Amber Stevens West’s credits on the big screen include 22 Jump Street opposite Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, as well as the recent Lionsgate Janoskians comedy Public Disturbance co-starring alongside Mike Tyson and the upcoming independent feature film Love Jacked.
However, she is best known for her work on the small screen. In the last few years she has had starring roles in two comedy series - ABC’s The Carmichael Show and Fox’s Ghosted.
Amber stars opposite Damon Wayans Jr. in the new CBS series, Happy Together, premiering October 1st. The comedy centers around a 30-something happily married couple who begin to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when a young pop star drawn to their super ordinary suburban life unexpectedly moves in with them.
Amber happens to be the daughter of actor and radio announcer Shadoe Stevens and former model Beverly Cunningham. After graduating Beverly Hills high school, she was determined from the start to make the most out of the journey of becoming an actress. She met her husband Andrew J. West when they both starred on the ABC Family hit television series Greek. They are expecting their first child this Fall.
Juliet: When did you know you wanted to be an actress? What was your first step?
Amber: As silly as it may sound, acting is something I fell into. When I was in middle school I was scouted for modeling. It was only something I did part-time, a fun way to skip class and to start putting money away for my future. About 3-4 years later, my modeling agency opened up a commercial division and they began sending me on commercial auditions. This is where I got my start in acting. My first speaking role was in an Old Navy commercial. You can look it up, it’s pretty funny. Then, through my commercial agent I was introduced to the man who is still my manager today, Robert! He had me come into his office (my mom and little sister were with me) and asked me to do a cold reading. He handed me a scene, told me to go into the other room for a few minutes to learn it and come back when I was ready. I came back, read with another man in the office and then Robert told me that he'd love to manage me as an actress if I was interested. I guess he saw something in me that I never saw in myself. So, I agreed! It was still just something I pursued on the side while I attended community college to study business. When I was 20 I got my first TV series, Greek. I feel like I’ve just been riding this wave ever since.
Juliet: Why acting? Who or what inspired you?
Amber: My father was an actor most of my life. He was on a CBS sit-com during my formative years and I would go watch his live tapings every Friday night. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was watching him do what I eventually found a passion for: Multi-cam sit-com. There’s nothing like making people laugh. I wouldn’t call myself particularly witty but I do have a solid sense of humor. Working in comedy allows me to pretend like I’m actually a funny person! I find inspiration in all actors in the comedy world, especially those who have a natural talent for improvisation. It’s a special talent I have such admiration for.
Juliet: Name your biggest moment in your career.
Amber: I think the first big moment for me in my career was my first lead in a pilot. I was number 1 on the call sheet. It was an enormous responsibility and I felt so privileged to be given that trust. Sadly the show wasn’t picked up but to know that an entire network believed in me enough to give me that opportunity made me feel like I was actually in the career field in which I belonged.
Juliet: How do you prepare for a role?
Amber: I read the script and learn my lines. Honestly, I have yet to have a role where I find it necessary for me to do much more preparation than that. If I were to one day do a bio-pic I would spend time studying the person I’m portraying but otherwise I find that all I need is in a script.
Juliet: What is it like being married to your co-star?
Amber: I find it refreshing to be in a relationship with another actor. We both understand the struggles of being an artist. We are very supportive of one another’s dreams and do whatever we can to help each other. It’s been awhile since we’ve acted side by side though. I would love to do it again! We’re a good team.
Juliet: Your dream role?
Amber: I’m desperate to be in a live musical like the one’s FOX and NBC have been producing. They look like they couldn’t be more fun! I’m putting it out in the universe that I’d like to play Mimi in RENT. I’ve already played the part on stage, I’m ready to do it on TV!
Juliet: In this day of social media, what have you learned about yourself and how do you engage online?
Amber: Social media can be looked at several ways. I choose to see it as something that connects us all more than ever before, and for the better! I like engaging with friends and fans about their interests, likes and dislikes, and sharing a bit about my own! I’ve always been a pretty approachable person and I hope that I come off the same way on social media.
Juliet: Greatest Piece of Advice You’ve Received?
Amber: Save your money! Working freelance is so unpredictable. So many people feel that once an actor has made it onto TV, they have “made it” and they’ll be rich for life. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You never know when your next job is coming, or even if the one you currently have is going to stick around. So be grateful for what you do have and SAVE YOUR MONEY.
Juliet: What’s next for Amber?
Amber: This Fall I’ll be starring on a new comedy television series “Happy Together” on CBS with Damon Wayans. And of course, motherhood!