If you follow along on our heymama.co Instagram stories, then you may already be familiar with Samantha Gutstadt. This Cali girl grew up in Canada but now spends her time juggling her career as an Actress, Digital Content Creator and Producer while raising her two young boys in sunny LA. We were intrigued by how Samantha has brought together her passions for being both in front and behind the camera to create a successful and fulfilling career. Read on to find out how this self-starter tries to maintain her sanity amidst the chaos of it all.
Samantha, you are an actress, digital content creator and producer. How did your background lead you to the career you have today?
At the age of 5 I came home from camp asking my mom to put me in “acting class”. My mom (quite shocked) agreed and thus my acting career began. I worked in fashion shows, print campaigns and small acting roles which led to bigger roles as I got older on Canadian shows like Degrassi: The Next Generation. While a freshman in college, I got an internship at MuchMusic (Canada’s MTV) where I learned about breaking news production, fashion news, events, as well as how to edit and produce. I ended up getting a part time job there and balanced it with auditions and acting/modeling roles.
I eventually moved to the US where I booked two movies (that shot in Canada – of course!) and as luck would have it, while on the red carpet for the premiere, I met a producer who worked in the digital space. I was fascinated with the direction digital was heading and wanted to find out more about it and he hired me! I worked as an on-camera host for them, traveling around the globe covering film festivals and creating digital content integrated with brands.
I continued to expand the type of content I was creating after my kids were born and now work for Nylon Magazine and a show on Awestruck called, Almost Perfect Mom Hacks. What I’m most excited about however, is my own two scripted shows that I have in development! One is called Pillow Talk and the other is, Preschool Moms. I also have another scripted project that is just in the beginning stages. All these shows are about motherhood and relationships, trying to find the humor in things that can be tough, and also highlighting women and how complicated and multi-dimensional we are!
You recently launched your blog, SamSoMuch and you’re also a regular contributor to Bottle + Heels. Where do you find your inspiration? Do you ever feel like you are sharing too much about your personal life?
I get inspired every day! My kids inspire me so much, the fun moments, the tough moments and everything in between. The challenges I face as a working mom, as a wife, as a friend, daughter, and as a person who loves the things she did before motherhood and wants to transition it all to “momlife” inspire me. I’m a big note taker and I write things down throughout the day, whether it’s a product I can’t wait to share, a funny line my kid said or a moment that I think could be relatable.
I was very nervous about sharing my personal life and stories when I started writing again, as a mom. The first story I shared was a very personal one, and a very hard one, and when it was published, I panicked. And then I saw the warm response, and how people who read it where touched by it and related to it, and I knew I had to keep going.
You have a writing partner. How did you two meet and how often do you work on new material together? Anything fun in the works?
Yes! It’s actually a funny story. Karine and I met because her hubby saw me at physiotherapy when I was 8 months pregnant and thought we’d be fast friends. Turns out, we were! Our synergy quickly evolved, and we really enjoy creating together and magic kinda happens when we get together and start writing. We are both very different, but enjoy the same type of comedy, and we both understand each other and are the Ying to the other’s Yang.
And in your free time (ha!), you are also a working actress and regularly appear in commercials. What is one thing that people would find most surprising about the audition process?
Hmm…I guess how awkward the whole process is. I have way too many funny stories about auditions. Nothing is natural about the process, but it is a necessity and I get it. I’ve been on the other side too when I’ve had to cast a project, so that helps demystify it a tad.
You like to see the funny in motherhood. What is the most ridiculous thing that has happened to you since becoming a mom?
Oh boy! There are so many, how do I pick just one? I’d say it would be the time I was so sleep deprived I woke up at 1 am and started a huge pot of coffee and made a full breakfast. I downed the coffee, ate breakfast and went back to my room to start to get ready and looked at the clock and was like..what?! Ya. That happened. Sleep deprivation is no joke. I read 6am on my iPhone instead of 1am and apparently was ready to start my day in the middle of the night. Lol!
You’ve lived in LA since 2007. What is on your “go to” list when showing out of town guests around?
I have so many places that I love to share when friends come to visit but if I had to pick a few favorites, I’d include:
West Hollywood/Bev Hills: Walk around Rodeo Drive and grab lunch at one of the many outdoor patios. Head over to 3rd Street and Melrose to shop and check out the fun stores. Finish up at the Chateau Marmont before sunset for drinks and dinner for that classic old-school Hollywood night.
Downtown: I love showing friends how cool Downtown LA has become. I have so many favorite spots, but I would definitely do Katsuya at LA Live or Perch Rooftop or Bestia. I would also recommend checking out the cool architecture and buildings popping up there.
We’re big believers in collaboration with other women at heymama. Are there any women you’d love to collaborate with?
I’m a huge believer in collaboration too! It’s how the magic happens right? I am already collaborating with two heymama ladies – Aisha Alkayali from @thegiftpick and Nicole Neves from @mysequinlife! I want to continue to collaborate with the amazing entrepreneurial mamas in our community. Call me!
How do you manage juggling your schedule around your two little boys?
I won’t lie, it’s tough. My husband is still building his business and works long hours. We don’t have family here (well… I have my amazing brother and sister-in-law, but they have 3 kiddos so it’s not like they’d be thrilled if I dropped off my kids there as well). I rely a lot on our amazing nannies (yes, plural. My nanny and her niece help make up the hours we need on a typical week). They truly have become like extended family to us. They have slept over with the kids when we both had to travel, and are always available for us in a pinch, which makes it all so much more manageable.
I’m also a big believer in scheduling my time so I can be at as much stuff with my boys as possible. I’ve done the unthinkable (by LA standards!), and crossed the 405 multiple times in a day, just to be at my boys’ preschool for drop offs and pick ups. I do work at 11pm as my eyes are begging to close, just so I could have a few extra hours with my little dudes at the park. I just do my best.
What are your 5 go-to beauty products?
I remind myself about this each day. All my kiddos really need to be happy is love. If I can teach them that and tell myself that, then the days I feel like I’m treading water, I know that I’m always giving them the one thing unconditionally and that’s all that really matters.
Did you have someone who really influenced and helped to develop you in the early days? A mentor? What was that like?
I really do. My first mentor (whom I need to email and thank ASAP!) was Jeff Stephenson. I was 18, and had just been accepted into a very prestigious film program in Canada and Jeff took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew. Jeff was (and still is) a very successful Canadian writer and director who had cast me in numerous music videos he directed, but more importantly, he helped me figure out the direction I was going when I first entered this industry. As a junior in college, my student film got into a film festival in Los Angeles and Jeff (who was living in LA at the time) let me stay at his place and use his car. His encouragement was integral to me wanting to one day be here in LA and he taught me about the craft and maintaining authenticity and I hold this as a standard for the work I do.
You have so many shows in the works! We love your Awestruck Network show, Almost Perfect Mom Hacks where you show off hacks for every event in a mom’s life. Do you have any time-saving hacks that you’ve incorporated into your daily life?
Oh yes! I actually just collaborated with Collette Wixom from Mini Style Hacker and Chelsea Cannell from MoreThanMrs on one of my hacks – packing! I have totally streamlined the packing process and can’t wait to show off the video when it’s out. I also have “going to restaurants with two little dudes” hacks (is that a thing?) getting kids to bed quickly hacks and I like to think of myself as a sleep guru, so I have a boatload of hacks for that. And as a curly haired mama, I have a lot of hair taming hacks.
Congrats on your shows in development! What other exciting things can we look forward to?
Yay! I do and I am so excited to be creating scripted content. When I was pregnant with my first son, I met another pregnant mama to be, Karine Nissim. She came from the film world as well, is super funny and we share a similar sensibility. She created a web series called, Preschool Moms, which we both appear in and it was optioned by a network. We then created Pillow Talk, which is currently in development, and I also have another scripted project that is just at the beginning stages. All these shows are about motherhood and relationships, trying to find the humor in things that can be tough, and also highlighting women and how complicated and multi-dimensional we are!
3 pearls of wisdom
Pick your battles. I have learned to not freak out over every little thing. I choose the things that are important for me to implement and relax about the rest.
Let it go. Every day is a new day. Somedays are easier then others but I learned how to hit the restart button each day, because I’m not perfect and that’s alright.
All we need is LOVE