By Michael Strand
Samatha Lester is one of those actors you can’t help but feel like you’ve seen in something. Considering she is relatively new to the business, that’s not likely, though she has been fortunate to be cast in some memorable independent film roles. But the big break hasn’t happened just yet. Like so many others in Los Angeles, Lester is putting in the time and work to make that happen. Considering the talent and the look, which allows her to play roles both younger and slightly older, most think it is only a matter of time before she is indeed one of the latest hot commodities in town.
Lester is a Texas native, a UCLA graduate, and is just now beginning to realize her own talents at putting pen to paper as a writer and poet. Acting is her true love, always has been, but her sights have also been broadened now that she realizes she can also create work and not just act in it. Hollywood Blvd Magazine got the chance to ask her about her life in LA and her plans for the future.
HB: So, why the decision to come out West and pursue this crazy business.
SL: I didn’t have a choice. I really didn’t. I was drawn to it at such an early age because my mom performed in musical after musical. While most kids were toddling around their house, I was running around at our community theatre. How could I NOT want to do it too? The decision to move to Los Angeles came to me when I was in middle school because I loved to read – absolutely loved it. I also loved to watch movies, and I especially loved to watch movies that were based on books. I wanted to live inside of these books. Film to me was this amazing portal into all of these different worlds. I was fascinated.
HB: What is your favorite part about being an actor?
SL: Acting. That’s my favorite part. The whole process of digging deep within myself to find the parts of me that make my portrayal of a character unique gives me the power and the freedom to be present with my scene partner. All of a sudden I’m transported and alive in this character’s world. A world that isn’t mine, but I still get to experience through them. That’s awesome.
HB: What is the worst part about it?
SL: The in-between. The waiting. It has taken me a really long time to learn to be okay with the waiting between jobs.
HB: Do you miss Texas?
SL: I miss Whataburger…
HB: Who do you dream of co-starring opposite of?
SL: This is such an interesting question for me. Maybe it’s because of the wording here, “co-starring opposite of”. I feel like the answer I “should” give is a list of my dream male co-stars, but that doesn’t feel right. What feels right is listing a few of the incredible women that have inspired me and my own work. So, I’m gonna do that.
Laura Linney. Everything Laura Linney. All of the time. Laura Linney. Can I be Laura Linney?
Emma Thompson. Seriously. Did you know that she’s also a screenwriter? She wrote my favorite Jane Austen adaptation,“Sense and Sensibility” and then she went and acted in it too. What?!
Kate Winslet. I was 7 when Titanic came out, and I was so completely in awe of her. I knew that she was the kind of actress that I wanted to be like. What she was doing. What she is doing. That’s what I want to do.
Michelle Williams. I love her. I love how open and vulnerable she is in every part that she plays. Blue Valentine is one of my favorite films. It’s so intimate, raw, and incredibly heartbreaking. AND her performance in “Manchester by the Sea” I will never get out of my head. Her one critical scene in that film is a little less than 4 minutes, but it moves me to tears every time I watch it. And I’ve watched it a lot of times.
HB: Tell us about your poetry and writing and why you do it and your plans for it.
SL: I’ve always written and I’ve always read. I started writing at a very young age in notebook after notebook as a way to process my feelings and create my own art. I wrote everything down – observations, journal entries, plays, little stories. I still carry a notebook around at all times, and I’m an amazing eavesdropper.
Writing has always been my safe space. I have no fear when I come to the page. I can speak my truth with no repercussions, and it is my favorite tool when it comes to creating a character. Writing poetry actually started very recently and by accident. I was writing a scene and having such a difficult time trying to get into the brain space of a specific character. Instead of getting frustrated with myself, I slowed down, took a breath, and tried to live in her shoes. The verses poured out of me.
My plans for my writing are completely in line with my plans for my acting. To create art. Writing helps me with the time in-between jobs. It continues to give me the power to create something for myself. I’ve come to realize that I have more to say as an artist than acting alone allows me to. How freakin’ awesome is that?
HB: Anything else you want to say about yourself or your life?
SL: It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson, but I have to share it because I think it’s huge. Being an artist is learning to be flexible. If one way of doing something isn’t working for you, then figure out another way. Make a new path. There is no right way. Be flexible in the pursuit of your crazy dreams. Be grateful for those crazy dreams. Stand in your truth. Speak your truth. That’s where you will find your power.
Twitter: @samibee611 Instagram: @samibee611
To hear and see more of Samantha, check back soon to see her video interview with Hollywood Blvd Magazine’s Anissa Claiborne.