Amber Anderson has the face that could launch a thousand iconic roles. With grey-blue eyes, and cheekbones that could have been carved by Michelangelo there couldn’t be a more perfect role for the former face of Burberry than playing the model, Ciara Porter in the BBC adaption of JK Rowling’s book, Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling.
Following the private investigator, Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke) and his assistant, Robin Ellacott (Holliday Granger) as they set out to investigate the mysterious death of model, Lula Landry (Elarica Johnson), Amber’s character becomes embroiled in the drama and Mr. Strike himself.
Despite this being Amber’s breakout role, this isn’t the first time she has risen to public attention following a two year on-off relationship with Paulo Nutini that ended in March last year. The model turned actress now dates Jordan Stephens, the former Rizzle Kicks star turned Star Wars actor, but as I found out Amber is far more interested in fan girling JK Rowling than talking about her private life…
“I fan girled JK Rowling SO hard at the read-through. She is just very normal and was very involved in this production, giving such great advice to the entire cast. JK Rowling was involved in the best way but not to the point where you also couldn’t interpret something in your own way. I was terrified when I went to the read-through because I knew she would be there. I was introduced to her afterwards and she said, ‘oh I love your Ciara!’ I just replied with, ‘oh I love you so much,’ and then ran away! She really got me into reading books and has been such an important figure in my life.”
“There were so many incredibly inspiring actresses on set. Although I have to say that loads of my stuff is with guys, it was just a very mutually supportive atmosphere. Holliday Grainger who plays Robyn was incredible and such a nice human being. Then there is JK Rowling who is such an idol of mine from childhood – it was a really great thing to get to work with her and to have that experience.”
“I cried at Beyonce’s Wembley gig. She played twice last year in Wembley and I went to both nights so basically that was another major fan girling experience. When she did the Prince tribute to Purple Rain, I just cried – I didn’t cry the second time I was more jaded on the second visit!”
“Casting directors take me more seriously because I started modeling and acting at the same time. So I haven’t ‘transitioned’ from modeling to acting like some other people have and casters didn’t think that it was just as career choice. You use a different part of mind when you’re modeling than when you’re acting – as a model to be good at your job you have to be really conscious about how every part of your body looks in terms of your posing. Whereas as an actor I think you can’t be self-conscious because otherwise you’re not very good. Acting for me is about being able to switch off that self-consciousness.”
“Women are pigeonholed in this industry more than men. I think as a woman people want to define you and get quite scared if they come across someone that’s actually quite free and confident. If you believe in your own abilities people sometimes get quite threatened so there is a rebellion in just doing that. Just being able to be a woman who works is great because a hundred years ago that wasn’t possible, there is massive progress all the time. When I started out people were confined to being one thing or another, now everyone is much more open to the idea that actually a lot of people act, sing or even write poetry, all at the same time.”
“People are finally waking up to the idea that a woman can look nice and have a brain. Strike is the first time I’ve played a model, until now I have always very decisively turned down playing models because I just wanted to keep it separate. But it’s JK Rowling and her writing is so deep and the fact that she’s a model is kind of circumstantial. Yes the story happens to be in the fashion industry but actually she is a real fully formed character.”
“There are more well-formed characters more than ever before, especially when you look at Big Little Lies. I actually watched it twice because I watched it and then my boyfriend hadn’t seen it so I watched it with him. He loved it too! The show shines a light on all the other shows that don’t represent women properly, it defied that idea that if you’re a mean you’re like this and if you’re a woman you’re like this.”
“I have had public relationships but I think with any relationship it’s your relationship. I think you can just choose how much you want to engage with it in that public way. So I think you have the power to be really honest, no one else.”
“I used to be a stamp collector! Oh god, it’s really geeky but when I was a kid I used to collect stamps which I actually I have no shame about. I’m proud. I’m a proud ex-stamp collector. I grew up in the north of Scotland where I was a hippy kid. We didn’t have a television until I was about nine years old so I ended up having hobbies that are not necessarily very normal. As a kid I was playing on hay bails and making friends with cows - I was really popular at school as you can imagine!”
The final episode of 'Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling' will be shown on BBC One this Sunday.