We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
For me, risk taking is the only way to grow. As an actor, I’ve been trained in “taking risks” on stage and allowing choices to fail in order to find a better way into the moment. As a playwright, it’s a huge risk to put what I know from life onto paper and ask other people to express it. But it’s also pretty risky to decide to pursue art as a career in the first place. I think that showing up to Los Angeles with no money or friends was just as much of a risk as it was for me to go against my parents wishes of pursuing a more stable line of work. With that said, the connotation that risk equals fear does not stand true for me. In both life and career, if I want to do something, I will do it. No matter how unlikely success may be! I like to call it the “delusional confidence” that I have in myself. That confidence isn’t an idea that I will succeed every time (I haven’t, and I won’t!), but instead I am just entirely sure that I can take a win or a loss and end up better than I was before. I’d rather take big risks and grow due to failure than stay safe and look back once I’m old thinking, “I wonder what would have happened if I had just tried?”
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been acting in school plays since I was a small child, but my parents got the shock of their life when I said I wanted to study acting in college and pursue it as a career. When they saw how serious I was about it, they eventually agreed to support me. One BFA later, I was on stage performing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR for a 9 month acting internship contract. I had plans to get to LA as soon as the show closed, but I didn’t know I’d get “discovered” by my future talent agency towards the end of the run! I showed up in LA the day that I was free, signed with them, and managed to find a studio apartment in the valley. Could I afford it? Absolutely not. I got 3 jobs and got home every night with my hands smelling like shoe leather, but I also got auditions for leading roles on Netflix, HBO, CBS, etc. When I didn’t book anything, they would call me back in for their next thing that I could possibly fit. That was the best feedback I could get besides getting the role, so I would happily go back to crawling around on the floor of the Nordstrom Rack picking up shoes that customers would try-on and ditch. This lifestyle on repeat was not easy, but it was exactly what I was supposed to be doing, so I was very joyful. Then, God blessed me with a new job that would allow me to perform for children and afford LA living. In the 2 years since, I’ve learned that the most fulfilling thing for me is using my art to give back to the community. Amazon Prime Video, FOX, and The CW auditions are so fun and I love building my career in that direction, but seeing the faces of kids as they experience theatre for the first time is a lovely way to spend the day.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I ordered breakfast from Republic of Pie in the NoHo Arts District every day for 10 months of the pandemic, so I’d say that’s a spot that I’d recommend!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My manager, Holly Shelton!
Photo Credit to Jenny Graham on all Oregon Shakespeare Festival images