Amber Stevens West on Marrying Her Onscreen Boyfriend IRL
For many of her fans, Amber Stevens West evokes two emotions: empowerment and total nostalgia. The actress has landed badass roles on 22 Jump Street, The Fast and the Furious, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Carmichael Show. But the one that first landed her in our hearts was her turn as Ashley Howard on Greek, where she met and later went on to marry her fictional on-screen boyfriend Fisher (Andrew J. West) IRL.
Her latest? Ghosted (Sundays at 8:30 ET on FOX), a funny, new Ghostbusters-like comedy on FOX also starring Adam Scott and Craig Robinson. In it, she plays Annie, a powerhouse charged with helping Scott and Robinson take down ghosts and other supernatural creatures.
We caught up with the 30-year-old star (who also just so happens to be the daughter of celebrated model Beverly Cunningham and radio host Shadoe Stevens) to talk about Ghosted, her uber-fashionable mother, and what it’s actually like to fall in love with your co-worker in Tinseltown.
Why’d you choose to take on Ghosted?
I love working in television and in comedy so whenever there's an opportunity to work on a TV sitcom, I’m like, "Yes please!" It’s a bonus that I get to play a really strong character. She’s very useful. She’s not a prop. She’s smart and they need her in order to solve crimes and fight things like zombies and monsters and aliens.
Who were your favorite female actresses growing up?
Mary Tyler Moore is the woman who started it all. That show is amazing. Again, a comedy starring a female who was single and OK with it. And then there was Murphy Brown, another wonderful show with a strong leading female. Those were pretty powerful shows to me growing up. Nowadays there certainly is a lot more happening. It’s not equal to what we see with leading men and powerful men on TV, but we’re certainly making progress, and I’m proud of all the people out there creating content that they’re paying more attention to that and allowing women to be useful in stories.
You’re not single, but have you ghosted or been ghosted?
I’ve never really been single! I'm a serial monogamist. Ever since I was allowed to hold a boy’s hand I was like, "Oh my god! We’re boyfriend-girlfriend. We’re together!" So no, that never happened to me and I was always really conscious of wanting to do the right thing … but I certainly have my fair share of friends, male and female, who have been ghosted have ghosted.
You met your husband Adam J. West on Greek. Let’s be real, what really happens when you’re portraying someone’s fictional love interest?
The thing is, chemistry is undeniable. It just exists whether or not you’re trying to have it. They just did a really good job casting him ‘cause I didn’t have to audition with him or anything. He was just the best actor that came in. It was a very instant connection that we had … It was like this instant, like, eye contact thing. We were like, "Oh, who are you?" and I immediately went back to the hair and makeup room and started Googling him like a weirdo … We just had an instant connection and it was really special.
It’s not always like that with a love interest that you have to play on television. It can be very awkward. You have to fake it. After the first time you have to kiss somebody then it becomes less weird. You’re like "Oh, OK, it’s like kissing my right arm. There’s no feeling that I have to feel. When I kiss this person I can just fake it and it's OK." Chemistry is just undeniable. That’s not to say you may not have chemistry with other people throughout your life, but in my opinion as a human being we just have to learn to not act on those kinds of feelings once you’ve made a commitment to be with somebody. I’m obsessed with my husband, and I enjoy every moment with him, but it would be silly of me to assume that we may not ever have a very nice connection with another person—whether it be at work or just in the real world. But we’ve made a commitment that were not gonna act on those things. I think that will take the pressure off of making you want to cheat on your spouse.
Tell us about growing up with your famous model mom, Beverly Cunningham. Did you love her style?
My mom has the best style ever. A lot of girls my age when they talk about their moms in the ‘80s, they’re like, "Oh god, all her stuff was so tacky and gross." My mom was like the one woman in the ‘80s who was killing it everyday. She was so beautiful and she had such great taste that it never went tacky, ever. She somehow figured out how to do the ‘80s really well. I was in her closet very young.
My mom let me buy a pair of huge heels when I was probably 9. I was really young, but they were like these funky boots. She just would let me dress up and she had great taste. It wasn’t like Toddlers and Tiaras or anything like that. She always had the coolest stuff and she still to this day does.”
Are there tips she taught you that you still follow?
My mom’s not afraid of color. Neither am I. she kind of started the whole color-blocking thing like 20 years ago, and I think about that every time I see someone in a full head-to-toe color thing. So that’s something that I definitely copy from her. For many years she always wore vintage scarves on her head. It was her signature thing. She for some reason got rid of that thing like five years ago, but it was the coolest trend. As soon as she stopped everyone started wearing funky scarves on their head. I have a crazy collection of scarves because of her. And pink lipstick. She always wears pink lipstick.
What’s your red carpet ritual?
To be honest, I don’t love the getting-ready-for-red-carpet thing. I like when it’s done, the final product, but the actual doing of all that is not my favorite ‘cause I’m kind of impatient, and I don’t like to be doted on. I’m a very independent, ‘I’ll do it myself’ sort of personality. So I feel like, 'Oh my god, I have to entertain you and make sure that you’re well fed while you’re here and get you something to drink.' And I don’t like that they’re doing stuff to me. I would rather be helping them. That’s why I have my friends doing my hair and makeup and styling because then I feel a little less like I have to do that. I can just relax, let them take over, and we can just chat. If I’m doing any sort of morning stuff I’m always watching The Today Show, and I have a coffee beforehand. That’s my tradition in the morning. For skincare, the night before I’ll try to make sure that I clean my face really well. I’m kind of low maintenance.