Check out our interview with multitalented actress, singer and dancer Samantha Blaire Cutler who can be seen in Ryan Murphy new series, The Watcher and STARZ! number one series, Ghost: Power Book II.
In The Watcher, Samantha plays the overly confident 17 going on 30 year old, Patricia Graff of the deranged Graff Family. Set in the 1990’s, this teenage girl loves her fuzzy cardigans, wispy bangs, butterfly clips, combat boots and men who are just to old for her. This causes tension between her and her already stressed and overly protected father. Pat embraces and uses her sexuality to get what she wants, unbeknownst of the danger it could bring to her entire family. As an avid fan of Glee and American Horror Story, Samantha was fortunate enough to be directed by Ryan Murphy, as well as be apart of this incredible cast and crew. Which includes, but not limited to Bobby Canavale, Naomi Watts, and Mia Farrow. The series adapt to a story from The Cut, written in 2018 by Reeves Wideman, “A family bought their dream house, but according to the creepy letters, they started to get what they weren’t the only ones interested in.” The Watcher is set to come out this Fall of 2022.
On top of shooting this series, Samantha is returning to her role as Becca Weston on the hit STARZ! Series, Ghost: Power Book ll. Samantha plays the daughter of upper East Side finance royalty, who is a fashionista filled with sarcasm and quick comebacks for her older brothers. They come from the world where money is the least of their concern, yet, just like her brothers, she craves a life of her own outside her family’s empire. She often disagrees with their out of touch and non PC behavior. In Season 3, she embarks on her journey for independence and makes connections outside her privilege upbringing, where she releases their worlds might be similar that she originally thought. Samantha plays along side, Mary J. Blige, Method Man, Michael Rainey Jr., Shane Johnson and many others. GHOST, is a sequel to the series “POWER.”
Follow Samantha @sam_blaire
Hi Samantha, please tell us a little about you?
Hey, so my name’s Samantha, but most people call me Sam. I’m an actor/singer originally from Lousiville, KY, but I’ve been in NYC for almost a decade. Even though I’m in my early 20’s, I’ve been pursuing this career for over half my life. Besides being a performer, I love to paint, go hiking/camping, and travel to new places.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Empathetic old soul? I tried not to think about it too hard.
How did you get started into acting?
It all started through dance. I begged my mom to put me in ballet class as soon as I could talk and once she found a dance studio, which would later introduce me to singing, acting, and the world of musicals, I was put into class around four years old. I fell in love with theater and trained/performed around the Louisville area. When I was eight years old, my mom found an open call for Billy Elliot the Musical, looking for young dancers, and after about four callbacks, I received the news that I would be going out on my first professional tour.
How has this changed your life?
If I didn’t have the support from my parents and the difficult decisions they had to make to not only bring me to that audition, but to every class, rehearsal, and show, I wouldn’t be living the life I lead today. Also, the decision that I made at nine years old to move away from home to pursue my dream career set in motion this uncommon life path I would follow. After touring for three years, we made the decision to move to NYC. This is where my love for TV and Film was fostered. Most of my experience had been in the theater so when I started going out for jobs on camera, I had to get acclimated to a different medium. Somehow, the universe graced me with the opportunity to be directed by Jodie Foster in my first television role on Orange Is The New Black. I remember just trying to listen and absorb as much as possible so I could learn from Ms. Foster and the rest of the cast/crew. Every time I step onto a new set, I still get those excited nerves I did all those years ago.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part for me is the collaborative and creative process. Acting, for me, is not a solitary practice. To tell a story not only requires other actors, but also directors, writers, choreographers, camera operators, and gaffers just to name a few. It is truly a team effort to produce these creative works and the fulfillment and gratitude received seeing everyone’s piece of the pie come together to create the whole are unmatched. This leads me to the worst part, which can be the isolation of the audition process, especially in this day and age of everything being online/self-tapes. The majority of this career is auditioning, on your own, without any guarantee of feedback let alone a job or some kind of stability. It can get disheartening and frustrating, but it’s all about committing to yourself to keep showing up and growing because when you do book that job and get to work with all of these creative people, it makes it so worth it.
How do you prepare for a role?
Preparation for me really depends on the role. Playing a superhero is going to require a lot more physical training than a librarian. In the past, I’ve journaled as my character to not only help me get into their mindset, but also create and fill in backstory that may not be in the script. Wardrobe also really helps me get into character because what we choose to put on our bodies is an outward expression of who we are as people. But after all the prep, it’s important to let go of any pre-conceived notions of how the scene should go so you can be present, collaborative, and curious on set. That’s where the magic happens.
Tell us about your work in Ryan Murphy new series “The Watcher?”
As a fan of American Horror Story and Glee, I had the absolute pleasure of being directed by Mr. Murphy and being a part of this new series playing the overly confident, seventeen going on thirty, Patricia ‘Pat’ Graff. Epitome of a 90s teenage girl, she loves her butterfly clips, fuzzy cardigans, and men who might be a little too old for her, much to her strict father’s dismay. Pat embraces her burgeoning sexuality, unaware of the danger it could bring to her entire family.
And about your work in STARZ! number one series “Ghost: Power Book II?”
Yes, I am thrilled to be returning to my role of Becca Weston, daughter of Upper East Side finance royalty. I got the job for the first season right before the pandemic in March 2020 so to be back for season three is super exciting. While audiences have seen some of Becca and her quick, sarcastic comebacks for her older brothers, I can’t wait for people to see and get to know her more this season. In search of independence, Becca makes connections outside of her privileged upbringing that make her realize their worlds may be more similar than she thought.
What other projects you have been part of?
I’ve been fortunate to work on projects such as EVIL, The Comey Rule, FBI: Most Wanted, SNL, and Orange Is The New Black. The summer I graduated eigth grade, I got to play the younger version of Tina Fey in her movie Sisters, also starring Amy Poehler. I remember going into the hair and makeup trailer one day and both of them were in there. I might have been internally freaking out, but they couldn’t have been more welcoming or kind. Those are the moments you never forget.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?’
I would love to play a superhero or villain one day and explore what it means for people to think you’re “all good or bad” when in reality, these supernatural beings are more complex than that binary. I love to play characters that are different than me in their upbringing or struggles because I have to increase my empathy in order to understand and embody a new perspective on the world.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
Memorize your lines so you don’t have to think about them, listen to and study other creatives while they work, and don’t settle for easy. Be kind to yourself, but push past your comfort zone. It is hard, physically and emotionally draining, work and if someone tells you it isn’t, they probably aren’t in the entertainment industry.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
Talent on its own doesn’t mean as much without kindness and adaptability.
What I mean by that is this business is all about relationships. Not only to casting directors, but to the producers and the crew, from director to production assistant to hair stylist and grips. Performing in a play or filming a TV show are huge machines and you have to be able to do your part in harmony with everyone else doing theirs. You have to be willing to work with people, not against them. I’m grateful my first teachers always taught me the importance of teamwork and staying humble.
You have to “fall in love” with the aspects of this career no one likes.
You don’t need to literally fall in love with them, but you have to get comfortable using them to your advantage. For example, I don’t know many actors who like taping/auditioning, but instead of viewing it in negative light, you have to shift your mindset to seeing it as an opportunity to work on your craft and play. Have fun experimenting!
How would your best friend describe you?
I hope they would say that I am loyal, supportive, and a good listener. I know I value being listened to and understood, as most humans do, so I try to model that with my friends. They might also describe me as the honest advice giver because if asked, I’ll share what I’ve learned through therapy that helps me recognize patterns and better myself.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
The Unfinished Journey of the Girl Who Thought She Could.
The title is pretty self explanatory, but if I were a book, it would definitely be one with many empty pages waiting to be filled in by the stories of my life. This career of mine started with a dream and action to make that dream a reality. I can’t really take credit for that, it was all little Sam.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
There’s no need to rush life, enjoy where you are, and stay true to yourself 😉 I didn’t always fit in with other people my age and I was in such a hurry to grow up. Part of that had to do with having adult responsibilities, such as a career and job, but still being treated as a child in other aspects of my life. I try not to live with regrets because each decision has led me to where I am today, but if I could, I would try to make her understand that we don’t need to be anyone but ourselves or prove ourselves to anyone; if someone doesn’t accept that, then they aren’t meant to be in our life.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
I haven’t read it yet, but I just bought The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. A lot of people don’t pursue entrepreneurship or a career of their own making out of fear of failure or judgment. If the title is any indication of what’s inside, I think people would benefit from adopting Manson’s approach to lead the life they want to live, no matter anyone else’s opinions or self-doubt they possess.
What’s next for Samantha Blaire Cutler in the last months of 2022?
Both of my projects will be coming out towards the end of this year so keep a look out for those! I am really excited to be a part of a project on Netflix again and for people to see the rising stakes in our third season of Ghost. I’ll also be spending a month out in LA. I haven’t been in about five years so I’m looking forward to rediscovering the city.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I love roasted vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower with hummus. The key is to season them with as many spices as you want, roast the lemon with the veggies, then do a nice squeeze right when they come out.
And your favorite cheat food?
I feel like my motto with food is “moderation is key”, but White Cheddar Cheetoh Puffs are one of my favorite less nutritional snacks. Also, nothing beats movie theater popcorn with Sour Patch kids.
What is your own definition of happiness?
I had this revelation recently from a prompt in my journal that asked, “What makes you happy?” Through this exercise, I realized you can’t just “be happy”, a state of being that disappears like the wind, but rather you have to be willing to do the things that make you feel this emotion of happiness on a frequent basis. When you commit to this consistency, that’s when you start to feel the long lasting effects of its strength and power. So happiness to me is a commitment to consistency with oneself.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Growing up, I idolized Judy Garland. I’m pretty sure I was Dorothy for Halloween a couple of years in a row. I fell in love with her performance, presence, and obviously her voice. But as I got older, I began to learn of the hardships and demands of her life; she wasn’t always a Hollywood Star and once she was, her life was no longer hers to control. I would love to meet her and not only tell her how much she inspired me to become an actress, but listen to her story, from her own words. If it was someone alive, I’d have to say Jessica Chastain. From what I’ve seen, she’s not only an incredible story teller, but she loves and honors this craft so much by consistently committing to growing and pushing herself as an artist. If I got the chance, I would listen to her for hours speaking about her experiences.
Best advice ever given?
It’s gotta be either “Stop worrying what others think about you” or “Get comfortable being uncomfortable, that’s where the change happens”
Do you support any charity?
I feel that it is my responsibility to give what resources I can to not only organizations and causes that I care and support, such as the Kentucky Health Justice Network which helps to provide safe reproductive healthcare, but also directly to the people who are in need of something important. This is called Mutual Aid. It’s not charity, but rather direct support from people to give what they can to help other people get what they need. That could be gender affirming healthcare, rent for the month, or food for their families. In light of all the tragedy that has happened in the past two and a half years, we’ve lost a lot of our humanity and I believe engaging in this kind of giving and support will make the most positive change in our world.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
In five years, I’d love to be a lead in a new television show, developing and building a character with a great creative team. I’d also love to be a part of an independent film and go to the iconic film festivals, such as SXSW and TIFF. This may not happen in five years, but one of my biggest goals is to be a part of the Marvel Universe, in any capacity. All I can really ask for is more opportunities to grow and push myself as an artist.
Favorite song? Why?
That changes so frequently, especially depending on my mood and what I’m listening to at the moment. I have a habit of getting really into a certain album or artist and then I’ll just listen to it on repeat until I get sick of it. J Cole’s Wet Dreamz is definitely up there because of the complete story he paints with his lyrics. As much as I am a sucker for vocals, clever lyrics always get me. Also, anything off of Rumours by Fleetwood Mac will always be a favorite of mine for their timeless qualities, but recently I’ve been into Beyonce’s newest album. Her song, Plastic Off The Sofa, has the most beautiful runs that I’ve been learning.
What do you think of Social Media?
I have very mixed feelings on social media. On the one hand, I think it can be an amazing tool for self-promotion, connection, and bringing awareness to causes/issues of importance, but on the other, everything is so oversaturated these days. I know the endless, mindless scroll all too well; it can breed this constant comparison of your own life to those seen online, when that’s only the curated highlight the person wants their audience to see. It seems nowadays that the entertainment industry is intrinsically linked with social media. While that can be great for increasing access to the industry, I sometimes wish it wasn’t necessary to have socials and we could solely focus on the craft and the work. That’s one of the things I admire about Jennifer Lawrence. Her career took off before the boom of social media so she doesn’t have it; she keeps her day to day life private, but let’s the work, and certain press she does, speak for itself.
Where we can follow you?
My Instagram is @sam_blaire
Book: I read the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo earlier this year and absolutely fell in love, tears, laughter, and all. But if we are talking of all time, The Great Gatsby.
Quote: “Failure is the key to success” or “You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.” ― Olin Miller. This last one isn’t meant to make people feel unwanted/unimportant, but rather to realize that no one’s thinking about us as much as we think about ourselves, so why bother worrying about our perception? Instead, we should lead the life we want to live.
Movie: Inglourious Basterds, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. I will always remember the first time I saw it; if you know the movie, I was hooked by the end of the first scene. Also, Doubt, written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, has become a new favorite of mine.
Tv Series: Favorite TV series is a little harder because it depends on my mood/what’s come out. I have to admit my guilty pleasure is Love Island, specifically the UK version, but in terms of “regular” series, I’d have to say Moon Knight, Lovecraft Country, Succession, or any episode of Black Mirror. I could name many more because there’s a good amount of shows that push the boundaries of what television can look and feel like nowadays.
Favorite Food: Spicy Tuna with Avocado, Sushi Rice, and Seaweed
Travel Destination: Amsterdam! I’ve been once, but I must go again. Also, Madrid was pretty magical, I’d love to visit other cities in Spain.
Sports Team: Not a huge sports gal, but always have to support the Louisville Cardinals basketball team.
Photo Credit: Matt Tenaglia