Name: Ambre Anderson
Agency: Self Represented
When Ambre Anderson called her mother to tell her to gush about a huge check, she had coming in for a hair campaign she was told to check the zeroes. In an exclusive interview with Hello Beautiful, she talked about how she went from working at a dentist office after school to modeling, acting, and eventually ending up behind the camera.
“I called my mom like, ‘I just booked an eighteen-thousand-dollar job. It’s the biggest job I ever booked in my life!’ she’s like ‘Ambre you mean eighteen hundred honey’ and I’m like ‘No mom eighteen thousand’ she’s like ‘Ambre how many zeros are in eighteen thousand’ and I’m like ‘MOM!’”
The disbelief was understandable. Just a few years after entering a competition during her time as a student at Howard University and taking a chance on moving to New York she had turned modeling into a full-fledged career. Lots of transplants arrived daily saying that they were going to use their good looks to shake some coins out of the city that never sleeps but Anderson had actually done it.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that there was an opportunity for me in New York modeling.”
She pursued that opportunity ferociously. Shortly after receiving the check she got a lucrative contract to represent the beauty brand Soft and Beautiful. She purchased a condo with the unexpected windfall. “It was for a line of hair products for Soft and Beautiful. They had me on the box and they had me on the oil the little tub and the spray.”
In some ways the success was a surprise but in others it was an inevitability. Anderson had hustled and sacrificed to try and remain in New York sleeping on a friend’s couch upstate while working at the overnight shift at W Hotel in the city so that she could make it to go sees and auditions. To maximize her productivity, she often slept on the bus ride upstate so that she wouldn’t waste a minute she could be chasing her goals.
Sometimes she slept as little as three hours a night. She looks back on that time and has no idea how she kept going.
“When you’re going through something, you’re just doing the best you can in the moment. You can look back and go ugh that was some crap I don’t want to do that again but, in the moment, you’re just fighting and doing the best you can.”
View this post on Instagram
I AM a Renaissance Woman… . . Now if I only knew how to spell… Shit WILL NOT take! Oh well- spellcheck. Ya heard?..🙏🏽🙌🏽💪🏽 . . . @msrenaissanceshow 🎟 (link in bio) Sometimes life is two steps forward👉🏽 and one step back 👈🏼 . . Photo cred: @specterphoto, @invisiblewarfilm @bodycount1 w/ @james.perry 🙏🏽🙌🏽 #bookedandbusy #workingactress #comedychicks #croppedthisphoto cuz #igainedweight #fastingmonth #nojudgementzone #noregretsjustlove .. ❤️ .
Her arrival in New York was preceded by a breakup with an abusive and manipulative partner. She didn’t know what would be available to her in the city, but she knew it would be better than being mistreated. When he showed up in her new life trying to win her back, he was dismissed.
She continues to put work first. Her discipline stemmed from a strict childhood in Baltimore.
“My grandmother was not about me having a life after school period. It was not like I could go to a sleepover, to the mall, to do anything with friends she just was not about that.” Instead, she would work at her mother’s dentist office. “I knew that I did not want to be a dentist, and this was not my life.” It might not have been related to the industry she would end up in but being surrounded by professional women did have an impact.
Her immense focus and lack of concern with leisure activities allowed her to surround herself with winners and focus on the task instead of the turn-up, avoiding the pitfalls of being on sets that have dimmed the light of many a rising star.
“When you have a plan and something to do your socializing is a different kind of socializing when you have somewhere to be the downtime that you have is pretty specific, so you make your choices accordingly.”
View this post on Instagram
#Success isn’t owned, it’s leased, and Rent is due every got damn day! 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼 #elevationaddict #creativecareers . . . . . #bookedandbusy #bookedandblessed #camerawork #sidehustle #catalogshoot #africanfabrics #hawaiifashion #focused💯 #wearingasmile #goodcompanygoodtimes #actormodelingart @clairol_pro @lamer @saturdaylashes @vapourbeauty #📈 #☀️☀️ #onset🎥🎬 #makeupandhair by the wise & #verytalented @thankyoutheo #💆🏽♀️ #styling by the fun and lovely @lets_have_a_kiki333 #💃🏽 @fabianrossanostudios you are a joy to work with 🤗 thanks so much to @stefaniems2012 aniems2012
Those choices are reflected in how much she works. At one audition people mocked her for memorizing the complete monologue instead of familiarizing herself with it as instructed. She told them, “You do you and let me do me.” They continued to laugh and clowned around in the waiting room. She booked the job.
She surrounds herself with people that are just as driven. “You’re dealing with the people who you see the most and the people you see the most are the people who work the most and the people who work the most are the people that have been maintaining in this industry for a while. So, you’re gonna hang with the people who are the OGs after a while who are familiar to you and who you’ve known because they’re working.”
Many of the people who she had formed relationships with over the years have shown up at screenings to support her transition into directing including the Emmy Award winning Mari White who hosted a viewing of Miss Renaissance, the pilot she independently produced. The project has screened at The Miami Independent Film Festival and New Film Makers New York.
Her family is supportive of her efforts as well. Her father stood at the door at a screening personally thanking each attendee for supporting his daughter while her mother emitted pride in the car ride home eager to tell everyone how many people wanted to talk to “Ambre’s mother.” She is still actively booking modeling and acting gigs, but she’s excited about expand her artistic efforts into becoming a storyteller.
She thinks the variety of experiences she’s had traveling as a model and her background in Fine Arts have fully prepared her to be an effective filmmaker.
“No one thinks of a fine arts degree and thinks of another avenue that they’re not looking at. I’m a director and an actor and fine arts looks like that.”