Actress Amy Rutberg never forgets how she got her start in acting. At 9, her mother took her to an audition where she would meet the person who would change her life. The director of the play saw something in the extroverted Amy and helped cultivate the acting and life skills that she needed to live out her life’s passion. “I think about her often,” Amy says. “Her kindness in helping me really planted the seeds to the adult and actor I became.”
Today, you’ll find Amy practicing her craft on hit television shows such as Marvel’s Daredevil and The Defenders, as well as NCIS: New Orleans. Because she credits her success from the kindness of others and she knows how tough show business can be, she says she never passes on an opportunity to help mentor a young person with advice and insight. “If you give someone the right advice at the right time, it can make a world of difference,” she says.
Who taught you the most about happiness?
The two most influential people in my life who have been my role models for happiness have been my mother and my husband. My mother’s happiness was so selfless. She made sure I was happy or my dad was happy. Seeing other people happy made her happy. While that is admirable, I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily applicable to my life. Maybe that’s just my generation, we need to find our happiness; we need to be fulfilled on our own. My husband really always has the best advice, whenever I am upset about something, he turns to me and says, “Amy, relax. Everything is as it should be.” There’s something about that, even when I want to resist it or think that it’s trite. He has a calming energy on me.
How do you stay balanced?
I’m also a mom. I have a 4-year-old. When I am not working, I try to spend as much time with her as possible. I’m no stranger to me time. I think my husband and I have kind of both made that a priority in our family. A mentally well-balanced person is the better family member and a better parent.
What is the kindest act someone has ever done for you?
My mother let me audition for this play and there was this director, her name was Anne Gesling. I was 9 years old and she put me in the show and gave me a role. She really took me under her wing and pushed me. She saw that I was a precocious kid and she saw that I had talent and this might be something I spend my life doing. She cultivated that, not by coddling me, but by empathetically pushing me. I came back to this woman time and time again for years throughout my childhood and she taught me the hard work and discipline of the business. She is still doing that for kids.
How do you like to make others happy?
I think that one of the most important things that you can do as a person for somebody else, is to listen to them. Everybody is going through something, whether it’s the little things like being upset about your kid’s soccer program. Maybe it’s something bigger. I think of my relationships with my husband, my family and my friends, and just being there, being present and just listening to someone is the greatest gift you can give them.
What inspires you to be the best person you can be?
I know this is a cliché, but it’s my kid. People always talk about the wonderful things and the negative things about being a parent, but I don’t think I appreciated the tremendous moral and ethical responsibility to being a role model for someone. I mean, I am her whole world, granted she is only 4. She learns from everything I do and say and that is a massive responsibility. I am very grateful that I get this opportunity and for all its difficulties, it is truly the most remarkable thing one can do in life. Everything that I do, I try to think how that plays in to how I want my daughter to become.
What do you do to boost your mood?
I always go back to Broadway musical because it reminds me of my childhood. When I am feeling down and I have a big decision to make, I put on the songs of my childhood, which are all Broadway musicals. I’ll put on Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar or something by Stephen Sondheim and that relaxes me. There is something comforting about those sounds and being a kid remembering what that was like.
Where is your happy place?
Any beach will do. I really am a beach person. My parents have a lake house in Lake Arrowhead, California, and going out there sitting in the boat on the lake is when I am most Zen and happy. Unfortunately, I only get there a couple times a year. My other place is Montauk, which is a beach community out here in New York that my family and I go to every year. We go to the same beach and playing with my kid on that beach is really when I feel the most present. I always leave that trip and say, “This is the most present I have been all year.” There is something amazing about building sandcastles to like really put you in the moment.