IN CONVERSATION WITH SAMANTHA BLAIRE CUTLER
interview by JANA LETONJA
Multitalented actor, singer and dancer, Samantha Blaire Cutler stars in the much anticipated new series from Ryan Murphy, ‘The Watcher’. The series premiered this October and has already been renewed for a second season. Samantha also stars in STARZ! number one series ‘Power Book II: Ghost’, where she’ll be returning as Becca for the series’ third season, which will be coming out later this year.
Samantha, you’re starring in ‘The Watcher’, a series that follows the true story of a married couple who, after moving into their dream home in Westfield, New Jersey, are harassed by letters signed by a stalker who goes by the pseudonym ‘The Watcher’. How does it feel to be a part of this mystery thriller series, with such incredible cast and crew, and that’s already been renewed for a second season?
Being a part of The Watcher has been a huge blessing in my life. Each cast and crew member I met and worked with couldn’t have been more kind and collaborative. And obviously as a fan of Ryan Murphy’s work, it was a huge dream come true to not only be in his show, but be directed by him. The response to the show is more than I could have ever imagined and I can’t wait to see what they cook up for season two!
You’re playing the overly confident 17 going on 30 year old, Patricia Graff, who loves men who are just to old for her. This causes tension between her and her already stressed and overly protected father. She embraces and uses her sexuality to get what she wants, unbeknownst of the danger it could bring to her entire family. Did you see any similarities between yourself and Patricia? What did you learn through her character?
While my current self and Pat are different, I do see similarities in her from when I was seventeen: thinking you know what is best, not taking the advice of your parents, or making decisions that are definitely not the smartest. I believe most teenage girls mature faster than boys so Pat is at this age where she so desperately wants and thinks she is a fully grown adult, but we all know that is the illusion of adolescence. It was almost cathartic revisiting that mindset through Pat, seeing how much I’ve grown since that age, but also how big every emotion feels then.
Later this year, you’re also returning on the hit STARZ! Series ‘Power Book ll: Ghost’, for it’s third season. What can you share with us about the upcoming season, without giving away any spoilers?
With any series in the Power Universe, expect the unexpected. If people can imagine it, the stakes are even higher this third season and I can’t wait for everyone to finally see it. Every single cast and crew member brought their A-game for season three and I am so grateful to call these people my co-workers. Season one of Ghost came into my life right before the lockdown in 2020 and over the past two and a half years, has brought me the most genuine work and personal connections.
In ‘Power Book II: Ghost’ you play Becca, the daughter of upper East Side finance royalty. Samantha is a fashionista filled with sarcasm and comes from the world where money is the least of her family’s concern. But, she craves a life of her own outside her family’s empire. How do you yourself feel about fashion? Are you a fashionista just like Becca?
While I’d love to be half as fashion-forward as Becca, she definitely takes the title. We have very different styles, I am still discovering and playing with my personal style, but I love mixing more typically feminine silhouettes with looser, more masculine pieces. However, the outfits I wear as Becca provide me the same joy as playing dress-up as a kid and help me get into character. Her high-end and “it-girl” fashion sense definitely inspire me to step up my fashion game.
In Season 3, Becca will embarks on her journey for independence. Why do you believe it is so important for young women to embark on their journies for independence?
I believe as humans, it is necessary to prove to ourselves that we can take care of ourselves throughout this rollercoaster we call life. Depending on how each of us is raised, certain people and situations could hold us back from reaching our own potential if we let their opinions dictate our actions. While Becca and I come from different backgrounds, we are both going through transformative periods that will determine the type of life we want to lead. It can be terrifying to step outside your comfort zone, but the growth and self-knowledge that comes from taking that leap into independence makes it worthwhile.
You’ve started performing professionally at the young age of seven and left your hometown at nine years old, when you traveled to New York and booked your first Broadway National Tour of ‘Billy Elliot the Musical’. For that tour, you spent three years on the road traveling across the United States, Canada Brazil. What made you pursue acting after theater?
After I completed the tour, I was left with the decision to go back home to Kentucky or move to New York to continue pursuing this career. It was pretty much a no brainer for me to move, even though it was intimidating and a little frightening to move away from everyone I know and love. Although the mediums in which I perform have shifted and blended over the years, filled with many highs and many lows, I’ve always known that I am meant to perform in some capacity and be an artist. Moving to New York introduced me to the world of film and television and I will always be grateful to my parents and to myself for taking a chance on making my dreams my reality.
On the tour of ‘Billy Elliot the Musical’ you got to travel and experience new places and cultures. What was the most fascinating experience from visiting all these foreign places?
Well after three years on the road, we finished our tour in Sao Paolo, Brazil for three weeks. One of our days off, many of the cast and crew went on this excursion into the countryside and we kayaked through the amazon. I feel very blessed to have had this experience at such a young age.
Samantha, you’re currently enrolled at the Berklee Online Music School while continuing your training and career in the arts. Tell us more about your passions for music and arts.
I’ve been surrounded by the arts and performing since I was a little girl so I don’t and can’t remember my life without it. The beautiful aspect of the arts is that it is so diverse and layered; you can be a singer, a videographer, and a painter all at the same time and I love the multifacetedness that is being encouraged in artists today. Although I’ve been singing most of my life, I am very grateful for the vast musical knowledge I’m gaining at Berklee.
For fun, you love anything that involves nature, hiking, kayaking, camping, the ocean, traveling and local culture. If you had to choose, do you prefer ocean or mountains?
That’s quite a difficult question for me to answer because I enjoy both for different reasons. At this moment I prefer the mountains because we are heading into the colder months. I love a good hike surrounded by the fall foliage.
You are also very passionate about Reproductive Access Organizations, particularly the Kentucky Health Justice Network. Why is this so important to you? And why is what they do so important today in the United States?
The bottom line is that everyone should have the right and access to make decisions surrounding healthcare for themselves, without the interference of any persons or bodies of government. I have family members and friends in states where they are stripped from these very rights. Until safe reproductive healthcare is available to anyone who needs or wants it, I will continue to speak up and support organizations such as KHJN.
photography MATT TENAGLIA