From Playmate To Social Media StarAmanda Cerny Discusses the New Age of Stardom.
Amanda Cerny is a household name to millions of Millennials and Gen Z followers, and it’s not because she was Playboy’s Miss October 2011. In fact, most of her new fan base isn’t even aware of her Playmate status.
That’s because the 24-year-old Pittsburgh, PA native has spent the past six years parlaying a successful modeling career (with clothing on) in Los Angeles into a lucrative social media career. She has over 4.6 million Vine followers who have watched over 2.2 billion Vine Loops, more than 4.2 million Facebook followers, over 4.2 million Instagram followers, more than 419,000 Twitter followers, and is the self-described “queen of Snapchat.”
The social media influencer is starring in her first feature film, Internet Famous, which is a parody of online fame starring real YouTubers and social media stars such as Shane Dawson, Christian Delgrosso, Steve Greene and Wendy McColm.
Cerny talks about her goals of turning internet fame into a big screen and television career in this exclusive interview.
THE RED BULLETIN: How did your work in front of a camera for Vine and YouTube videos help with your role in the feature film Internet Famous?
AMANDA CERNY: For Vine and Instagram, I play a role where I’m this ditsy, dumb girl walking around. When the casting came out for the role of Amber on Internet Famous, she was this girl that was very much in her own world and very ditsy. So it was like playing one of my characters that I do in my sketches, which made the actual movie a lot easier.
Having just worked on Internet Famous, what are your own Hollywood aspirations as you look forward?
I signed with CAA [Creative Artists Agency] about a month ago. They represent me across the board, but my main interest in signing with an agency was to get larger and more traditional film and television roles. It’s weird to say “traditional” now because social media and the traditional world are colliding so much, so it’s all becoming one world now. I just want to do more movies. This was my first movie and I want to use it on my reel. I have a few more things I’m working on. I’m doing a few television shows with them, and I’ve done this virtual reality show. So more and more keeps coming my way, and it’s definitely stepping stones into building a larger career in film and television.
What is your virtual reality show?
It’s a television series; you put on the goggles and step into the world of a TV show. You’re able to look around the whole set. And the way we film it is so much different than any other film or TV production because it has to run like a play. Nobody else can be in the room with you, otherwise the viewer will see the director or the sound guy or the lighting. We shot in a closed room with the director outside hoping that you’re doing your lines right and running the script the way it’s supposed to be.
And if one person messes up a line, does everyone have to start over?
Yeah, that’s about it. Sometimes they moved the camera around the room just to get different angles for the viewer to go into. When they did that it’s like a memory game – knowing where in the room you’re walking, at what time, and where everyone is. It’s all in sequence so you can’t improve on every take. The next take has to be very similar to the first take you did so it can all connect.
What’s the premise of the show?
It’s called Eleven and I’m a secret agent. I don’t want to give too much away, but it opens up with me in a hotel room and I turn into a badass, killing people. It’s fun. It’s a much different role than Internet Famous, for sure.
How are you seeing Hollywood embrace social media influencers today, and is there any equation between how many followers you have and potentially a traditional actor and what kind of box office they have?
Yeah, I’ve noticed a huge difference, even within the past six months, of directors and producers reaching out and being more interested in working with social media influencers. And specifically, the ones that are doing sketches and their own comedy shows on their own platforms are the most interesting to those directors to be a part of their films. Initially it was like, “Oh, you’re a social media influencer; you don’t know how to act, you can’t be in this.” But a lot of the social media influencers actually started out wanting to do more acting, but they didn’t have an agency or representation and they were just having fun and they came out with sketches on their channels because of something that they couldn’t control. Some of them have backgrounds in acting, so a lot of different directors and producers are realizing that and opening their minds more to not just looking at social media influencers as numbers. Initially they were doing that, which didn’t work out the best because you also need talent with those numbers when you’re having them act.
If you get a social media person that just blogs all the time and they have no interest in acting and then you put them in an action film, it’s just not going to make sense. So they did more research and figured out who’s going to do the castings, and not just by numbers. That’s definitely an added bonus and what opened the door for the influencers. Now when you go into the room, you’re not just the stereotype of a social media influencer. You’re actually able to cast for that role and be taken seriously.
What role did your Playboy experience play in building the social media empire that you have today?
It backfired. Being a Playmate is what got me out to LA, so I’ll never regret it. It’s a great platform to build off of. I had a small Instagram following and that following was only there to see sexy photos I would post in a bikini. It wasn’t the most loyal fan base to have. But when I started making Vines, my audience got a lot younger. And also I’m making comedy, so my videos would be shared a lot and go viral and reach a lot of different people. So I became known as a comedian on social media. When people would Google me, Playboy would be a secondary thing that they would find. But it’s funny because a lot of kids have no idea what Playboy is. Gen Z is like, “What’s a centerfold?”