Amalia Williamson Feature Story for Fall/Winter'20

Photography by: Tasha Kopunovic

At the mere age of twenty-six, Amalia Williamson is making waves in the entertainment industry. She began her professional career six years ago, but both her accomplishments and talent go far beyond her years. She recently starred on Netflix’s new family drama Northern Rescue, where she stars alongside Billy Baldwin as Maddie West, a rebellious teenage girl navigating through her new life. Amalia’s reputation precedes her as a multifaceted talent, as she enjoys drawing, painting, sewing, writing, and recently co-directed a short film, I Am Here. When Amalia is not busy creating, she can be seen practicing yoga, hanging out with her dog, or advocating for women’s rights. You can catch Amalia in several new projects, including a new episode of Private Eyes, and the upcoming film, The Kid Detective, alongside her co-star Adam Brody.

Rebecca Erlich: You’re a multi-talented actress, writer, producer, and director. Did anything/anyone, in particular, inspire you to enter the multifaceted world of entertainment?

Amalia Williamson: First of all, thank you! This is going to sound cheesy, but the first film that I remember hitting me hard was Titanic. I was quite young and didn’t understand why the movie stayed with me for so long and prevented me from sleeping that night. I was so heartbroken with the tragedy of the whole disaster but also felt so connected to Jack and Rose and their whole love story, that when Jack didn’t make it, my little brain just couldn’t comprehend. That was great filmmaking, great writing, and great acting. I wanted to be a part of such a profoundly cool collaboration of art. Leonardo Dicaprio is also my first and probably always crush. I wanted to do whatever he did - so that one day we could meet and get married (laugh-out-loud).

RE: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?

AW: Well, the very first gig I ever booked was a commercial, when I was with a modeling agency. I was sixteen, and it was a commercial for the Miley Cyrus x Max Azria clothing line at Walmart. I was SO stoked to meet Miley and I was sure she would be there, she wasn’t. But, it was still so fun shooting, doing hair, makeup, and wardrobe. The whole shebang made me so happy that I knew right then and there that I needed to be in this industry for the rest of my working career. I eventually took a ton of acting classes at Armstrong Acting Studios, and from there I signed with my currency agency - Ambition Talent. After a year with them, I booked my first lead role in a series; and now I am working on some exciting new projects that will hopefully come out soon!

RE: You recently starred on the Netflix series, Northern Rescue. What was your experience like filming this series and working with the cast?

AW: Northern Rescue was such an amazing experience for me. I had never been a lead in a series, or even a movie, for that matter. I was nervous and scared initially because I was so unsure of what to expect from filming for such a long time. The cast and crew were also some of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met, and I couldn’t have asked for a better on-screen family. We truly were a family off-screen too. Billy Baldwin, who played my dad on the show, asked me right away on the first day of filming to tell him about my relationship with my own father. We talked about our families and connected on and off-screen, which I thought was really cool of him. The same goes for everyone in the “West” family. Kathleen was a mentor to me, Taylor and Spencer felt like real siblings, and Evan and Eliana are still real friends. Bradley Walsh directed the first two and last two episodes of the series, and we were able to talk a lot about directing together, which is another passion of mine. I hope that one day I can shadow him as a director on set. 

RE: Was there anything, in particular, your character, Madelyn West, taught you throughout the storyline?

AW: Madelyn West bottles things up too much! If she was more open and honest about the fears and feelings she is having, then she would have avoided some conflict. One quality that Maddie has that I wish I had more of, is confidence, and the ability to stand up for herself. She doesn’t let people walk all over her, or treat her poorly. I may look like a very confident, independent person on the outside, but in reality, most days I don’t feel confident, and I rely on other people often to make myself happy. In the long run, I need to work on my independence, and the ability to be alone, like Maddie does. That being said, Maddie should open herself up to people I do!

RE: Is there anything, in particular, you look for when reading new scripts?

AW: I look for an immediate emotional reaction. This doesn’t necessarily mean I cry right away (however, this did happen with the Northern Rescue audition sides) but a laugh, a shiver up the spine, chills! Chills are cool and rare to experience when reading a script. I like knowing that I need to research an audition, oddly enough, because I like interesting characters that I can relate to, but also characters that require a lot of work and time to prepare for. Being challenged is really exciting for me. If it’s too easy, it isn’t as fun. 

Photography by: Tasha Kopunovic

RE: You’ve recently co-directed the film, I Am Here, which was awarded Best Narrative Short at the Rome International Film Festival. Can you give a synopsis of the film?

AW: I Am Here is a short film about siblings, Hannan and Hassan, that were separated attempting to escape Syria with their family as young children. Hassan was taken from the family and thought to be dead. In the present day, Hassan is alive and living in Toronto with an adoptive family, while Hannan lives in Atlanta with her family. Although her parents have thought their son to be dead for years, Hannan still has hope that she will one day find her brother. The story explores themes of identity, friendship, and of course, familial love. 

RE: Do you have any new or upcoming projects that you’re particularly excited about?

AW: I shot a movie last year with Adam Brody called, The Kid Detective, which I am very excited to see the final cut of. I also have an episode of Private Eyes coming out, in which I play a pro-golfer. Having never swung a golf club before shooting the episode, I am quite excited to see how that came together! I have an opportunity to direct a short documentary this year, which is in the very early stages of development so I can’t say too much, but I am so excited to share the news with you down the road!

RE: Have you ever experienced any notable challenges throughout your career?

AW: This career, in general, is so challenging. It’s hard sometimes going months without booking anything, and even more challenging during COVID. There are so many times I have doubted my work and my ability as an actor. I would leave some acting classes crying and completely ready to quit because I was unhappy with my work. But, I truly believe that if you have the passion and drive to make it in this industry, then you absolutely will.

RE: What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?

AW: Making it this far. As hard as it is to find success in this career, I am proud of myself for sticking with it and always staying true to who I am, on and offset. It’s so important for me to conduct myself as not only professional, but kind and positive. It’s easy to be negative, selfish, and jealous of people that are seemingly more successful than you are, or booking more roles, but it means so much more to appreciate other people’s successes and spend time and energy working to better yourself and your journey.

RE: Do you have any hobbies you enjoy partaking in when you’re not working?

AW: I am a pretty artsy gal, I like to draw and paint, and I’ve recently gotten back into sewing, which is exciting! I love the idea of making or repurposing my own clothes. But, I really need to brush up on my sewing machine manual because most machinery doesn't like me. I love yoga and walking my stunning little dog Daisy. She’s a “Double Doodle” (half Goldendoodle, half-labradoodle. Laugh-out-loud, I can’t say that with a straight face ever).

Photography by: Tasha Kopunovic

RE: Any social issues or charities that you’re particularly passionate about?

AW: I am passionate about raising awareness of women’s issues and rights, particularly sex trafficking. Not many people are aware of how prominent sex trafficking is, especially in my hometown of Toronto. There is an excellent non-profit organization called, Free Them, that I am actually in the early stages of working on a documentary with. I am hoping to show people the detrimental effects that the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine has had on trafficking victims, raise awareness about the trafficking industry, and debunk some common misconceptions about that whole underground world.

RE: What would you say your personal style is like?

AW: I am so all over the place. Most days I am in sweats, old t-shirts, and my boyfriend's pants. Other days I love pastels with butterfly clips or braids. Some days, I love a neutral look, wearing all black with a baddie pair of shades; all-white is also such a vibe. It all depends on my mood, but I don’t ever want to be boring! I like making a statement when I leave the house. Even if sometimes my father doesn’t approve. Laugh-out-loud, poor man.

RE: Who is your ultimate style icon?

AW: I would say, Zendaya. I feel like she is very versatile with her looks, she’s always classy, never trashy. One day she will wear a simple white tank with simple pants and a statement boot, and then she will rock a sick blazer with a bralette and pearls. I am also so in love with all of her red carpet looks. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think it would have to be the Tom Ford Spring 2020 dress that she wore to the 25th Annual Critics Choice Awards. So good. But, makeup-wise, I’m completely inspired by Alexa Demie. I realize this is very Euphoria inspired, but who isn’t inspired by Euphoria.

Photography: Tasha Kopunovic Makeup: Sierra Elliot Stylist: Sierra Williams