POPULAR GIRL: AMANDA GRACE BENITEZ
Sep 3, 2020
In the The F**k-It List, a prank blows up on a high school senior’s life leaving him to share a list of certain things he wishes he’d done differently. In the movie Panamanian actress Amanda Grace Benitez plays the role of Stacy Blau a student that is definitely down for the ride.
Coming off of some cult classics like ‘All Cheerleaders Die’ and ‘School of rock’, isn’t the only thing on Amanda’s resume though. The actress also doubles as a fashion designer. Influenced by her Panamanian roots, Amanda is launching her new clothing line PRAER this fall. Given her passion, drive, (insane drumming skills) and upcoming projects, Amanda has positioned herself as a Hollywood must watch!
Popular TV caught up with the actress to discuss the new film, her fashion line, and which role she lied about to book (don’t worry. It all turned out fine)!
1. Congrats on The F**k-It List on Netflix! What was your favorite scene to film?
Thank you so much! The first scene that comes to mind is where my character, ‘Stacy Blau’ is coordinating and setting up the ultimate senior prank outside with the guys. I remember having an utter blast with the cast! Many impromptu dance and singing parties took place.
2. What’s on your F**k-It List?
I want to move to Paris, hands down! Swim with wild pigs, take a vacation in a tent off the grid, go on safari, hold a monkey, visit the rainforest, get married, dance under stars, and have the most decadent vegan picnic ever!
3. What can you tell us about “Don’t Look Back”?
Well, if you’re familiar with our director Jeffrey Reddick’s work (Creator of Final Destination Franchise,) you can be sure to prepare yourself for a horrific time! Can’t give away too much, but I play Maria Sanchez in this bloody film. I can’t wait for the world to see it!
4. As an actress, do you ever find yourself taking pieces of your characters back home with you?
Yes, funny that you ask. I feel like every character I have played up to this point has a special place in my heart forever. I create my characters through real life experiences, and they are all a part of me! So technically, we all sleep together at night! haha!
5. Of all your roles to date, which do you find to be the furthest from you?
Story time! Okay…I may or may not have told a director that I was an experienced swimmer in order to land a role in a TV film about water polo. I booked it! Great! … Now I have to learn synchronized swimming in an insanely short period of time. (mind you I can barely dog paddle.) Everything worked out perfectly in the end! And it just goes to show that you really can do anything you put your mind to. You just need to believe in yourself.
6. As an actress, is there any training you’re hoping to do in your career?
Nothing in particular comes to mind, but I would like to mention that as an actor, I find it really exciting when I get to learn new skills. Especially ones I would have never imagined myself doing. Believe it or not, it actually comes in handy in the real world.
7. Can you tell us a memorable audition experience?
Yes! I read for a horror/thriller flick called, “All Cheerleaders Die” which feels like it was just yesterday. I literally remember this undeniable chemistry as soon as I walked into the room. There was such a great energy and it made me feel like I had already booked the role. Luckily, I did actually book it! Yes! The very first lead role in a movie. To this day we have worked on more projects and have built a lifelong friendship.
8. Across the entertainment industry, and especially at Netflix, more stories from people of color are being told. What is a story you’d like to see told?
As a Panamanian I would really love to see and hear more content coming from South America. There have been many amazing advances and movements that don’t get to see the light of day. I’m really happy with the direction things are headed.
9. You’re going to launch your own fashion line PRAER this fall! When did you realize you wanted to design and create fashion?
In high school, I was always experimenting with different clothing combinations and styles (most of which sucked!) That’s where it all began for me. As I got older I started learning more about my heritage and really started taking an interest in it. It’s been a beautiful journey embracing who I am and discovering the importance of my culture.
10. What can we expect from the line?
You can expect a beautiful representation of Panamanian culture. Bright colors. Unique Patterns. 100% Vegan.
11. You are definitely a multidisciplinary artist from fashion, music, and acting. What is the background story to your many artistic abilities?
At age 3, I was enrolled in dance and loved it! As I excelled it started opening my eyes to all kinds of different styles of performing and art. You could say I caught the bug at a very early age! From there I enrolled in acting classes and right then and there, I knew that it was my calling. Both of my parents are set decorators and I was always around sets when I was young.
I would actually fake sick so I could go to work with my parents and watch the actors. I knew that I wanted to play make believe for a living!
12. What is something you wish you got asked more in interviews?
I would love to be asked more about my vegan lifestyle. I have been plant based since birth and am very outspoken about my belief in animal rights on social media. Always advocating for a cruelty free future!
13. Tell us a secret?
I don’t have any secrets! I’m an open book!
14. Are there any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I have many exciting things coming, but unfortunately, I can’t release any information yet. But check in on my socials for updates on my upcoming projects :)