Jess: Oh, hello.
Jess: Okay, let's start from the beginning. Where are you from?
Sam: I'm from Simi Valley, California. A lot of my childhood was spent in LA with auditioning so this feels a bit more like home. I know my way around Los Angeles way better than Simi. Even driving to my grandmother's house, I go, "Wait, what road do we turn on again?"
Jess: When did you start acting?
Sam: I was twelve. It was funny because I was very shy growing up, but I always wanted to act. And my mom would say, "No, you have to wait until you're older," like, "You don't know what you're doing."
Jess: Was there an epiphany, "a-ha" moment, of "this is what I want"?
Sam: I always knew — growing up I would always re-enact skits from television. I just liked that performing aspect of it.
Jess: You get acclimated to seeing a lot of people come to LA wanting to make a solid career of acting. You've been doing that for years. Any other career paths that you want to conquer?
Sam: I do feel like I'm at this stage in life where I'm thinking, "What else?" I love acting and I've made a career out of it but I'm kind of like, "Oh, what else could I be dong right now to challenge myself?" Writing is something that does really interest me, but I struggle with the discipline of it — of sitting down and just going.
Jess: I think most writers or artists are like that… I don't feel like anyone has this mystical discipline. But I think art is in large part the work ethic to keep attempting, keep trying things. Sometimes you're very inspired and you have something that is completely bursting out of you, which does happen, and when it does you feel you were born to create this thing and it just pours right out of you. But beyond those times, I feel art in general is this bit and piece thing that you work at until it comes together into something bigger and greater and you're happy with it.
Sam: That's true. It's all piecing a puzzle together.
Jess: Exactly. What are your biggest dreams?
Sam: Well, I think with acting, everyone always asks me what my dream role is, but I think for me it's really just about working on projects that have a good story, characters that are interesting and challenging—something of a redemptive storyline. I feel that's kind of hard to come by. It sounds so simple, but something that makes me feel like, "Oh my god, I just want to share this story." And one of my other dreams is to open up a cafe somewhere.
Jess: That's your thing!
Sam: I'm so passionate about food.
Jess: That's amazing. I'm passionate about eating food. You have your blog, which is of all your delicious recipes.
Sam: Yeah! I've always said I want my own bakery or a cafe. I don't know when I see that happening, maybe when I'm in my fifties or something.
Jess: I'll be there.
Sam: Have you seen the Meryl Streep movie, It's Complicated? She has this bakery in it that is the dream bakery.
Jess: I've seen part of it! I think I was at the Drybar and they played it with subtitles. I think I watched a good 45 minutes of it. It's a rom-com right?
Sam: Yes, with Alec Baldwin!
Jess: Yes! I was actually not wanting my hair to be done so that I could finish watching it.
Sam: That's how it was at the nail salon a few days ago with How I Met Your Mother. I've never really seen that show, but I was so hooked on it. I was laughing out loud.
Jess: You were screaming, "Don't stop! More nails!"
Sam: "More gel!"
Sam: But, yeah, a cafe or a restaurant, something like that in the future. And hopefully I can just be acting until I'm 90 and be killin' it.
Jess: Knowing you, you will be. What are you working on right now?
Sam: I'm shooting a short with my friend in London. I'm trying to get my British accent down for it.
Jess: How exactly do you teach yourself to talk with a British accent?
Sam: Well it's funny because — I don't know if I told you, but I had friends from England in town this last week. So we were going out one night and my friend went, "Just practice! Do your accent for the entire night." And my reaction was, "No." because when I jokingly talk with an accent to [my boyfriend] Nick, he goes, "You sound like you're from Oliver Twist."
Sam: But she's encouraging me, so I gave in and the whole night I spoke with an accent. Initially, I didn't speak much because I was very self-aware and felt like someone would call me out. But by the second place we went to I was just killing it. My friend was yelling, "You are so good!"
Jess: [laughing] So they all approved your accent?
Sam: Yes. I got her approval.
Jess: When I was last in London I had the exact opposite thing happen to me. I was out with a friend and two English guys with these very thick accents came up and they were talking to us for a while and at one point one of them asked, "Where are you from originally?". And we said we were born in LA and all of a sudden, his accent completely disappeared and he went, "Really?! I'm from Studio City." Accent gone! Accent was completely gone, without a trace!
Jess: Yes! And I go to him, "Hold on a second… You came up to us, in London, thinking we were two English girls and you still felt confident enough to talk with a fake British accent this entire time?" And he went "Yep! You nailed it!" It was the opposite of your experience — He was my Sam.
Jess: Ok now, what's your favorite book? Or plural?
Sam: Oh! I'm the type of person that reads tons — like I'm in four books at once and I can never finish. Recently I'm reading this book called Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett. She has this really cool podcast called On Being. She talks to a lot of different authors and she'll speak to monks or priests or just people from different walks of life.
Jess: Sounds rad.
Sam: Yeah! A lot of it is faith-based and that's really interesting to me.
Jess: Favorite film?
Sam: Harold and Maude is one of my favorite movies. I have this poster in my room that is a cartoon image of the main characters. I mean, it's kind of creepy, but I love it.
Jess: I'd probably love it too. Favorite music right now?
Sam: Well, Frank Ocean's album. Oh! And Noname. She came out with a mixtape, Telefone. I've been listening to that on repeat. I go through phases —
Jess: I do the same exact thing.
Sam: Yeah, I just listen to it over and over and over again.
Jess: As if no other music exists.
Sam: Yeah! But it's nice because you get a real sense of the piece. Like as an album, as a collective.
Jess: I agree! And then there's a time when you know it's just done, and I get really sad about that. I feel like, what on earth am I going to listen to now?
Jess: And then obviously you're in love with a musician.
Sam: Oh, yeah, Nick Brewer! He'll be very embarrassed that I said that.
Jess: Well, he's very talented!
Sam: Yeah, yeah, yeah! I do actually have a lot of friends who are musicians and it's so nice when you have friends who make music that you're actually a fan of.
Jess: A million times agreed. What are your thoughts on love?
Sam: I feel like love is a choice. There's that romanticized version of it in movies and TV that can be kind of misleading. An element of that is true, but for long-term love, I think it is a choice. It's a constant thing that you're choosing to love someone.
Sam: You can't just wait for the feeling to be there.
Jess: You have to keep it alive.
Sam: Yeah! I actually read The Love Languages. Have you read that book?
Sam: Really interesting. It's basically talking about how everyone has these different love languages. As in, the way I receive love is different than the way you receive love. So part of having a healthy relationship with someone is learning what their love language is, and being able to speak it. So if my love language is "quality time" and yours is "words of affirmation" —
Jess: Oh! Interesting!
Sam: Because when you are getting words of affirmation you feel loved. But for me if I don't feel loved through words of affirmation, then we're not speaking the same language and that's how you can miscommunicate. You can not feel loved by someone who's going, "No, I love you! I tell you I love you all the time." But you're going, "But you don't spend any quality time with me."
Jess: It makes sense.
Sam: It was a good book. You and your boyfriend should read it together.
Jess: Did you and Nick read it together?
Sam: Yeah! We read it together and then there was a test you can take at the end. I was "quality time."
Jess: Now that you say that, I feel like I see a lot of couples are —
Sam: Missing it! That doesn't mean you're not good companions for each other.
Jess: It's a good way to put it. My boyfriend and I are definitely different in that way. You learn those concepts in a long-term relationship, but that's a much easier way to describe it.
Sam: Oh yeah! The book is just clear and concise.
Jess: I need to read it. Do you have a secret fear?
Sam: I don't know if it's a secret.
Jess: Open fear.
Sam: Yeah, an open fear. I'm afraid of drowning.
Jess: Really? My best friend's afraid of sharks.
Sam: Oh, yeah.
Jess: She won't ever go in the ocean. Sometimes she won't even go in a pool. So she's just water-phobic, I guess. What if you guys both went on to become the next Michael Phelps?
Sam: I was actually talking to my family last night, going "Is it too late for me to become like an athlete?"
Jess: An Olympic athlete?
Sam: [laughing] Yes! I wouldn't want to become a gymnast. Not appealing. Swimming would actually be the most appealing to me.
Jess: You can turn that fear into a gold medal.