There’s not usually a lot to be said about those that step into and then right back out of show business since Kristin Darnell, born Kristin Holby, has been a model and an actress throughout the short career she had in the industry, as despite being lauded as an actress with credits under her belt she has only two movies to her name that occurred in the 80s, and it’s fair to say that a lot of people are only going to remember one of them that well considering who else was in it. It almost feels as though she dipped her toes in the water and then found out it wasn’t quite what she wanted so she took off when she found the first chance, since two movies and a modeling career isn’t exactly a stable career, but it definitely can’t be seen as anything that might actually be called a successful run either. On top of that, the one character that she was known for in Trading Places was kind of a stereotype that a lot of people might agree was necessary for the plot, which it was, but also wasn’t exactly the best role in the world since it felt like a lot of hot air and not enough substance.
The character I’m speaking of is Penelope Witherspoon, the love interest of Louis Winthorpe III, played by Dan Aykroyd. She was definitely good-looking and played the part of a rich young socialite, or debutante perhaps, to a tee, since just listening to her speak was enough to make a person roll their eyes and wonder just how disconnected some folks really are from the reality that sits outside their door. Penelope was the type to praise her man for standing up to someone that was said to be trying to steal the payroll from a bunch of wealthy investors when in truth Louis didn’t look where he was going and was knocked down on accident by Billy Ray Valentine, played by Eddie Murphy, before hollering at the top of his lungs as he called Billy Ray a thief. After that he chased after Billy Ray within the club where the chase took place, staying well behind the police and acting superior when the ‘thief’ was caught. But the way Penelope spoke it was kind of easy to assume that the ‘danger’ of the moment was making her a little hot and bothered. The fact that she whispered to Louis that she wanted him, with Coleman the butler in earshot, was kind of cringe-worthy since it strengthened the idea of entitlement, as did the look she shot at Coleman, perhaps thinking that he might have been listening in.
When Louis was set up and sent to jail however her tune changed quickly when she came to pick him up since he’d been sent in as a thief and then upgraded an angel dust (PCP) dealer which made things worse up until he made bail. The fact that Penelope left him on the steps of the police precinct after Ophelia, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, accosted him and acted like a strung-out junkie due to being paid to do so, was enough to make it clear that as invested as Louis was in her, she didn’t really feel the same. It also had to be mentioned that her ability to bring up Louis’ rival Todd was enough to get his blood up, but it also felt like something that Penelope did because she had something going on the side with Todd, as was evidenced when Louis showed up to the club and Penelope had already become quite friendly with Todd, who informed Louis that he should just leave. The movie was kind of brutal when it came to her character since she wasn’t faithful or trusting in the least, standing out as a character that would move on to the bigger, better deal any chance she got as she was in it to get what she wanted and to heck with everyone else. But it worked for the movie and that’s what counted as she would eventually be phased out of the movie as well. It might have been nice at the end to see her and Todd experiencing some sort of financial or relationship trouble, but it might have been kind of petty as well.
As far as what happened to Kristin after the 80s it’s not really known since there isn’t a wealth of information on her when it comes to the internet, which is kind of odd to say. But some folks did manage to cruise by under the radar as their lives weren’t put on blast for everyone to see. It’s kind of easy to see how that would work when she was only two movies for the entirety of her career as well.