Soap Opera Digest: What stands out about your stint on GH: NIGHT SHIFT?
Amanda Baker: That was my introduction to soaps and it was an amazing way to jump into things and learn how to memorize so much dialogue and all about how soaps are run, all the technical things that go along with it. Jolene was an amazing character to play. She was very bad, and I didn’t realize she was going to be as bad as she was when I first got the part. That was a lot of fun because I’d really only played the girl next door. I loved it!
Digest: After that, you joined AMC as a recast Babe.
Baker: When I found out I got the role, I had two weeks to move to New York. I pretty much sold everything, went into a new apartment sight unseen, but I was so thrilled to be living and working there. I was close with the girls that worked at Fusion, of course, because we worked together a lot — Missy Claire Egan [ex- Annie; Chelsea, Y&R], Chrishell Stause [ex-Amanda], Alicia Minshew [ex-Kendall], Rebecca Budig [ex-Greenlee] — and Jacob Young [ex-JR], who played my husband. Before Billy Miller [ex-Richie] left, we hung out quite a bit. Bobbie Eakes [ex-Krystal], I just loved her. She played my mom and was such a special person off screen, just so lovely.
Digest: Were you bummed when the show decided to kill Babe off?
Baker: I was bummed, no doubt about it. When I found out the news, I was heartbroken. But that is the name of the game in TV, especially soaps, so I accepted it and thought, “Well, if I’m going out, I want to go out with a bang.” Knowing the scenes would be really intense and emotional, I just really wanted to put forth the extra effort to do the best possible job I could. I knew I wasn’t done acting, so I decided to pack up and move back to L.A.
Digest: And now you’re a Nashville resident! How did that come about?
Baker: When I moved back to L.A., I met my husband, we got married and had our son, and in 2017, my husband had a job opportunity that took us to Nashville. I’m from the South originally and I was actually ready, I think, for that change. I had kind of taken a break from acting when I had my son and was sort of in a different space in my life, but Nashville being so close to Atlanta, which has become such a production hub, I decided to start pursuing it again, and it’s been great. Going back to work was kind of like starting all over again. When you step away from it, you’re sort of like, “Can I do this? Am I going to be able to do a good job?” I had a lot of reservations, for sure, but it’s been nice to [realize], “Yes, you’re able.”
Digest: How old are your kids now?
Baker: My son, Wilder, is 7, and Charleston — I’m from Charleston, South Carolina and she’s named after my hometown — just turned 2. She’s a handful, I’ll tell you that much! She just hit that stage where she’s like, “Oh, I’m independent, I’m going to do everything on my own.”
Digest: Tell me about your role on The CW’s BLACK LIGHTNING.
Baker: In 2019, I randomly had an audition for the show and ended up getting cast. At the time, they weren’t sure if the role was going to be recurring, but after I filmed it, I found out they’d be bringing her back for several other episodes, so I was thrilled. My character, Rebecca Larsen, is sort of the Fox News reporter on the show and brings that voice to it. She can be kind of snarky and there’s an edge to her and when I showed up for my first episode, I was just sitting in a chair and there was a TV screen behind me, but when I showed up for the second episode, they had created an entire newsroom set and I was like, “Oh, my gosh — Rebecca Larsen is legit!” That was really cool.
Digest: You also did a film recently with Jacob Young.
Baker: Jacob and I reconnected last year and he asked me if I was interested in doing a short film with him. It’s the true story of the astronaut John S. Bull, who was supposed to go to the moon. I was cast as his wife and I flew to Virginia in December to film over a long weekend. It was just incredible. The trailer just came out and it’s just beautiful. I’m super- excited to see the whole product, and it was so great to reconnect with Jacob. It felt like not a day had gone by. The chemistry and the ability to jump right in [to playing a married couple] was pretty seamless.
Digest: When you think back on your soap days, how would you say the experience influenced the person and actress you are today?
Baker: I think it really grew me up a lot, moving to New York on my own. Being on soaps is an amazing learning experience, showing you what it takes to know your lines, be prepared, and you only have one or two takes to get it right. It gave me so much confidence and courage and strength to step into things I might not necessarily have done without that experience on soaps. It really prepared me for a lot of things in life.