Charlene Amoia may not be a household name (yet!) but with roles on Glee, Castle, iCarly and How I Met Your Mother and bigger upcoming projects like American Reunion and The Christmas Pageant with Melissa Gilbert under her belt, this versatile and upbeat actress is definitely making a name for herself.
Recently, though, Charlene took a time out from her busy schedule - and packing for a spur-of-the-moment trip to San Diego - to chat with me about everything from her start in the business and doing whatever it took to break in (and pay the bills), to the biggest things she’s learned from her time in LA.
Why did you want to be an actor?
I was doing some local modeling and through that they had me come in for an audition one day, and I got a real high off of it and . . . it just stayed with me. I took a college acting class, and as soon as I was done with school I decided to move out to LA and try it . . . Everyone in Vegas was like oh, you’re gonna be back in three to six months, but it just really stuck.
The thing that I felt in that first audition never went away . . . It’s like a high - when I was a little girl I loved roller coasters, and still for me acting is like going on a roller coaster - it’s just this thrill that I want to experience over and over again. Nothing really compares to it.
Do you enjoy being more of a character actor or do you want to continue to grow your career and your reach?
That happened initially because as you start as an actor, you’re not in a position to be choosy, so it was just figuring out a way to book whatever role I auditioned for, so I just got really good at doing these characters because I had to if I wanted to work. But I feel like I have a natural quirk to me, I feel like I gravitate towards people who are a little off-center . . . and a lot of my friends are like that . . . I sometimes steal things that [they] do and add them into a character, which makes it a lot more fun than just playing it straight. But that’s not to say I don’t like the regular roles, too; that’s just how it started. I love every job and I just take them as they come, in that I feel like every job I book is in my life [for a reason], so I embrace that at that time.
What have been the most exciting and rewarding parts or projects of your career so far?
Two come to my mind, and for different reasons.
My role on The Finder because it was written as a person who I wouldn’t have been cast as . . . I found that to be one of the most exciting because . . . it was a chance to do something I’d never done. And . . . playing that role that was so far from me was challenging on so many levels and when it was over, so rewarding because I did it.
And then my role [as Nurse Bailey] on Glee, because I got to work with these kids from Children’s Hospital. They were so excited to be on the set and to work with them was just a really rewarding experience, and I just felt really lucky to be part of that storyline that day.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned thus far?
I don’t know where this came from or where I learned it, but I feel like the biggest thing I’ve learned is to always come back to what I’ll call “the Buddha within,” if you will, and not look to what other people are doing. I feel like we all have the right answers for us within us if we get quiet long enough to sit and listen and not be influenced by what other people may be saying or doing. That’s something that I always come back to. And I think for acting especially, there is no straight path and there are a million ways to get to the same place. And really the only way you're going to get there is to listen to what is the right path for you. Trusting your gut on [what’s right] . . . so I’m in a place that’s receptive and open.