Families do it. Friends do it. You and your bro’s do it (sorta). Now, total strangers are getting their hug on from you guessed it -- professional cuddlers.

This new strangely intimate occupation is what motivated actress and creator Kincaid Walker to create her new comedy web series Hug It Out. She’s also brought along a lot of very funny people to snuggle up with during the 6-episode series.

Since I’ve never been much of a hugger myself, I caught up with Kincaid Walker to find out more.

What can you tell us about your new series Hug It Out?

KINCAID: Hug It Out is a six-part comedy series about Gwen, post-divorce and seriously broke, who moves to L.A. and reluctantly decides to become a professional snuggler. The series begins on her first day on the job… and almost her last… when she meets Seamus, a sweet agoraphobic, who wants her to “happy turtle” him — kind of an intense spooning position — fully-clothed, of course. Along the way, Gwen not only starts facing her own blocks and intimacy issues, she meets a hilarious and weird array of snuggling clients; among them, a former nudist, a disillusioned war vet, and a depressed Evangelical wife and mother. The series is funny and silly and also hopefully touching and a bit sharp and cynical.

Is there really such a thing as a “professional cuddler”?

KINCAID: Yes! Amazingly, yes there is. In fact, it is a growing industry and some even consider it a kind-of alternative therapy. I first read about this profession in a terrific article in The Atlantic and became fascinated with what circumstances might lead one (in this case, main character Gwen) to become a professional cuddler (or snuggler), as well as the people who might be willing to pay a whopping eighty bucks an hour for platonic hugs.

Any message you hope fans take away from the series?

KINCAID: Well, I hope as much they find lots of laughs in the series, I hope there is also a sense that we’re all pretty similar as humans, often very vulnerable and lost-feeling, and that ultimately we all want compassion, love and understanding. In the second episode, Gwen is greeted with a plaque at her client Finn’s house which reads: “Spend your life doing strange things with weird people”. And I think embracing that philosophy in its best sense is at the heart of Hug It Out.

Without getting too personal, what’s your favorite part of a hug?

KINCAID: Oh gosh, well I am definitely a hugger in real life. My favorite part of a hug is when you settle into it and can feel the other person’s heart beating. There’s something very reassuring and peaceful about that. With the right person, of course. As much as I’m a hugger, I don’t make a habit of grabbing strangers and trying to feel their heart pitter-patter, ha!

Biggest lesson you discovered working on this project?

KINCAID: This is my first series I’ve created and written, so I really learned what a huge collaboration from start-to-finish it is to make a series. Beginning with the cherished opportunity to work with Jason Eksuzian again as my director and co-producer (I was the lead actress in his comedy series DINKS)… and then from our fantastic crew to our wonderful cast (the amazing and talented Mark Kelly, Parvesh Cheena, Kirstin Eggers and so many others) to our tireless post-production team… One really must assemble a family of sorts and it is up to everyone’s contribution to make the whole work. It was such a pleasure learning the joys of collaboration on this project and having it go so very well.

So, what’s next for both you and the series?

KINCAID: Well, I’ve been recurring on the ABC series, Speechless, so that’s been terrific, and I have a fun role in a scary, psychological thriller, Unforgettable, coming out in April in movie theaters with Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl — something completely different than Hug It Out! As for the series, we are excited to watch Hug It Out be finding this loyal, excited audience and hope to make a second season of it in the near future. I already have so many ideas for season two!

Watch Hug It Out now at: http://www.hugitouttheseries.com

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