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Samantha Mills - A Fresh Start on the West Coast

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Samantha Mills by Erik Danielson
Samantha Mills  Photo Credit: Erik Danielson

Samantha Mills recently moved from North Carolina to Los Angeles.  In North Carolina she had built up a reputation as a model and actor working mostly in the southeast.  The move to L.A. was a career move but not for the reason you might think.  It was a better opportunity for her day job.  She explained that she would kind of be starting over in Los Angeles with her acting and modeling.  I'm sure she will find lot's of opportunity there.

As a model, Samantha's good looks and svelte frame have helped her get jobs such as photo layouts in magazines, advertisements for companies such as Belk and Pepsi, and placements to sell everything from jewelry and shoes to cars and insurance.  In modeling, and to some extent in acting, she considers herself a salesperson.  Whether it is selling the product, the concept, or the character she says that's what she's there to do.  After thinking about it for a while I understood what she meant.  She sold me.

Coming up Samantha will be starring in a film called Honeyspider written by Kenny Caperton and directed by Josh Hasty.  It is a cool thriller movie that is currently in post-production and is due for release later this year.
Samantha Mills - Cover Fort Mill Magazine
Samantha Mills Cover
Image Courtesy: Fort Mill Magazine

Samantha Mills in Honeyspider
Samantha Mills in Honeyspider  Photo Courtesy:

Here's Samantha in Unconditional.  A film written and directed by Mike Reda.

You recently moved to California.  I assume as a career choice.  Is that right?

Samantha  I would like to hope that one day it was a move as a career choice in modeling and acting but at the moment, it was a move for a different opportunity. I was presented with a better option for a day job and since I had never lived anywhere else besides North Carolina and surrounding states, I accepted, moved across country and just pretty much started all over from scratch and would have not chosen to do it any other way. I am so glad I made the move. It has also put me in a place that when I am ready, then I am in an area that I can further myself in modeling and acting and being able to do art.

I'm familiar with your acting and modeling.  Tell me about the artist.

Samantha  Just being able to be a character. Not who I am as an actual person, in regards to acting or modeling. Being able to create a form of art to make people think or feel.
Samantha Mills sitting in truck  by Ray Thomas.jpg
 Photo Credit: Ray Thomas

I see.  Acting and modeling not only as a vocation but also as an artistic form of expression.

Samantha  Exactly!

Since your move you said it is like starting from scratch.  What are the first steps that you have taken in your new location in regards to acting or modeling?

Samantha  At the moment, honestly not a whole lot except to locate where the acting classes are and figure out which agencies I need to target for my age range for whenever the time comes to start submitting myself in hopes someone decides to sign me on.

How long have you been in L.A. now?

Samantha  I have been in LA going on 3 months in June. Have loved every single minute too.
The atmosphere and the variety of cultures, I love the melting pot vibe.

Did you know anyone there before arriving?

Samantha  Just a handful of other people who made the move this way as well. Knowing there were a few people out here I knew made it a little easier to transition to here as opposed to knowing no one at all. But I've managed to make a friend or two while out here at least. (laughs)

Does a move across country mean that you need to get a different agent?  Do you typically work with one agent exclusively or several? How does that work?

Samantha  I would need to find a new agent on the west coast. The agency I was with on the east coast was exclusive to that area. I would need to find one that would be able to book me jobs in this area but as far as I am aware, some agencies may let you sign with a different agency, as long as it is a different division (like  you can't have multiple commercial agents but you can have a commercial agent here and a theatrical agent elsewhere - however many, if not everyone you meet, will want you to sign across the board) and that alone is for acting, because I would also need to find a agent for print work as a model as well, if the agencies signed with don't have a modeling division as well.. it's a lot.

How did you first become interested in modeling and acting?  Which came first?

Samantha  Modeling actually came first. My mother was the one who got me started modeling as a child and doing print work as a kid. Eventually I fought back since I didn't want to be involved in modeling as I was more interested in playing in dirt at the time. (laughs) But I got involved in drama classes in 6th grade doing theatre and such and have been involved with acting ever since. It wasn't until after high school that I started to get back into modeling and since then it's just been a strange and interesting and fun journey

As an actress what kind of roles do you prefer?  What kind of movies do you like?

Samantha  I honestly prefer any kind of role, but I love being a character that's opposite of who I am in person. Overall though I just want to make people feel or think or smile and laugh or even be uncomfortable and disturbed. I like being well rounded and not just one certain type. It's being a character I enjoy. The fiction of being someone else. As for type the of movies I like, I just like all kinds. If a movie can grab and hold my attention, whether it be comedy or romantic or horror or action, if it can keep my focus on it and entertain me, then I enjoy it. I like to be open to all types and welcome everything and try to enjoy all that I can from not just movies but tv shows as well.

Have you remained  interested in theatre?

Samantha  Theatre is where I started but I have since become more interested in commercials and film work. 

Are you an ambitious person?  If so, what are your ambitions?

Samantha  I am a pretty driven person but I also know when it's time to move on from something, but I always have another thing to push forward on. I never try to limit myself and try to aim for what I want and just go for it. If I succeed, great, now aim higher. If not, then either figure out another route or figure out something else. There's always something to go for.

In your experience as a model, who usually has the most input about whether your get the job or not? The client, the photographer, or someone else?

Samantha  The client. The agent pitches you or you go to a "go see" (much like a casting call) and they, the client, decides if you would be the right model for them to model what they are trying to sell.

So I guess an agent sends one or more models to a client to find out which one suits the client's purpose.  The agent is working for both of you trying to get your the most bookings and fees with the least amount of rejection while at the same time helping find the right person with the smallest amount of effort for the client.  Is that right?

Samantha  I wouldn't say with the smallest amount of effort since they are having to basically sell the models to the clients when the models are being pitched, but other than that, that is probably correct. They want one of their models to book with the client so more work not just for the model happens, but more work from that client.

Yes, what I meant was the agent does a lot of the work so the client has to do less.  Isn't that the idea behind a client hiring an agency instead of just doing the call themselves?

Samantha  Exactly. Granted though, the client I'm sure has to determine who all they will need to  hire (model, photographer, makeup artist and so on), if they want to hire these people and other details needed that they need. So everyone as a whole is going to be busy trying to make this one thing develop and come together and work.

Samantha Mills sitting in truck  by Ray Thomas.jpg
 Photo Credit: Ray Thomas
Is the bulk of modeling about selling?  I'm trying to think of some examples where it's not but am not coming up with much except for instructional layouts.

Modeling is about selling a product. Whether it is editorial or commercial modeling, when it comes down to it, you are trying to create something to promote and showcase what ever it is the client is trying to sell. From clothing to jewelry to some sort of product and so on.

I guess modeling is similar to being an actor in that you want the client to see you as a blank canvas to work with?  Maybe more so with modeling?

Samantha  I guess you could say that. They want to make sure you are the right person to sell their product and that you can do the job and do it well and are marketable. The work itself is a different world from acting but they can have similar aspects.

Tell me a little abut your role in Honeyspider.

Samantha  My character, "Amber" is the best friend of the main character, "Jackie" played by Mariah Dallas Brown. It's Halloween and it's also "Jackie's" birthday and after instigating a little, I finally convince her to come to the annual Halloween party on campus after her shift at the local movie theater so we can do something to celebrate but let's just say some crazy things start to happen for everyone as the night starts.

Having worked at a movie theater myself during high school I like the setup for this movie.  Do you know when it will be released?

Samantha  I believe it is set to come out later this year (2014)

Any interesting stories you can tell about being on the set of your movies or modeling assignments?

Samantha  Honestly, nothing comes to mind as interesting from any set I have been on, yet. It's mainly always been just people from different walks of life just doing their job and a few jokes thrown around here and there but nothing that would be considered an eyebrow raiser, in our industry. Sounds like my next set needs to step up its game. (laughs)

You're an entertainer on one hand (acting) and a salesperson on the other (modeling).  Is that fair to say?  What lessons have you learned form being in these vocations?

Samantha  I would say you're a salesman either way. Modeling you're selling a product. Acting you're selling entertainment. Or at least that is how I see it. You're supplying something to the public. I have learned though you can't please everyone. You can do your best on the job and give the client exactly what they want but people/general public/etc can still be unhappy with your work. 

Just continue to do it and don't let it break you down. Do it for you and as long as you are happy doing it. If you feel you can't do it anymore or that it is too hard on you emotionally and mentally and its just breaking you down, then stop. Stop before you burn out. But if you truly love it, just do it.

Samantha Mills in Honeyspider
Samantha Mills in Bombshell Bloodbath
Photo Courtesy: Brett Mullen