Raising Her Voice
Amber Nash, star of the hit animated series “Archer,” is full of character
Atlanta native, actress, improviser and voice over star Amber Nash discovered her “funny” in elementary school. “I was always a class clown. I was a chubby kid and found that the best way to make friends was to make people laugh,” says Nash, who grew up in Gwinnett County and now lives in Cabbagetown.
Though she dabbled in plays in high school, Nash, 40, didn’t come from an artistic family and wasn’t of the mindset to pursue a creative track in college. She studied psychology at Georgia State, and during her university years, a friend took her to a show at Whole World Improv Theatre in Midtown. She instantly knew she’d found her thing. “I signed up for improv classes that very night, and it became my hobby throughout college. On the weekends, I would both see and do shows,” she says.
After graduating in 2000 and working for the state as a social worker, Nash realized that acting was her true calling and took a leap of faith to pursue it full-time. Most actors would have jetted off to New York or Los Angeles, but she stayed put. “I always promised myself that I would leave Atlanta, but I kept getting work here. Why would I leave a city where I have work for a city where I wouldn’t be working? Then this insanity happened [Georgia is number three in worldwide film production], and now it’s the best place to be,” she explains.
Nash worked with the improv comedy troupe Laughing Matters before coming on board at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, located in Old Fourth Ward, as an ensemble member in 2004. A year later, she became the theater’s education director. At this point, the funny femme has taught, created, written and performed in thousands of improv shows.
In 2007, she caught a big break, landing a voiceover gig on “Frisky Dingo,” an animated cartoon series on Adult Swim. “Becoming a voice over actor has been a dream job. It’s actually an easy job because I don’t have to memorize my lines,” Nash says. “The toughest part, though, is that all you have is your voice. You have to get everything across through your voice—all of your intention that you’d usually use your whole body, costume and more for if you were a live actor.”
When the same producers were casting for the lead voice of the full figured character Pam Poovey in the hit animated adult series “Archer” on FX/FXX, they once again turned to Nash. “I really do love the character so much. Pam is such a badass. She’s even become a sex symbol for bigger gals,” Nash says. She records each episode of the patriotic spy sitcom, which has been honored with two Primetime Emmy Awards and a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Animated Series, in a Midtown studio.
When things started to pick up with “Archer” in 2011, Nash left her gig at Dad’s Garage but still maintained close ties. Her husband is, in fact, the artistic director. “That’s another reason I had to stop working there. He was my boss,” she jokes. The duo, along with other members from Dad’s, have since produced a web series together called Hart of America on Dad’s Garage TV, and her performance earned her an Indie Series Award nomination for Best Actress—Comedy. “I wanted to do more on-camera work and went to my husband and said, ‘Hey, what if we did a web series that I got to star in, but I’ll fund it, too?’ He and his writing partner wrote the series, and we produced it together. It was all hands on deck for this scrappy little project. We shot it in seven days at a camp in North Georgia,”
Nash says. Nash has just reached the tip of the iceberg on her acting journey. She dreams of one day having her own show, like comedienne Amy Schumer. “That would be like winning the lottery,” she says.
STORY: Karina Antenucci
Photo: Birdie Thompson