Amy Adams, whose new movie “Arrival” is out now, took an unusual route to her own arrival in the Hollywood big time. The five-time Oscar nominee started her adult life working as a waitress in a Hooters restaurant.
But even when she was serving chicken wings in the racy eaterie’s trademark skimpy uniforms for $7-an-hour, she had big dreams. “It was a great way for me to earn money for college,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “It was a great job out of high school and I was a hostess a first and then I waited tables for a while.”
Amy also received an education in life working at Hooters. “There was definitely an innocence to my interpretation of what Hooters was about,” she told Vanity Fair. “Though I did learn, quickly, that short shorts and beer don’t mix! The nicest guy walking in is not necessarily the nicest guy after two pitchers of beer.”
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As soon as she had saved up enough money she quit the job, bought a car and sped off – not towards college but towards the stage. She abandoned the idea of further education to immediately pursue her dream career as a professional ballet dancer. But she slowly realized life in a tutu was not going to be for her.
“I trained as a ballet dancer, and so that’s what I always thought I was going to do,” Adams told The Hollywood Reporter. “But as I got into dance, I realized dance didn’t really fit me. My personality goes better with musical theater. Ballet dancing was too disciplined, really straining. And I was always talking and smiling.”
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Unlacing her pointe shoes, she set off for a new adventure of musical theater which incorporated her love of dance with a slightly more friendly and exuberant touch. Adams took a bite of the new industry with humble dinner theater performances before being discovered and brought to the L.A. big leagues.
She had years of struggle at first, working a lot but never breaking through to stardom – until making the decision to grab the red hair dye. Those natural blonde locks graced the screen in her early years, but her dramatic transformation cultivated a look that Adams is most-known for, adding to the fellow narratives of blonde-turned-redhead actresses such as Emma Stone.
“Based on roles that I was getting, called in for, people were responding to certain types of characters with me as a blonde and the minute I went red, it was quirky and fun instead of flirtatious and dumb,” Adams revealed to Times Talk, hosted by The New York Times. “It was great, I liked that. But in all seriousness, it’s just hair color. It was really fascinating to see just one element of yourself change people’s perception and that became a very powerful tool for me even in my acting.”
Soon after reaching for that hair dye, she finally got her big break with an Oscar nominated performance in acclaimed independent movie “Junebug.” That paved the way for a string of major films to follow, including “Enchanted,” “Doubt” and “American Hustle.”
Now comes her latest film, alien invasion drama “Arrival.” Amy is generating more Oscar buzz for this Nov. 11 release. She plays a linguistics expert who is called in by the authorities to make first contact with the alien species in the hope she can decipher their language.
Amy has certainly deciphered the key to Hollywood success – even if she did take an unusual route to get there.
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