Hey Amber 🙂 You are definitely a force to be reckoned with in the industry for your role in Hulu’s newly released series “The First”. Can you explain the process of how you got this role?
My experiences in getting roles have been quite unique and diverse. For “The First “, I recieved a request for a Director Skype call back the very next day after my audition. I had been visiting my sister in Texas, so I went to a company I selftape with when in Texas, called Hartt & Soul. I visited with one the the Directors, Agnieska Holland, and she gave me some redirects and asked me to retape and send it to her directly. I recorded the redirects and from there we left to go do something with my Sister, Nicole. She’s special needs and we often drive a long distances to go find something unique to do with her. We had literally pulled into the parking lot of our destination after a 2 hour drive when Angieska’s office called requesting us to go back in and tape a couple of other scenes. We turned around, drove the 2 hours back to Hartt & Soul to tape again and negotiated a lot of sushi for my sister who had to wait even longer for her fun date. We submitted the second tape for the day, which was 3 total tapings in a 2 day period and went off to have a fun date with my sister Nicole. On the 3rd day, I got the call that I had been cast in the role of Amanda Ingram. I was so excited! This was definitely the fastest casting experience I had been through. The cool thing was that there was a new director every block so not only did I get to work with Agnieska Holland but I also had the pleasure of working with Ariel Kleiman.
Can you explain the character you portray?
I was Amanda, the daughter of the female lead, Laz Ingram, Natascha McElhone. She’s the scientist leading the creation of the Mars mission, and an incredibly amazing woman. I am really thankful to call her my English Mummy. She will always have that special place in my heart, I’m so grateful to know her. My character is more reserved a little bit of a people pleaser, Amanda always behaved well and wants to make her mom happy. My brother character, Devon played by Alex Rubin, on the other hand was a bit of a rebel who danced to the beat of his own drum. He had no problem standing up againts Mummy. Funny enough we were twins who looked nothing alike. This made me so curios to know if we would meet Dad in season 2. Throughout the series you could tell Amanda wanted to try to be a little more wild like Denise Hagerty, Sean Penn’s daughter. Amanda was mesmerized by her confidence and secretly wished to be cool like her. Denise was played by Anna Jacoby-Heron and honestly even off screen Anna was definitely the cool girl, I found her to be pretty amazing and wishing I was that cool. I feel super blessed to have had the opportunity to work with her.
What do you think makes this show standout from other shows that have been aired on Hulu recently?
There are other Mars related Sci-fi dramas, but I think the cool thing about The First on Hulu was their very realistic approach to telling the story. We were 20 years in the future but not so outlandish that it was hard to conceive these things actually happening. Yes science and technology had advanced but not with floating cars and computers in our brains and androids. Don’t get me wrong all of those things are incredibly cool, but the way in which Beau Willimon and his team portrayed the future it was believable and completely possible even now. It made you feel that “THIS” scenario could truly happen. We had electric cars and really cool glasses with computers in them, which is so attainable in our new Virtual Reality world that we live in now. It made it hit home even more, this future really is around the corner, we really are killing our planet, and collinizing Mars really could be our future. Thinking about this really intriguing story that Beau had created in our minds is what led me to write my song Supernova which I was excited to release following the release of The First. You can find it on Spotify and YouTube I’m really proud of how it turned out, being my first official single release.
What do you like most about being on a show that’s aired on Hulu?
It’s an honor to be part of such a major network as Hulu, they are really amazing and supportive. This was the First ”A” list project I had been on and they truly invested a great deal of time and energy to create this highly detailed story. The hard work and attention to detail was really impressive and I’m really glad I got to see it first hand. I remember when I got the role, my Manager Clarina Knowles, from Randy James Management told me that this was the “big time”. I felt this was a pretty exciting project but My mom and I we unsure how to react. I mean we know what small time and medium time felt like and that’s pretty awesome but what’s the big time we don’t know. So we were just, “ok thanks”. Then when I arrived in New Orleans and checked into my 600 square foot suite…. I was so excited. I was running around my suite with my arms stretched out like was on the sound of music shouting “This is the Big tiiiiiiiimmmmeeee!” That’s when it hit me. I am on a really cool “A” list production. Each day I was so impressed and felt so blessed to experience such an amazing set, cast, crew and an amazing collection of director’s. I think my mom and I said thank you 100s of times during this process, what an experience to last a lifetime.
What’s been your thought about the viewer support of “The First”?
Every show has their challenges, and unfortunately The First hasn’t recieved enough attention to warrant a second season at this time. I still remain hopeful that they change their mind because honestly I’m dying to know what happens next. The way they created the show and provided all the actors with information was really interesting, it created a sense of need to know more even for us. They would provide us with just enough script to get our lines done but not enough for us to know what everyone else is doing. In fact at the end of the night we would find ourselves sitting around the hotel pool asking each other “do you know what’s happening” or in the case of Lawrence, (Brian Franklin’s character) “do you know who you’re supposed to be?” And the answer was always “no, not really” which created this anticipation of excitement to start the next day and get a new piece of the puzzle. I found it really fun and exciting and found myself always wanting more. I couldn’t wait to get to work the next day.
Can you spill any details on what the supporters can look forward to next season?
To be honest I have no idea what season 2 would bring, however there were hints of some really amazing locations over seas for Mars, which would have been amazing. One time there was someone on the crew bus talking about designing next season vehicle for Laz’s family to live in. That was a really exciting concept and left me wondering why we would possibly be living in our car. Did something happen to earth and we needed to get out fast? Or maybe there’s a revolt against the Mars program and we all had to escape and hide out in the car. All these prospects left me excited and hoping that I could use some of my martial arts and marksman skills to protect my home/car in season 2. Wouldn’t that be cool, besides my Marine father has trained me well and I’m just dying to play a role where I can show off how tough I can be, lol! Besides, my sister Nicole, who makes me play barbies with her every night that I’m with her, is upset. The First, much like my stories I create for her, has left her on a cliff hanger and she NEEDS to know what happens next. I’m tempted to make up my own story of season 2 for Nicole’s Barbie time so that I can give her some closure Lol! Maybe Hulu will take pity on my story telling skills and bring back season 2.
What’s it like working along side well known actors Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone?
Working along side Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone was one of the greatest experiences of my life. These two incredibly amazing and powerful actors took me under their wings and taught me how to fly in a whole new way.
The two of them had a bond that was full of fun and sibling rivalry at its best. They would banter back and forth on who I belonged to, and then use my like monkey in the middle to tease each other. Sean would say “go tell Natascha…” I would and then she would say “go tell Sean …”. The two of them put me through so much improv that I wondered if I performed more of screen than on. It was amazing and I loved every minute of it. Being in this career we’ve chosen is both humbling and awe inspiring.
Are there any other acting projects in the works you can tell us about?
I am currently working on about five songs with my partner/producer Lucas Bakker, which we hope to release this year. One and possibly two of my songs are being used in a movie shot this year where I have a small role. I am also doing some work with a Virtual Reality project that sounds promising and I will share more about that when I can. As always we are working hard to grow The Smile High Club which is the charity I am a part of with our founder James Churchman. We take a day where we celebrate kids battling cancer and other life threatening illness and empower them to fight like heroes. We are excited to be planning some great upcoming events.
Did you have a favorite role you played? If so what was the role and why was it your favorite?
I’ve loved all my various roles, but I think if I had to pick one, I would say my role as Cassie in the short film “One In” Directed by Vasha Narace. I loved this experience for or a couple of reasons: I got to get really emotional with this character and when the director heard me sing just for fun, she got excited and wrote 2 songs for me to sing in the film. From there, my singing career began and it was a snow ball effect of great introductions and great experiences.
What social media platform do you use most to stay connected to your fans?
I would have to say that Instagram is what I use most, then Snapchat as well as Facebook. I’m growing my knowledge and experience on YouTube and excited to learn more. My focus when I’m with someone is quality time not techno time so I have to admit that most of my friends are far more skilled on social media than I am. I usually text my friend to ask her what most texting acronyms mean. It’s pretty entertaining when I guess what the texting acronyms mean.
What was the craziest fan encounter you have had?
There were 2 really amazing fan encounters for me as an actress, the first would be while in New Oleans filming The First. I was exploring the French Quarter on one of my days off and my mom and I popped into local well known dive for crawfish. The owner/managers recognized me from my role in Jurassic School on Netflix. They were super excited and told everyone in the restaurant. They gave me little dinosaurs toys they had and everyone took pictures with me. That was fun. The other happened twice at the red carpet premiere screening of The First and at a singing performance, where fans called my name asking for my autograph. Honestly the first time it happened at the red carpet, I was looking around and behimd me saying “ is there another Amber, who is she, I want to meet her. Then they said “you Amber, Amber Patino… we want YOUR autograph” that was really cool and of course then I was a little prepared when it happened the second time.
Then as a singer, the best experiences would have been when I was performing at the Team1rhr Unity Conference in LA, I sang 3 songs Supernova, which is steaming everywhere now, and 2 new songs I hope to release this year. The crowd was so supportive and cheered me on, at one point they reached out their hands yelling “we love you Amber” and they cheered as I touched them back. Now granted most of the audience were my friends, but I felt the love and support so strongly that it was very empowering. I had half I mind to dive out over the audience and crowd surf, but the fear that I might have fallen on my face and swallowed the mike convinced me not too. Lol! My other favorite singer moment was when I was recently performing at the Miles Of Music 5K charity event and while I was singing, Sterling K. Brown left the VIP tent to come into the audience to listen to me and he danced to my music like he could feel it in his bones. What a compliment! I want to create through my acting, singing and art something that stops people in their tracks and truly makes them feel.
Any last things you want to tell your supporters?
I feel truly blessed to have the support of so many amazing people, thank you all for your encouraging words and support. I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have been given to pursue my dreams and I truly hope there are many more opportunities to come. I feel that as long as you are doing what you love, and staying true to yourself the blessings will come. If you then use that blessing to bless someone else, think of how much more fruitful your life and the world will be. I always say “eight hugs a day keep you living”, have you had your hugs today?