Samantha Wendorf is an actress based in New York City. In March 2018, Samantha made her off-off Broadway debut in NYC as the lead in the world premiere of “Upstander Bystander: From Camp to Camp.” She played the Refugee in this important new work about the danger in viewing others as “different.” The experience was very collaborative as each actor (hailing from all different countries) was able to workshop the script alongside the director, Marisa Stefatos, and writer, Laurence Bohec, who came all the way from France to NYC to help make this project possible. The show was named “Best Bet” by Theatre is Easy.
Samantha has recently been busy working in film, and as of May 2018 just wrapped up her first lead role in an independent feature film, Saving Savanna. 2018 has been a whirlwind year for Samantha in film/new media with the hopes that most of the projects will hit the festival circuit by 2019.
Samantha is a native New Yorker who received a Bachelors of Science in Broadcast Journalism and Acting from CUNY. Before becoming a professional actress, she worked in documentary production and was an avid traveler. Being of a mixed ethnic background, she’s always been fascinated by other cultures and able to connect with people from all corners of the globe. She hopes that her life experience, alongside her compassion for the world and curiosity of humanity will continue to fuel her art, as well as align her with projects that can truly make a difference and touch audiences on a deeper level.
Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with Actress Samantha Wendorf
NY Elite: What are you latest and current movie projects?
The latest film project I was a part of was an independent short film titled 7,000.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about your character in the film?
My character’s name is Cassie. We only see her having her toast and coffee as she participates in a conference call with several of her neighbors every morning. They all live on the ground floor of their apartments and listen in on what people passing by are saying and share their tidbits for a good laugh to start off their day. It all goes as usual until one day they overhear a conversation that is going to lead to a tragic event. Every character represents how we, as a society, respond differently to tragic events, such as mass shootings. Cassie’s character reflects how many of us feel numb because it’s too unbearable to let ourselves really feel what’s happening, and how we can easily allow ourselves to get distracted by trivial things in order to avoid feeling the burden of reality.
NY Elite: What was it like working with the director?
Working with the director, Maria Stamatakos, was wonderful! I love when an artist tackles a heavy conversation – something that most people try to stay away from from in daily life. I felt that she was very thoughtful and really took the actors into her consideration while directing us.
NY Elite: In which movies have you played lead role?
In the independent feature film, Saving Savanna, I played the title lead character Savanna Winslow. Also, in the independent short film, Left Behind, I played the supporting lead Allison (a young mother and wife to the lead character).
NY Elite: Among all your roles so far, which has been your favorite one and why?
I think my favorite role so far has been Allison in Left Behind directed by Rolando Hernandez III. Although there wasn’t much rehearsal time, I felt very connected to this character and the rest of the cast and crew immediately. I remember when I auditioned for this role I was having a pretty rough day. I showed up to the studio, with all of my anxieties and emotions brimming at the surface, and I just sat down, took a few deep breaths and got into audition mode. Then I got the sides for Allison and it was so amazingly well written that I was immediately in tears again! There was just something about Allison’s compassion and love for her husband that really came through and resonated with me. Once we were shooting, and although it was only for a weekend, I felt totally at home in the process and absolutely comfortable with everyone on set. They were my movie family!
NY Elite: What do you enjoy most about your acting career?
What I love most about my acting career is that I get to tell stories and start conversations about things that really matter in this world. There’s something amazing about art and when we can go into a completely made up fantasy world, but for me, I’ve always been driven by how I can make a difference. How can I use my voice and my art to be in service of others? What taboo thing can I uncover in order to make the audience think about themselves and the world in which they live? I really just hope that my work will inspire others.
NY Elite: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
I’m all about self-care and wellness! I love to work out, whether it’s yoga or a HIIT workout or a run along the water. Being active keeps me sane. Otherwise I’m usually at the movies or watching the newest show on Broadway. And of course, there’s nothing like having a great meal and drinks with friends to unwind from this crazy lifestyle from time to time.
NY Elite: Are you working on your next project now?
I just shot a crime drama pilot for New Media. I play Special Agent Charli McNally. Playing an agent is so much fun! Charli is so different from all of the characters I’ve played in the past. She’s confident and hotheaded and doesn’t hold back anything. I can’t wait to see what happens throughout the rest of the season.
NY Elite: What personal advice would you give to someone about impressing the directors during audition? How to audition?
Just be you. I know it’s cliché, but it’s so true. Be you, be confident and comfortable because if you’re uncomfortable, they’re uncomfortable. Just remember that they’re human too and not that different from you. And once the camera starts, just do something! Have a point of view. It doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong point of view, but if the CD or director sees that you’ve made a choice, it will make them want to give you a direction.
NY Elite: What causes/charities you actively support or feel strongly about?
Oh my god, all of them! I donate monthly to the ACLU and have donated to the World Food Programme. But really so many causes/charities have gotten my money! There are just so many unfortunate things happening in the world right now, and I know we’re not all made of money, but any little thing helps.
I feel very strongly about immigration. As the daughter, sister, granddaughter and niece of immigrants, I know how important it is that we do not let our current administration turn asylum seekers into criminals. Citizen or not, every human being deserves their inalienable rights to shelter and safety.
NY Elite: What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?
I’m so grateful for everything. Gratitude alone has truly changed my life. I’m grateful that I get to wake up every day and do what I love. I’m grateful for my family and friends and all of their support. I’m grateful that I’m able to support myself in the best (and one of the most expensive!) cities in the world!