Amanda Grace Benitez is an actress, drummer, and an on-air radio personality from Los Angeles, CA. The talented actress is on the rise with a solid fan base and 11.1K Instagram followers. Amanda was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her parents worked as set decorators so she was surrounded by creativity from the beginning. There is a whimsical beauty about her and as she embodies a spirit of sensitivity and strength while having such a cool vibe. Benitez has great versatility and so much to five. Amanda is known for The Ranger, Emerson Heights, and School of Rock. While she was not busy drumming (Yes, she is a drummer) or auditioning, Gemma had the awesome opportunity to speak with the young and talented actress.
GM: Thank you for joining us to chat! Did you know you always wanted to act or be involved in the arts in some capacity?
Thank you for having me! No, I didn’t. I was the shyest kid growing up! My first love was dancing, which led to performing at my grammar school talent shows. Later on, I became the host of my 6th-grade talent show which is where I got the bug to act. Both of my parents are set decorators and I would fake being sick to ditch school and go to work with them because I loved the atmosphere on set. The actors really seemed like they enjoyed being there and I thought it would be a dream to play make believe for a living. I enjoy several aspects of performing, but I feel most fulfilled and in my element in front of the camera.
What was your first audition like?
Now that I look back, it was quite embarrassing! From what I can remember, an assistant brought me into the room where casting happened to be enjoying a ginormous lunch. My nine-year-old self-said to everyone, “I’ll wait till you’re all done
eating” in a matter-of-fact tone. Of course, everyone laughed, thought it was cute and my BARBIE audition continued. I was left feeling extremely confused because I thought it was rude to eat during my performance.
You play Amber in The Ranger. Can you please describe your character and the movie a bit?Also, what did you learn about the filmmaking process for a horror film?
AGB: Amber is the life of the party, complete with blue hair. She’s a free spirit who left her privileged background to try the punk scene on for size. At the end of the day, she’s just seeking acceptance and love, which happens to be all in the wrong places. Being a punk growing up, assuming the role of Amber was a natural fit. Amber meets the other punks at a warehouse party, high off of a hallucinogenic drug called “Echo.” Things get out of control and they all have to flee the area. The punks wind up traveling to the forest to start a whole new life; However, just when everything seems calm, they come into contact with an unhinged Park Ranger. An insane amount of detail is put into every frame. It’s more than just slash, gore, jump-scares, etc.
I can’t generalize all horror but in the case of our movie, there was an insane amount of detail put into the design of the film.
GM: How was the Newport Film Festival, which you recently attended for The Ranger?
AGB: It was incredible! Attending festivals are always interesting due to not knowing how the audience will receive your project. Newport had a punk energy and understood our film’s intention completely!
GM: You are always so fashionable with great style. Do you enjoy fashion?
AGB: Thank you so much! The only way I can express myself is through fashion. In my opinion, it’s the last art form left. Everything else has been done. Fashion is ever changing and you can become anything.
Tell me a bit about your experience in School of Rock.
It was an utter blast working with such an incredibly talented cast and crew. Being a trained drummer, it was awesome to take on the role of drummer girl, “Beth.” Not to mention, Pete Wentz from “Fall Out Boy” happened to be in one of the
episodes and being able to jam out with him was super cool!
You grew up in LA. I’m sure that you meet many young and aspiring actors from all over who have moved here. Do you give them advice about the industry?
Yes, I do! I tell them to always work on their craft, be true to yourself, stay humble and never give up.
Who are some of your favorite actresses?
I have been moved by many performances and this list could go on and on; However, Alicia Vikander, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Meryl Streep are my my favorite.
GM: Even though yougrew up here, what do you like to do for fun in LA?
AGB: I enjoy going out with my friends to hear live music, hit up swap meets, art shows and trying out new vegan spots.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Amanda Grace Benitez as she takes Hollywood by storm. You can follow Amanda on social media with the following links.