A movement, I love it! There are so many things I’m passionate about but I think a movement I’d love to see happen is plug out. A message for everyone to take some time each day to put their technology away and be present with loved ones, with themselves and alleviate that anxiety that comes with being accessible 24/7. Maybe this can be a day everyone honors annually. An UnPlug day! (this is also a challenge for me, since I’m ATTACHED to my phone!)
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Samantha Gutstadt. Samantha is an Actress, Host, Digital Influencer, Content Creator and co-founder of comedy duo Don’t Call Me Mommy. In addition to authoring her own blog SamSoMuch, she also writes and creates content for Parents.com, Romper, Sephora.com, Mom.me, Alibaba.com, Mother.ly and more. She is a published writer and regular columnist for Parents Magazine and Romper. She also has a series she created and stars in with partner Haely White on Mom.me called Sh*t No One Told You (with over 5 Million views). She has appeared on Almost Perfect Life Hacks on Awestruck Network (where one episode has over 42 Million views). And she was recently featured in Forbes magazine, as one of LA’s Mom Influencers to watch! Samantha and her comedy partner Haely aka Don’t Call Me Mommy have a new 40 episode series called Literally Obsessed for FabFitFun that just launched and have a previous series with them called Sorta Awesome Mom Hacks. They also have a series on Parents.com starring Nick Viall from the Bachelor called Before/After. Big news — Sam is appearing in a new show for Tellie called Off Duty launching November 2019!
Thank you so much for doing this with us Samantha! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Toronto, Canada. My dad Eli is a lawyer by day and cowboy by…all the rest of the time? My mom Janice is a business owner, a teacher and writer. I have two older brothers, David and Jared. We were a family that laughed together a lot and played board games, took road trips and just had a ton of fun together. My oldest brother and I played competitive tennis and that was a huge part of my childhood. I was a top ranked junior national player. I also fell in love with acting and filmmaking at a very young age — 5 to be exact. I was that kid who would read 20 books a week (mostly BabySitters Club, Sweet Valley Twins and Christopher Pike). I also was super into music (my middle brother is a musician and had a huge influence on my eclectic taste). I loved my childhood, it was filled with some much creativity, family and love.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
My parents love telling me this story. I came home at 5 years old and told my mom that I wanted to be in commercials. I was so specific for a 5 year old. I then went on to take acting classes and never really stopped loving this field. I worked professionally starting at 14 and never stopped. I was a drama class geek through high school. I applied for and got into Toronto’s prestigious film school program at Ryerson University where I spent four years making movies and falling more in love with the craft all while continuing to model, book acting jobs and work. I did commercials, voicework, theatre and film and tv. When I graduated I made my first professional film for Bravo and it aired on TV. I also had a film accepted in a film festival in Los Angeles and that began my journey down there. After getting married at the ripe age of 24, my husband and I took the leap and moved down to LA. After working for a few years (I booked 5 movies and tons of commercials) I started a family and that definitely changed my path. After becoming a mom, I knew I wanted to have more control over my schedule and also create my own work. Don’t Call Me Mommy was launched out my passion to tell stories and create comedy that I could produce, star in, write and direct.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
The most interesting story would definitely be how Don’t Call Me Mommy even started! I met my now partner Haely for a drink to catch up after literally years of not seeing each other. I had a pitch meeting scheduled for the next day with a production company. Haely and I had a few drinks and starting riffing on how crazy motherhood was and created the idea for Sh*t No One Told You (which would be our first show!).
I went to my pitch meeting the next day and pitched a few ideas and then (literally) pulled out a napkin with the notes Haely and I had jotted down. They bought it on the spot and that show has over 5 Million views and is the project that launched our content studio.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Funniest mistake….I’d say it was an audition I had for a Lifetime Movie (and if you know me, you know that was huge for me cause I’m obsessed with all things Lifetime Movies). It was for the lead role. I went in and truly did a great job and they casting director came out and asked me to stick around. She started mixing around a few of us with guys and I knew this was basically the callback. I got so nervous. I could tell it was down to me and one more girl. They kept bringing us in with different guys. Once I realized that I totally let it get to my head and I tanked in the room the next time they brought me in. I left feeling so sad because I knew I could have killed it. I regret not going back and asking for another chance. I think it would have been endearing and they would have let me. But I was embarrassed and didn’t realize at the time that I could ask that. So …you live you learn right?
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Definitely my new show launching November 14 on Tellie. It’s a variety/talk show and stars my comedy partner and I. Also my series on FabFitFun called Literally Obsessed. We have 40 episodes rolling out through 2020. And my new column in Romper called Everything is Embarrassing!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Having diversity well represented in film and television is everything! We live in a diverse and amazing world. If we don’t depict that properly in entertainment that feeds down to other generations. The more we see diversity on screen, I think that impacts future generations in being accepting and wanting to further push that forward!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Nothing will come easy. Nothing in this business has ever been handed to me or easy. I had to hustle for every success. I thought back when I was in film school that I’d just graduate and work. Or that if I nailed an audition I’d the part. None of that was true.
- You will fail so many times and that will make each success that much sweeter. I didn’t know how much I’d appreciate my failures and challenges. I do. Each one was a lesson and experience that made me stronger and gave me more character!
- Nothing is linear. A meeting today won’t necessarily equal a job tomorrow. It may equal a job in a year from now. This has been the story of my success. Every job I’ve had since launching my content studio has been through my connections and relationships, ones I’ve nurtured over the years.
- Your breaks will come when you least expect them. Everytime I’m about to throw in the towel or thinking of switching a strategy, something awesome will happen. It never makes sense but I truly believe that you can’t plan this stuff, it just happens.
- No is just an opportunity to continue trying. I used to think no was no. An end of a conversation. I now know that no means not right now. And I’ve turned so many no’s into yes with a bit of perseverance and creativity!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
- Stay in your lane and don’t try to do a million things at once.
- Try to always get back to the “joy” of why you are doing what you are doing. It helps to ground you in those tough times.
- Have boundaries. Learn to say no.
- Take risks.
- Know that everyday is a restart and a crap day or a no can sometimes turn into a yes.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
A movement, I love it!
There are so many things I’m passionate about but I think a movement I’d love to see happen is plug out. A message for everyone to take some time each day to put their technology away and be present with loved ones, with themselves and alleviate that anxiety that comes with being accessible 24/7. Maybe this can be a day everyone honors annually. An UnPlug day! (this is also a challenge for me, since I’m ATTACHED to my phone!)
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are a few. My 3rd grade english teacher Andrea Glasman deserves a huge shout out because she helped me harness my love of literature and she allowed me to be creative and think outside the box. My parents for sure. They always told me I COULD. And my husband. He literally moved to Los Angeles for me to pursue my dreams. He watches every edit and gives notes. He has never given up on me even when I was close to giving up on myself. I”m also super grateful for my manager Purraj who I’ve been with for over 10 years. He never gave up on me and took me along wherever he went. It’s been an exciting trajectory with him!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I read this in 9th grade and basically have always tried to live this. My parents encouraged me to take the less travelled path. And it truly has made all the difference!
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
There are SO many people I’d love to have a private breakfast or lunch with…hmm..
If I had to pick just one I think it’d be Jake Gyllenhaal. I have always been a huge fan. I remember seeing Moonlight Mile and his performance moved me so much that I knew he was going to be one of my favorite actors. So ya, I’d love to sit with him and talk acting, life, creating and all the things. He’s always inspired me.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You guys can follow me on Instagram @gutstadt and @dontcallmemommy
Also on Facebook Samantha Gutstadt
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!