PHOTOGRAPHY BY TYLER NEVITT
STYLING BY ERICA PITNICK
INTERVIEW BY KATINA GOULAKOS
Amy Rutberg is proud that she is not an overnight success. Her story is one of trial, perseverance and passion. She first dipped into this industry as a teenager and has been climbing the latter to the top ever since. Her personable and witty personality make her obvious good looks and talent less intimidating. Rutberg is without a doubt an artist that the industry is keeping a close eye on.
Imagista: Where are you from Amy?
Amy Rutberg: I am from Southern California, a suburb east of Los Angeles called West Covina. I am third generation LA which is pretty rare. My parents met in Beverly Hills when my dad was a lawyer, they actually met in an elevator.
After they got married he became a judge, actually he became the youngest person in California at the time to become a judge. So they moved him to this random suburb that is best known for their car dealerships.
Imagista: Where did you get your love for acting ignite?
Amy Rutberg: My mom was a model in her late teens and early twenties, then she worked as a publicist for Universal and she did that until she had me. She was able to recognize that I had a affinity for the arts as they say.
Imagista: Did this passion trigger as a child?
Amy Rutberg: It started as a kid, I guess my parents would describe me as a pretty fearless child. I was an early talker also, so when I was little, they would take me places and I would immediately leave their side and find other families to chat with. It was a pretty normal thing for me to just be sitting with a completely random family entertaining them.
At a fairly young age, my mom got me into various aspects of performing because she thought I would be into it. She also tried to put me in other things that I showed zero talent in, like art classes and sports.
Acting and singing were the things that stuck and the things I was drawn to.
Entire look by IRO @iroparis
Imagista: Do you still sing?
Amy Rutberg: I had a really good run in the Broadway musical theater world, between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three and then I mostly transitioned into plays and then television and film.
Being in musical theater and really doing that is like being an athlete, you really need to be in great vocal shape, but also the lifespan of an ingénue is short. For a woman, by the time you hit your thirties, the roles thin out, so unless you are really on top of your game, you kind of have a hard time finding those gigs.
Imagista: Since you have done it all, what to you is the biggest difference between all these forms of acting?
Amy Rutberg: The simplest answer, which I am loosely quoting from someone is if you were to sing a song in front of one person versus singing a song in front of an entire crowd of people. The technique is the same; you are simply learning different tools for each specific audience.
I feel slightly more relaxed on stage still till this day, only because my eyes are so big and expressive and when I am on stage I don’t feel like I need to hold that back but when I am in front of a camera I have to check in with myself to make sure I control that.
Imagista: Currently, you are working on Marvels Daredevil Season 3, can you tell me a little bit about what that has been like?
Amy Rutberg: It is really a masterpiece in story telling. I am a small piece of the puzzle but working on this project has been an incredible experience.
Imagista: You are also a reoccurring character on NCIS New Orleans is that right? What has that been like for you?
Amy Rutberg: Yes, those are the two main things I am up to right now. For NCIS it has been a wonderful surprise job for me. I was on season 4 and my character actually died. However, I had this great chemistry with Scott Bakula and when the producers decided to have him shot at the end of the season, the new season began with him fighting his way through what had happened to him, I appear as this incarnation of both his past and his future. I am like the devil or the angel on his shoulder, we aren’t really sure. I follow him around the season and only he can see me. Essentially I am a figment of his imagination so I get to show a lot of range, it is a fun role to play.
Imagista: How are you able to connect with a character that shows such diversity?
Amy Rutberg: I just play the stakes of the scene. Acting on television is about playing the intention of the moment. Audiences can smell inauthenticity so you have to keep it real and keep it grounded, you need to keep it as a part of you. I wouldn’t say it’s challenging its been more fun than anything.
Imagista: What has bee your biggest challenge as an actor?
Amy Rutberg: The lack of control you have over your career, that’s hard. We actors put so much into auditions and trying to get jobs and its never the case of “the best ma wins” because there are so many things that go into the casting of a role. Often times you audition for something, you put your heart and soul into it and you don’t even know if the producers even see.
It is a hard profession to keep your head above water sometimes but you need to stay positive.
Imagista: How do you stay positive during those times?
Amy Rutberg: There is a lot of heartbreak in this business. Even when things go well and you book that dream part, the show could get cancelled, which I have experienced.
I always look at my life as a whole. I have been slowly working my way up the latter since I was a teenager so when I look back and see all that I have accomplished and how far I have come it gives me some real satisfaction. I am thrilled any time I get a call that I am going to be on television, so every time I book something, I get so excited. Seeing the progress of my career, really feels good.
Imagista: If you could give one piece of advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?
Amy Rutberg: I would say create your own material. The sooner you start doing that, the sooner you are no longer at the mercy of other people.
Imagista: Can you tell me something not many people know about you?
Amy Rutberg: Oh I have something great for you, and you will be the only person to have this in print. I won the showcase showdown on The Price is Right! I won a sauna that could fit ten people, a trip to a private island and a trip to Fort Lauderdale. I was the winner! It is nowhere on the internet, I really wish I could find a clip of it.
Amy can be found on both Instagram and Twitter @amyrutberg