The Series" on Hulu. "It's a comedy," she says. "I tell people it's 'Friends' meets 'Sex and City.' I play a girl who broke up with her boyfriend and starts dating a girl, so it's got some twists. Hulu just started doing original programming. So this is one of their first series."
Boxer Rescue Los Angeles will have its biggest fundraiser of the year, "Woof and Wine," on Oct. 1 in Los Angeles. For more information on this event, visit www.boxer-rescue-la.com.