Amy Weber, a small town girl who moved to LA to fulfill a dream of becoming an actress, has hit it big in more ways than one. To say she’s busy is an understatement. Since our original interview four years ago, Amy has added "author," "producer" and "singer/songwriter" to her already extensive résumé.
During our most recent conversaion, I realized Amy is not your average shallow “hot chick” in the entertainment industry. We get a glimpse of Amy Weber the person when she discusses her concern for the welfare of up-and-coming models and actresses, which was the driving force behind her book “The Insider’s Guide to Breaking Into Show Business.” Amy also spoke of the importance of self worth and how at the end of the day, it’s all about what is on the inside as a human being. On the lighter side, we also discussed her scheduled fight against her arch nemesis Joy Giavonni, who’s been talking a lot of smack, and her Borat-style improvisational mockumentary “Becoming Pony Boi.”
Bullz-Eye: Amy, this is Mike from Bullz-Eye.com. How are you today?
Amy Weber: Good.
BE: Well, I’ve been going to your site here and there and checking it out; very well done by the way. It’s really easy to navigate.
AW: Thank you.
BE: I’ve seen you many times since our last interview and in the magazines. You are one busy person. How did you get this career started? How did you get the ball rolling for yourself?
AW: You know it was really something I wanted to do since I was a young child. But I don’t think when you’re in Illinois a lot of people say oh yeah, you’re going to go out to L.A. and you’re going to become an actress and there’s a lot of support thrown behind you. But you know since I was a little kid I was always doing fine arts contests, which were basically monologues, and winning and entertaining people. It wasn’t until I actually moved to L.A. that I realized that I actually did have a history really as an actress as a kid. It’s just something in you; it’s hard to explain. I think there are other artists that understand. You’re a writer so I just think that there are things that you just want to tell people things, or you want to influence people in some sort of a way, or there are stories in your head that you want to get out there.
BE: As I’m listening to you speak, it’s almost like you have…kind of a self-expression type thing.
BE: I’ve read that you raced motorcycles as a kid. That’s pretty interesting because I also did the same thing.
AW: Oh you did? Did you race flat track or…
BE: Flat track actually. Yeah, I started off with a Yamaha 80, went to RM 125 and ended there. I was 17 years old when I stopped. My cousins all did motocross but I did mainly flat track.
AW: That’s crazy. Now we, my sister and I, I started when I was seven years old so I was on 50, 60 cc Suzuki and then I went up to a Yamaha 125 and then my sister was 16 and she was racing a Harley Davidson 750.
AW: Yeah and she turned pro.
BE: No kidding?
AW: Yeah and she fell and got run over by three bikes; she still has the tread marks on her helmet.
AW: It got to be really tough with all the traveling. We were sponsored by like Carlisle Tires and others.
BE: Oh wow that’s neat.
AW: Yeah it was crazy. I still have my skid shoe and I have my little leathers and my helmet. Like every time I would crash my dad would basically put a butterfly on my helmet so I had all these butterflies all over my helmet; but it’s not that I crashed that much. I never really got hurt, but my sister, I mean that poor girl she can’t get through an airport security without setting something off. But the interesting thing about racing is that the smell of that gasoline oil mixture will never leave your senses.
BE: As a matter of fact guys that I work with, we talk about that. We love that smell.
AW: That smell, I know.
BE: You’ve been involved in many facets of the entertainment industry throughout your career, from TV, modeling, writing. You’re obviously very versatile and I’m sure there are things about each of those that you enjoy. But if you had to choose, what is the most rewarding for you and what would be the reasons?
AW: You know I would have to say…there are so many things I have going on right now that people don’t even realize. I have a 3-D animated pilot that I’m doing two character voices for. And you know that’s really fun because I know that kids are responding really well, especially to my character. You know the acting thing and modeling and now the singing and I’m writing and I’m also producing. I just produced my third feature. But you know I always go back to acting. I don’t know what it is but it’s what was in my heartbeat that drove me to L.A. in the first place. You know I enjoy modeling but at the end of the day it’s a little bit mindless. I mean I was that person that would come home from a modeling job and have to clean the house because I sort of felt like, what the heck did I do today? You know I mean I’m like “woo-hoo, I’m changing the world in these blue high heels and a string bikini,” you know. Not that I’m not grateful; I am very grateful for the opportunities that were afforded me. But at the same time it’s sort of like -- I don’t know.
BE: Looking for a little meaning.
AW: Just a little meaning, and yeah I would just come home and organize my closet.
BE: Well before you got started, when you thought maybe you would like to do something in this industry, were there any people in the industry -- be it acting or modeling -- that caught your eye and you thought, “wow, I would really like to do that. I really respect those individuals.”?
AW: I don’t know if it was necessarily any one person, I think it was just the fact that even as a really small child I just felt some sense of responsibility, like I wanted to know what my part in the world was. I know that sounds really deep coming from an actress/model but my mom used to say “you know you can’t change the world, I don’t know why you worry so much about other people and trying to help” and I’m like “but you can, I know you can.” Maybe not like millions at a time, like maybe just a few people at a time. So coming from me walking out of a movie or watching a show…I mean I had a pretty rough upbringing. Actually at this point I don’t even speak to my parents.
BE: Awe, that’s too bad.
AW: It’s okay. It’s the things that shape us as human beings, you know, unfortunately. I don’t think you need to be beating up your little kid, regardless of the situation. What it did was really cause me to try to become this perfectionist because I didn’t want to tick him off. And so by becoming this perfectionist person it has shaped me as a human being and it has taken me many, many years for me to say that wasn’t perfect, but it’s okay, it’s good enough. I mean I used to just get so tense to the point where I had a bleeding ulcer just wanting to please everyone; wanting to make sure that…like I don’t think that I have ever been late for a job in the 12, 13 years that I’ve been doing this. I just refuse to be late because I just know how many people are relying on me. So I wanted to do something that I thought would affect people and I always use the film “Schindler’s List,” and that’s a film that really…I walked out of that just completely changed as a human being because you start to understand the suffering that these people…
BE: Well have you ever seen -- I’m sure you have, I’m talking to somebody in the industry, “American History X?” I just had my daughter watch it, she’s 12 years old and I didn’t know if she was going to be a little too young for it or not, but I really thought that this movie was something that every young kid should watch.
AW: Oh my gosh yes.
BE: That was one of those movies for me. That movie shows you just how one person’s actions affect so many different people in so many different ways. You know that’s really something you have taken from your past and you’ve really directed it towards something positive. That’s truly something commendable.
AW: Even that…I started a modeling agency and I had it for about five and a half years and it was the same time I was actually working with the WWE and doing SmackDown. It was really the same principles; because me growing up I didn’t have the support, I wasn’t told, yes you can do that; you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it. I wasn’t told, yes I’m proud of you, you bring home straight A’s, you’re a good kid. I just didn’t get any of that. I’m not quite sure how I managed to give it to myself but someone had to give it to me. So with the modeling agency it was really important for me to take some of these kids that come from the Midwest like I did and to be able to be some sort of positive force and try to keep them from running into…there’s so many scams out here and so many people wanting to take advantage. I just felt like mother hen for a while. So I think it’s all the same thing. I mean for me I do believe that there’s a place in my life and unfortunately you don’t get to move to L.A. and just…people are probably like, well how are you in whatever Bacardi’s campaign or the Maxim calendars this year? How is that really affecting you? Well you know that isn’t particularly affecting anyone, but unfortunately you don’t just get to jump out here and do “American History X” or jump into “Schindler’s List” or do “Lorenzo’s Oil” or do these types of films. You kind of have to pay your dues. So I was really getting down on myself, like gosh, I don’t understand, you know? You would go in and try to look as ugly as possible you know hoping that someone was just like I am, a trained actress, man. I mean I studied Meisner, I graduated a two-year program and Dustin Hoffman spoke at my graduation. I went to Groundlings, which is where Lisa Kudrow and a lot of these huge standup comedians got their comedy chops from, and that was tough. I would say, “please take me seriously,” but then I thought, well what if I just do a film like “The Adventures of Joe Dirt,” where if someone is going through chemo, which is something I went through, or they have a debilitating disease maybe just for two hours they kind of just forget what they’re going through? They forget about their lives, they forget about their economic situation? And I thought in a way that’s also giving back. So you know what, you do what you can. You go out and read for films and you hope that people will enjoy them and either have an escape from them, or maybe there will be a good learning lesson underneath it. I mean that’s why I really love this 3-D animated thing I’m doing called “Freaky Flickers,” because it’s just got a really good message and I play this fish, and then I also play this girl named Peg, she’s this little pirate girl that has one roller skate leg and one regular leg. It’s just a good message about helping others, and the pilot is almost done, so we’ll see what happens.
BE: Oh yeah, that sounds like it’s interesting. It would be a neat project.
AW: Yeah it’s fun.
BE: As your career was growing was there anyone that you met who kind of took you under their wing, so to speak, and helped guide you in the right direction?
AW: No, not really. I mean I remember seeing Heather Locklear on the set when I did “Melrose Place” and she was just so nice and she was just a class act and didn’t have an attitude. You know, also meeting Dustin Hoffman at our graduation and he had a lot of great advice. You know, I guess I just started realizing that people that are really successful, they are actually the nicest people in L.A. It’s kind of the people that have either lost their career or never quite made it; they’re the ones with the bad attitude. I did a show, it was a Stu Siegel production, I won’t say what it was but I did a show with this guy and he was becoming a little bit of a has-been. And it happens to a lot of people, but he was on this show and I don’t think the show was doing very well, and awe that guy was so rude; just rude to everyone. I thought, I don’t even know if anyone knows who you are. It just made me realize that hey, no matter what happens in your career, no one -- my husband has a saying; he goes “everyone likes a little ass but no one likes a smart ass.” It’s very funny. I also realize that my work doesn’t define me; that’s not what makes me a good human being. It doesn’t matter how many shows, you know, or commercials or print jobs, it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day what matters is how I treat other people and what I stand for as a human being on the inside. So I’m all good with it.
BE: That’s really good to hear because you really don’t hear enough of that from different people. Usually, as you know, in the entertainment industry you have so many large -- what’s the word I’m looking for? Bad attitudes?
BE: Egos yeah.
AW: I know, and it’s really sad because you know what happens? I think people are insecure to begin with and that’s the reason why they’re kind of looking to be validated through this. That whole Sally Fields thing when she was up at the Academy Awards and she’s like “you like me, you really like me.” I mean it is so true.
BE: Unfortunately I think you said it quite plainly. People aren’t comfortable with themselves to begin with.
AW: And they place too much emphasis…okay I’m a good human being and I’m worthwhile because I’m working and I’m on set. So does that mean when you’re working and not on set you’re a piece of shit? I mean that’s just not okay.
BE: Right, right. Well you’ve mentioned a couple of names as we’re talking. Can you give a few names of the people that you truly respect, and some of the reasons that you have for choosing those people?
AW: You know I really respect people like Tom Hanks and Rita Hanks because they don’t live in L.A. and they constantly kind of trade off working. She does a lot of producing. I also think that Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith are a really great power couple. They understand that family comes first and they support one another; there is no jealousy. It’s really hard when you’re going to get two people in an industry that is so competitive and you know, you wonder why a lot of these relationships break up and it’s usually because one person is working more than the other. I think another person who has really handled her success well would be Reese Witherspoon. She was very young when she started and you know she’s had some knocks and she’s gotten right back up and she’s never been nasty. The paparazzi are constantly up in her business and she’s always got a smile on her face and she does her work and then she goes about her business.
BE: I remember reading in an interview a few years back, I think you had mentioned Dustin Hoffman at one point; you really respected him.
AW: Well absolutely, because you know what he said? He said when I graduated my Meisner program, he had said, “Don’t wait. Don’t wait for it to come to you, you’ve got to go out and make it happen.” People will look at me and they’re like, well how did you end up producing movies? Or how are you in the recording studio? Or how did you just write a book? I mean I started producing short films first and then managed to get onto a film that put; “The Pumpkin Karver” just aired the other night.
BE: I was going to bring that up in a little bit. My daughter and I watched that just what? Two days ago I think it was.
AW: Oh wait, then I had another that just aired on Encore. I had “Transmorpher” which is a sci-fi thing I did which aired on Encore Action yesterday. I was like Halloween comes along and there’s Amy Weber. But on “Pumpkin Karver” I ended up getting along really well with the director and as we started talking...I just started making some small suggestions about some locations and all of sudden they were like “you want to produce this thing?” I was like yeah, I can do that, so I ended up casting that movie and I ran the camera part of the time during casting. I location scouted, and, you know, helped pick out a lot of different aspects of that film.
BE: So you were involved with the entire nuts and bolts of the project?
AW: I was, and you know, it was a great learning experience.
BE: Oh I bet. Tell me a little bit about the mockumentary you finished a few months back; “Becoming Pony Boi.”
AW: Oh “Becoming Pony Boi.” Actually it just got accepted into the New York Film Festival. So that’s going to be happening.
BE: Oh wow. Congratulations.
AW: Thank you so much. You know it’s exciting. That film is all improv.
BE: Is it really? Well you know what? I watched the trailer the other day, and I’ve got to tell you there are some really funny parts. I mean I was laughing out loud watching this thing on my computer.
AW: In the movie, Pony Boi decides that he’s going to become a rapper. And the funny thing is, this guy actually did this in real life. I mean I knew this guy. I did a show on Spike called “Ten Things Every Guy Should Experience” and flew to New York and was like a celebrity judge. I had also known this guy from -- he use to be a producer over at E! Entertainment. And all of a sudden this guy shows up and I’m like “what the heck?” He’s all tattooed and he really, actually went through this transformation and he is a rapper.
BE: Oh my gosh.
AW: It’s crazy. So it definitely is a Borat style mockumentary, but it’s also very real.
BE: I’ve always wondered what it would be like working behind the scenes of something like that, or really any type of comedy. I always thought it must be just a riot to be making something like that.
AW: It was just crazy because we had no dialogue and we didn’t know what we were going to say. It was like, let’s just go for it.
BE: Wow! Well that makes it even more impressive then, if it was all improvisation like that. That’s really something because I actually liked the trailer. I was laughing like crazy.
AW: Oh that’s awesome. I can’t wait. I really, really, really hope that it does well at the festival and I hope that it finds a home.
BE: Well you have played many characters on TV and film. If you had a choice, what type of character and film would you like to have a starring role in?
AW: You know, I love the movie “Crash” and I think that those characters are…they are very three dimensional and there are so many levels to them and they are very real. I mean a lot of times you don’t get to see that many different characters. So I think a film that deals with real issues would be great.
BE: You mentioned your book earlier. How’s “The Insider’s Guide to Breaking into Show Business,” that is the title, yes, coming along?
AW: It is. It’s coming along really well. It’s actually being edited right now.
BE: Is it really? Oh great. Congratulations. I know you were just; I can’t remember -- I think the first e-mail you sent said you were still working on it, or you had just finished it, so that’s good to hear.
AW: Yeah. It’s exciting. You know I found myself, when I owned the modeling agency, giving a lot of different speeches over and over again, and I thought, “Why isn’t there something out there that can help these people?” There’s a lot of people that come out with maybe a little too bright of stars in their eyes, but I just think there’s got to be a guide that just tells you look, this is what you need to know. Why not allow people to benefit from my experience? There are so many shysters who will take advantage of people.
BE: Yeah it sounds like a book that will help a lot of up-and-coming young women and men avoid mistakes when they’re desperate and just trying to make it.
AW: It very important that you never come from a place of desperation. You will almost certainly make the wrong choices.
BE: I know this is probably a tough question, especially coming from someone who has actually written a book on this type of thing. What is the single most important attribute, in your view, that someone needs to succeed in the entertainment industry?
BE: Attitude? Yeah that’s interesting. Definitely a positive attitude.
AW: Well I mean when you go into a room, if you lack confidence it doesn’t matter how good you are, how good looking you are. No one is going to trust you to go out and represent a project they have put hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, on the line for. So when you go and you make them feel comfortable, like I got this, I can do this, that’s the first person they are going to go with. That’s why you see people getting hired over and over and over again. It’s like, well why aren’t they giving someone new a chance? It’s like, well they know they can depend on these people, they are competent.
BE: You’re right, that makes perfect sense. Well, you’ve also got your new single out called “Ghost.” And I listened to it as soon as I got it and it’s really good. I like it a lot.
AW: Thank you.
BE: I sent it to my girlfriend and all her friends and my 12-year-old daughter. I thought, well if anyone is going to give me a real -- a true sense of what they think, they will. All positive comments so far. But, how is the song being received in your industry?
AW: You know I have gotten nothing but fantastic compliments about it. I thought, let’s just put this thing out in the world and see what happens. And it’s been nothing but positive. I mean I’ve been up on the MySpace music; it’s Amy Weber music on MySpace, and I’ve been up for two weeks and I have over 5,000 downloads of the song. Which is crazy because I haven’t promoted it, I was just kind of like, well, let’s see what people think. I’m really happy with the outcome; I was really lucky to be able to do a duet with Jeremy Greene, which, you know, the kids are getting ready to blow up.
BE: I know you’ve wanted to record a song for a while. What actually inspired you to write it and record at this point? Was there something that happened in your life or was it just everything kind of came together?
AW: You know I think I was just looking back and I was saying…you know you do that thing where you say, especially when I decided that I couldn’t really speak to my parents any more. You know you become very reflective about your life and what you’ve done. It was just this thing where it was inside of me and I wanted to get it out. And then once I met Jeremy, you know, he introduced me to another producer and we got the beat and I fell in love with it. Then we went in…I wrote it, recorded it, everything in five hours.
AW: Yeah. I walked out -- it was crazy -- I walked out of the recording studio and had a CD and put it in my car and was like…you know what I mean, I was like a kid. I was like this is fantastic. I was like driving down the road and …
BE: Wow talk about immediate gratification.
AW: I know it’s like doing standup comedy. And so it was great and I was like I really love this song and I thought oh you’re just being biased. You’re in love with yourself, you know? But it just seemed like every time I listened to it I liked the song more and more. I’m very proud and I just hope that I can go in, and, you know, do a few more songs and see what happens.
BE: Actually that is what I was going to ask you next. Is there anything in the future? Are you going to go back in the studio, and do you have anything planned to record?
AW: You know, since I have gotten all of this positive feedback I really do want to go in and record. I don’t know that I’m necessarily going to go out and look for a label. I think in this day and age in the music industry you might be better off not to have a label. You know with labels there is so much pressure and then, you know, once you’re with a label…well I guess depending on the label you’re with, I’m probably just talking out of my ass right now because I don’t really know. But, you know, I guess you just hear stories about how they have a certain vision for you and it sometimes isn’t the same vision that you have for yourself. So they try to change your music and you know you’re always on the pause button waiting for them to be happy with the songs and then you never get the chance to go out there and express yourself. So for me I think that with the invent of iTunes and CD Baby and MySpace I think that it wouldn’t be that hard if I went out and recorded a full LP just to kind of get my own publishing and do it on my own.
BE: Yeah because I have heard a lot of other artists over the years say the same exact thing. You know that they’ve never been truly able to express themselves when they have been under a certain label. And they have even tried switching labels and they find that a lot of times that doesn’t even help.
AW: There’s a label out there that likes my music and doesn’t want to change it. I really want to do…I want to do some more kind of upbeat dance songs. I don’t know, music is something that has always kind of propelled me in anything I did. Whether I’m having a bad day, you know, you put on a good song and it kind of gets you out of it. It’s just motivating in a lot of different ways and my first song I wanted to do something that was very relatable. This whole song is about two ships passing in the night. You know you’re in a relationship and you’re in a good relationship, but you’re both off doing your own thing. You know just sometimes you just keep missing each other. So it’s like the scent of your cologne is near but it’s like the sound of your voice is all I want to hear. It’s like I smell you because I knew you were just here, but then you left and went to work before I got up, you know, whatever the case is. I think that happens a lot because we’re all just in this go, go, go kind of environment and maybe not placing as much emphasis on relationships and family. You know it’s just the state of where we are at economically.
BE: Yeah you get caught in the rat race. A lot of people do and then you have to take a step back and center yourself every once in awhile. I think music is a good way to do that. I know that’s one of the…if I ever catch myself getting in a down mood or really pissed off at somebody I’ll actually go and throw my headphones on, throw the music on and it will put me right back where I’m supposed to be.
AW: Yeah think about when you work out. I mean it’s just not as much fun if you don’t have…
BE: Oh, you’ve got to have the music.
AW: You’ve got to have the music and you know weddings…I mean I think about just everything, even in movies you know. You see a movie that’s been cut and it doesn’t have the sound effects or the soundtrack to it and you’re sort of like, huh? You know you get that music…think about “Jaws:” duh-duh, duh-duh. I mean, I understand the sharks still would have been scary, but it’s confusing because every time you started to hear that you were like “oh my god, get out of the water.” And so music is all of our heartbeats I guess.
BE: Right, right. I totally agree. I know the music in “Jaws” that’s a perfect illustration of that because the anticipation of that is almost overwhelming when you’re watching that movie.
AW: I know, and like I said if there wasn’t that music you would kind of be, like, okay. Any scary movie you start to hear that screeching and you’re just like “oh my god, get out!”
BE: Well what can Bullz-Eye readers expect from Amy Weber in the near future? Any nice projects coming up or anything in the works?
AW: You know it’s interesting. I will give you an exclusive right now.
BE: Oh my goodness.
AW: Yeah I know. For all these wrestling fans out there, Joy Giovanni, who was really my arch nemesis back in the day of me wrestling, you know has been talking a lot of smack about me. So I have a fight set up to go ahead and shut her up once and for all.
BE: When is that going to be?
AW: You know the fight is scheduled in a couple of weeks and…
BE: Oh is it really? It’s coming up soon then.
AW: Oh yeah. No, I’m training. I’m training with a mixed martial arts guy named Maverick. He’s a five-time world champion mixed martial arts. So I’m sure she’s doing her pansy-assed running on the beach in her pink pompom, I don’t know what. But we’ll see. I’m hoping that either pay-per-view or someone will…I’m sure iTunes will have it as a download.
BE: Well I know there is definitely some bad blood between you and Joy, that’s for sure.
AW: Absolutely. Other than that, the Maxim 2009 calendars are out and I’m in both of those.
BE: Oh yeah, great.
AW: Yeah it’s exciting.
BE: Well Amy it’s been great talking to you.
AW: I know, you too. It’s been good catching up. I know we haven’t talked in ages.
BE: Well it’s been really nice. We got a little more in depth this time. You’ve got a great attitude and I really, really appreciate what you’re trying to do for up and coming people. I think that is very, very commendable. I think there needs to be more of that, especially in industries that we’re in.
AW: Industries, I know you have to pay it forward, you really do. So I’m hoping…and believe me I know it’s not like I’m changing the world, but hey, if I can keep one girl from…hey, I had some creepy ass photographer when I first started. I said I wanted to drive my own car and he goes “no, no, no, I don’t want you getting lost” you know what I mean? He took me out to some really remote place and he had me in this field and he was just like…I had shorts on but he was like “can you spread your legs a little more” and just saying weird shit like “open up like a little flower.” I’m like, you open up your damn flower, you know what I mean? I’m like, man, I was raised on a corn farm and I race motorcycles; I’ll kick your ass man. And then I had to hitchhike because I didn’t have my own car. Luckily it didn’t go any further than that, but it’s just like if you don’t know someone…it’s in the book. Like you don’t just show up like at someone’s house or after business hours. You don’t do it. I was the eighth key witness in the Linda Sobek trial, when that photographer Charlie Rathbun killed her. I don’t ever want to see that happen to another girl.
BE: You know I think you said it perfectly earlier when you said, “you don’t want to come from a point of desperateness.” I think that’s where a lot of that comes from. People are so…they want it so bad that they are willing to just take that extra chance. Unfortunately, especially for a lot of young girls, unfortunately it can be the end of their career.
AW: Well, yeah, it clouds their vision. Suddenly it’s like, what happened? You were so beautiful and now you’re doing porn? Not that there is anything wrong with doing porn, but maybe that wasn’t the route that they wanted to take. So I don’t know…I’m hoping. I met a lot of girls having that agency that were just so…needed so much babysitting. And that’s ultimately why I sold the agency because as much as I wanted to help people, it started hurting me. As a person I was drained because I was constantly worried about these people and the decisions they were making. I did the best I could. I laid the groundwork and gave them a good foundation and at the end of the day I had to say, “look, you know what, it’s up to them now.” So anyways, well look Mike, listen…thank you so much. And I sent you the song, right?
BE: Oh yeah.
BE: All right. Thank you very much.
AW: Thanks. Okay, bye.BE: Bye-bye.