By Julienne Graebner │ September 1, 2020
I had the opportunity to interview actress Jessica Ambuehl, who played Mrs. Smart in “Lost Treasure of Jesse James” and will be seen as the Goddess Isis in the upcoming film “Shakespeare’s Mummy”.
“I first thought I wanted to act as a young teenager, so my parents graciously took me to a local talent agency in St. Louis,” Jessica explains. After being signed to the agency, she took acting and modelling classes, but like any kid, she soon became bored. It wasn’t until her mid-20s that Jessica rekindled her love of performance.
“I was married and had my first child. Since I had a flexible schedule, I thought I would see if the same agency I was with over a decade earlier could use another baby on their roster. While at the audition for my son, I decided to audition, too.” The agency signed her, and Jessica was a working actress once again! Since then, her passion for performance and the film industry has grown exponentially — so has her exposure. Currently, she has representation in six different states, ensuring plenty of audition opportunities.
“I remember the first commercial I did,” Jessica explains that she and her two children appeared in a commercial for Southeast Missouri Hospital, and despite them both being boys, “they dressed my infant in a pink onesie and his name in the commercial was “Maggie”. It’s a fun memory we still talk and joke about today — over ten years later!”
“It was fun to be a part of a scene with lots of kids and enjoyed watching Adam Boster enthusiastically direct with them on set to keep their energy and interest up,” Jessica says about her time on set for “Lost Treasure of Jesse James”, the first of director Adam Boster’s Missouri-based feature films. She was also cast in his upcoming feature film, saying, “I was incredibly grateful for the role of the Goddess Isis in “Shakespeare’s Mummy.” I appreciated the attention to detail in the costume and overall look of the character, which took around one hour to prep each time. It was great to work with such a diverse cast and watch this story come to life.”
Jessica admits she isn’t much like her character, she laughs, saying, “I don’t typically wear a heavy headpiece or summon the dead with my voice.” However, she can relate to Goddess Isis’ deep passion for the one she loves, and her willingness to do anything to be with them, “As a wife for over 20 years and mom of two boys, ages 16 and 11, I would turn the world upside down to make sure we spend time together.
While Jessica’s extensive IMDB page and resume with over 100 projects; commercials, voice-overs, television shows, short and feature length films — she is not just an actress (seriously, her resume is huge. Check it out here). She has also worked behind-the-scenes as a producer, director, casting director, and has even traveled across the world as a photojournalist, so she knows a thing or two about the industry.
“A large issue in the film industry today, especially in the Midwest, is the misconception that talent is lacking in our area,” Jessica explains, “People “flyover” us to get to the larger markets but I look forward to the day when our industry realizes we have so much to offer and stories to tell with excellence.”
Additionally, she cites the pandemic as an especially large obstacle for performers, saying, “Rightfully so, safety is top priority, but I have already experienced as an actor and producer, the extra amount of time, energy, and money it takes to ensure things are done to meet protocols. But, we’re a creative industry so I’m confident we’ll adjust to finding a new way in this “new norm” to share our stories with the world.”
Though many of the short films she has been cast in have been placed on hold due to the pandemic, Jessica has been doing a plethora of self-tape auditions at home. She is also producing a short film called “Vision”, about a teenage artist from St. Louis, which she says highlights “the incredible nonprofit work of LOVEtheLOU, bringing their mission of restoration and reconciliation of North St. Louis to light in narrative form.”
You can check out her performance resume, on-camera reels, photos, and so much more on her website: