We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Lawson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber, how do you think about risk?
When I was a younger artist, I was raised in a very competitive atmosphere. I grew to believe “risk” & “fear” were in the action of me putting myself out there to have others judge me. I actually lost myself in winning first place, actually finding my value in what place I received.
Somehow, without the marks of competition in front of me, when I moved to Los Angeles from my comfortable hometown, I wasn’t able to create a distinction on what risk was. I kept busy, and that to me was giving it all I had. I played my career rather safe, played it small frankly and all the while, I was still able to nab some great bouts of success. It was “great”, I had something to write home about, make my parents proud, friends around me had wonderful things to say and I could convince myself that I was “giving it my all”. From the surface, I still showed so much promise, but I hadn’t even come close to unleashing my potential.
This was before I knew the value of truly believing in myself. I took on training my emotional growth as a priority and something amazing happened. I came to the realization, that I was getting in my way for everything I wanted in my life.
Risk to me is taking action amidst your fears or reservations. Listening for opportunity rather then hearing the limitation.
Something exploded. I started making bold requests, submitting myself to anything & everything & finding comfort in the word no. I can’t be told yes if I don’t ask. What was wild is the more action I took, the more I began to trust myself to go for it. And I heard more “yes” then ever before. I started talking to people I had no “authority” to speak to. I was unleashing my own limitations I put on myself.
Taking risk is in the action. Once I began to take action, truly putting myself out there made me first want to puke, but then made me unbelievably excited to be me. We are bigger than our fears and the success we dream for lies on the other side of consistency.
Now all the while I could tell myself the narrative “if only I had learned this sooner” , “ I wasted X amount of years here”, I chose to believe all of this is perfect. I believe taking ownership of our past is the bravest thing we do emotionally as humans. Fear is a human experience, creating the actions in spite of that fear, to take consistent risk, that is truly a skill that takes time to harness. And it is a consistent choice. Every day I wake up & choose to be a person that takes risks.
As an artist, we have to grow our talents & emotional capacity simultaneously. They are equally important. You cannot be a star without having the capacity to know you can be one. I came out here talented, but without that lens for who I am. I am growing to meet the needs of the person I am creating myself to be and now can take action towards that. I have frankly never been more excited to say, “I have no idea whats next, but it’s going to be amazing”.
I am just getting started, I am certain I don’t have it all figured out, but I won’t allow myself to get in my way anymore and that’s truly exciting!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Oooo. I love this question. Hmmm, let’s put it this way. I am an aggressive empath. I don’t mean aggressive like mean or pushy, I mean like the energetic pursuit of being. I am wildly present with people & aware of what someone needs & is looking to create. As an artist, this information became power in two things: networking & immersive theater.
I have been an immersive theatre actress for over ten years. I have a knack for getting people to play & participate in their lives through the vessel of acting in a way that makes them forget the noise they hear every day. Their to do lists, fear of judgement, outside stressors melt away. It’s an amazing gift and has been the worlds greatest day job a girl could ask for while pursuing Film & TV. I have become a mentor to other actors looking to create that same experience for people. From traveling the world performing & mentoring the craft, coaching Immersive Theater workshops to Directing a team of actors here in LA & even taking the craft to leading an Off Broadway Show, it has been something that has focused my craft & helped me become very daring in other mediums I love. On camera, this awareness helps me connect fully with the character I am bringing to life. I am able to be with & be in their world by being present to the subtleties of the human experience. When we are asked “ how are you today” and we respond as always with “i’m fine”, there it so much more underneath that that I love to help bring to light. I believe the language we use is actually the filter we create, hoping to veil whats underneath so we can always “look good”, “appear strong” in the eyes of the person we are communicating with. To give a truly grounded performance, we have to get under that subtext & bring it through the non verbals of the character. And in the dance world, I love the connection of the body that pours out the eyes. I believe the body paints a monologue through movement and just like in acting there is subtleties that create the moment in the expression.
In terms of hardships, well…. I started off as a dancer, highly competitive at age 5. I was in love with dance, I wanted nothing more than to dance every day for the rest of my life. I faced some rejection in the dance world, mostly revolved around my weight & size. That was hard for a young teen to understand & compartmentalize. I was offered a few incredible opportunities to perform with some of the greatest dancers in the world, only to find out the contingency was “if I lost 20 pounds”. As an early adolescent, I struggled with an eating disorder I kept wildly private. So private, that most people that knew me at the time had no idea I even went through it at all. I was embarrassed. I only ate when other were watching. I would throw out lunches, skip breakfast and pick sweets out of anything I touched. I didn’t permit myself to be young & eat things I craved. I went on my first diet at 12, and no one knew it. It was most certainly a dark time for me, but as a recovering adult I have made it a choice to speak out about it openly, to normalize that this is something we need to take action on in the arts & young teens. Dance actually began to hurt me as I tried to stay within the constraints of what it wanted from me & what I could give to it, and while that could easily become a protagonist narrative in my overcoming novel, it gifted me with my favorite medium of expression; acting. I found acting as a place to heal, but also as a place to find where I was meant to be all along.
My past is chalk full of hardships, as is anyone, and at a younger age I convinced myself that “these are what make you a success story”. I would bear down & deal with them believing that one day, they would be the front of my “why I am here” story. Nope. They helped me grow, they helped me develop, but what I realized is all of those stories, while important & beautiful should never cloud the kid with a dream who stayed motivated & determined through it. I was one motivated kid. I missed countless engagements, moments to play, sleep & a normal social life to go after what I wanted. I swear I came out as a half baked grown up, cleaning, organizing & plotting what I was going to do someday.
Here’s the thing. The best part about me as a kid & even now as an adult is my boundless love & relentless motivation. I am wildly passionate about inspiring kids, empowering friends, continuing to grow & learn… I truly LOVE watching people win in their lives. I’m obsessed with it. I am a big ole Disney lovin’, anything is possible, miracles happen, we can do it, comeback story movie watching junkie. Heck I am even obsessed with the Olympics, because I love a good hometown winning story! I am a Klutzy Glinda type, stumbling through her twenties wanting to look fabulous, but is also an authentic dreamer. I hope to humanize what it’s like to chase your dreams. Add authenticity to what it looks like to create a life you love. To inspire others that they can radiate change if they utilize their beautiful instruments & trust that they are what they need to make it happen.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
OOOOOO okay. There are so many. My entire first year in LA I felt like was one big vacation.
I would definitely say taking them to a few of my favorite restaurants, like Sugarfish, best sushi I have ever ever had, Jinya Ramen, food trucks anywhere we see one & a great Thai spot in West Hollywood. I would love to take them to a Drag Brunch in West Hollywood for SURE & a couple snazzy brunches. No one brunches like Southern California. It’s such a vibe everywhere you go. I would definitely do the traditional things like a good Hollywood Hike, a trip to Duke’s & Malibu Beach, ride bikes along Santa Monica & Venice, Manhattan & Redondo Beach and of course taking them to see movies in all the classic theaters. I would be sure to take them to a couple boutique workouts, our classes are elevated here to make working out like going to a club, and it’s so wild when you are like sweating next to famous people. A night of takeout from Green Apple China Bistro in Studio City & my personal favorite, getting cupcakes from the Sprinkles ATM in Beverly Hills & driving through the mansions singing Weezer at the top of our lungs to satisfy the teen who dreamed of being in a 90s Teen RomCom. We would go to the Peterson Museum because I was love cars, & see the Tar Pits, the Farmers Market, some trendy coffee shops to see people writing their next screenplay, an improv show and make sure we fit in a beautiful day at Disneyland. Oo and the Warner Bros studio tour, because I personally like theirs the best. Basically, we would have a marathon of a trip absorbing every corner of the city we could & always take a path I haven’t taken before because every street is rich in history, film & so much effort. People from around the world have brought their talents, hard work & love to this city & I love getting to experience that with friends.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh mylanta I am going to be so screwed if I ever get on a stage to thank all of the amazing people in my life. I am honestly so lucky. I have the most amazing partner a girl could ask for. My husband Josh is truly a beacon of support & love and is the best hype man around. He has worn a hundred hats all to support my wild ideas & support my vision. My parents. Gosh, they let me dream as a kid, encouraged me & have found ways to support my crazy ideas all along. My amazing sister & best friend, Courtney, has always been my biggest fan, but also has been my foundation of knowing what to expect out of someone who truly loves you & wants to see you win in life. My family is just insane, I could rattle off thirty names of Aunt, Uncles, Cousins & of course my amazing grandparents who are always in the stands. Special shoutout to my Aunt Becky! I also have has an amazing lineup of coaches who have poured their hearts into me, believing in me before I did. Thank you to Tanya, Pirooz, Terry, Phil, Joanne & so so many more. Ooo, I also have literally the coolest friends, they live around the world & are always taking the world by storm. They are hard on me in the best ways & push me to be the best version of myself. Falecia, Micaela, Mike, Jess, Brianna, Amy, Randi, Layne ahhhh the more people I say, the more I panic that I want to say everyones name! Everyone I have been lucky enough to call a friend, thank you for who you are in my life!
Other: I would loveee to give y’all my website to add to this. I am supposed to get it launched so soon. It would be amazing to get that added to it if at all possible. If not I totally understand 🙂 Thank you for this opportunity!!