AMANDA FULLER [ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK]
WORDS BY PHIL LIMPRASERTWONG
Get to know the beautiful soul behind the character that you just love to hate on Orange Is The New Black! Amanda Fuller talks about her journey as an actress and her dream projects.
Find out what her favorite roles have been and what inspires her to persevere in a ruthless industry.
Tell us about yourself in a nutshell.
I have somewhat of an allergic reaction to narcissism , so this is a hard question for me…but here we go! I’m just a human who is lucky enough to do what they love most for a living and constantly trying not to fuck that up. I’m obsessed with exploring this truly amazing planet we exist on. I’m fascinated by human nature and get off on digging deep into what makes us who we are, and believe whole heartedly that compassion is the key to everything. So, some would say I’m definitely a bit of a sap. And I most definitely care a little too deeply about everything. But I’m also a realist and as strong as I am fragile. I’m a flawed perfectionist, a lit bit of a masochist and a big baby all rolled into one. Oh, and my dogs and my family (chosen and biological) are everything to me.
What’s your most memorable audition story?
Well, I’ve been acting for 27 years now- so you can imagine how many auditions that adds up to! Maybe not actually, I don’t even know if I can accurately imagine it, and I’ve experienced them all! Haha. There have been countless memorable ones, I mean, auditions are in a way the fabric of my life. But I have to say doing a chemistry read with Tim Allen to play his daughter for LMS 15-20 years after going to tape nights for Home Improvement (I was friends with Taron Noah Smith who played his son on the show at the time) was a pretty surreal, full circle moment that I will certainly never forget!
What’s the best part of being an actress?
I have a passion for studying human behavior. Acting forces me to try my best to understand other people without any judgement. It forces me to look deeper within myself and work on myself and grow from what I learn. It forces me to play. To never forget to play. The opportunity for connection through storytelling. Oh, and craft service is pretty great too!
What is the best thing that you’ve learned from being a part of OITNB?
How important community is. Working an a show like OITNB where the ensemble is so vibrant and powerful was truly inspiring. Jenji has created and environment that allows an abundance of women (and considerable amount of key men) to shine, individually and together- and with that come’s an indestructible sense of community. I will cherish that forever.
Can you tell us a about your character Kristin Baxter in The Last Man Standing? What makes the show a “must watch” show of our times?
Kristin is the eldest of Mike Baxter’s (Tim Allen) daughters. She is incredibly smart and strong willed with a dry sense of humor. She got pregnant in high school and is always trying to find the right balance of being a good mother and a successful working woman. Last Man Standing is one of the few shows on television that reflects a real, politically divided, complex family navigating their disfunction and love for each other in the complicated time and emotional climate we are living in today. It’s a show that families can watch together. It’s a show that deals with real issues in a good natured way and represents that you can disagree with people and still love and respect them. And that love and respect are the most important things we have at the end of the day…or any argument. And I’m told it’s pretty darn funny too. ;)
Out of all the roles that you’ve played, is there a specific one that stayed close to you and why?
Every role I have ever played has remained a part of me. I carry them all. They are all some kind of an extension of who I am in some way. It’s a hard thing to make sense of, but it’s the only way I can explain it. I can’t decipher one from another. I guess you can say I am the sum of all the roles I’ve played, just like all of the experiences of your life combined with your dna make up who you are. For me, most of the experiences of my life I’ve experienced through the characters I have played. It’s one of the reasons therapy is very important for me! Haha!
What inspires you?
Kindness. Nature. Other storytellers. And my husband.
How would you describe your style?
What’s your dream project?
Oh man! I want to do ALL OF THE THINGS! All of the projects! I am always thirsting for more. Playing Marilyn Monroe in a raw biopic (I also intend to write) has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Peeling away her layers and revealing who she was under the public character she created. Playing Debbie Harry is also on my bucket list. I have been dying to do a period piece my entire career. The list is endless really! Almost every project is a dream project for me. I am living my dream.
How do you balance your time?
I don’t, really! Seriously, time management is definitely something I have not mastered the art of. Maybe someday. Most likely not. For instance, I have’t eaten today simply bc I haven’t made time for it and it’s 6:11pm right now. See what I mean?
Any advice you can give to any aspiring young actor out there?
The business is ruthless. Only do it if you can’t find fulfillment doing anything else. Do it for the art. Do it because you love the work. Fame is truly fleeting. And perseverance is everything. If you have no choice (like me), let nothing get in your way and never fucking give up. And trust yourself. There is only one you for all of time.
If you’re a book, what type of book are you and why?
A self-help book about healing from trauma combined with The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I think the why is pretty self explanatory on that one :)
If you had the chance and opportunity to help a specific charity, what would it be and why?
Specifically? Midnight Mission. ACLU. Planned Parenthood. Best Friends Animal Society. Heifer International. Polaris Project. Antislavery International. Suicide Prevention Lifeline. To name a few…
Catch Amanda Fuller as “Badison” on Season 6 of Orange Is The New Black!