The inspiration for FX network’s Archer, started as: what if James Bond was played by Charlie Sheen as Charlie Sheen?
While our lovable “bad guy,” Archer, is the main character in each season, Archer’s iconic Pam Poovey, the combat-effective, Human Resources Director, has shone incredibly bright as the series has progressed. Pam is voiced by the ever-talented, and dearly hilarious, Amber Nash. Who, like Pam, has an incredibly huge heart, hidden talents, and a love of adventure. Screaming with Atlanta pride, Nash strides through her many creative outlets, whether it is voice-acting, improv performing, teaching, or directing.
Unlike Archer’s Pam, Nash does not have a cocaine addiction.
What are the stories behind your snowflake and star tattoos?
So, the first tattoo I got was my star tattoo and I got it when I was about to turn 30. I was like, well, if I don’t have any tattoos but the time I’m 30, what am I doing? So I really had to get it in. Growing up my dad traveled a lot and he would always bring us gifts when he came home and I had this mobile that hung in my room for a long time. It had some stars and a moon and a sun and I really loved it when I was a kid and I decided to get the star from my mobile. I got it at a place in Atlanta called Memorial Tattoo.
As for my snowflake, my husband and I both got tattoos after we got married, and he’s a really big fan of a poet named Buddy Wakefield, and one of our friends did a reading of a Buddy Wakefield poem during our wedding ceremony, and in the poem there was a quote in it that mentions a snowflake living with a fingerprint, and I thought that was such a sweet way to describe two different people.
What would it take for you to get Pam Poovey’s back tattoo?
It’s so funny, we get a lot of Archer swag and people will give me Pam T-shirts and I want to wear them, but I feel like such a dick! Like, ‘hey guys, did you notice what I do for a living?’ You know what I mean? So I think it would take a lot for me to do the back tattoo. I’m not afraid of the size of the tattoo, I’m more afraid of what it says about me as a human being.
Pam Poovey has been claimed as the real hero of Archer, would you agree?
I do agree. I think she’s got just so much heart. Everybody is a terrible person on the show, but everybody has redeeming qualities, but I think pam’s got so much heart and she loves people so much that I think that’s why she’s so wonderful. I definitely think she’s the real hero of the show.
How has Pam evolved with the show?
Gosh, I went back recently and read the pilot episode and when Pam was first introduced, and it says “Pam Poovey, the mousy director of HR” and it’s just like, well, nobody would ever say that now, you know? In the beginning she was kind of more the butt of the joke. And I think Adam continuously needed somebody for this and somebody that can do this, and he kept giving it to Pam. So now she can do everything.
I think it’s pretty cool how she’s evolved into a badass that is body positive and sex positive and doesn’t give a shit what anybody thinks about her. It’s really awesome that she’s an underground street fighter and a drift car racer, and that she’s really become this kind of iconic character in a way that people really, really connect with. If I wasn’t on the show she would totally be my favorite.
The thing I was most proud of is when Pam was in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. That’s something that kids grow up thinking about, especially kids from the eighties. I’m just really proud of her.
Pam has warn so many hats throughout the seasons. What is your favorite version of Pam?
I think the first time we kind of saw her change, and everybody on the show change, was Archer Vice. And you know, it wasn’t a savory situation because Pam had a cocaine addiction, but what I really liked about it was that in that season, her and Archer were kind of a duo. It was the first time we got to see their relationship really blossom, so I really loved that season for that reason. But I also loved doing Dreamland where I got to play a gender neutral version of Pam, because it was just cool. I appreciated that as an actor being to do something different. But I think my very most favorite is actually Danger Island Pam, because she was so gigantic and ripped, *Giggling* I just loved how like ripped she was and so much taller than everybody else.
What is your favorite moment of Pam & Archer as a duo?
I think it’s really funny that when they finally had sex for the first time, it was the best sex that Archer ever had in this life. And I was like, yes, of course it is.
Do you ever channel Pam Poovey in your real life?
Pam is just so strong and she’s never scared of anything. Nothing can get her down and she doesn’t care what anybody thinks, and so whenever I need a little bit of extra bravery for a situation, I do try to [be] like, ‘what would Pam do in this situation?’ and be just a little stronger. And honestly, people wouldn’t realize this, but I do get nervous being in front of crowds. So if I have to do an audition or something where I’m trying to prove to people that I’m good enough for something, that’s always going to make you feel like you really need something extra.
What do you think about Archer fans getting Archer-inspired tattoos?
Oh, I love it so much. I think the first time I saw somebody with a Pam tattoo they had posted it online and Tweeted it to me. But it was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s a character that I play on TV that somebody has on their body for the rest of their life.’ Now I’ve seen a lot of them and so when I go to cons and I’ll be signing autographs or something and people will show me theirs, and I love them. There was a woman in Edmonton, Canada at a theater festival that my husband and I go to every year, The Edmonton International Fringe Festival, and she had a giant thigh tattoo of Pam and it was just so incredible.
Like Pam, you also wear many hats, especially in the world of theater. When not voice-acting, you are a performer, teacher, creator, and director. What drives and motivates you?
Before I became an actor, I was always like, ‘Man, I want to just do what I love for a living,’ and then when I was able to start making money as an improviser and a performer, I had been so grateful that I get to be an actor and a performer and a creator for a living. Everyday I’m really grateful for it. And that really drives me to be like, ‘You know what? I could have a job that doesn’t inspire me and that I don’t love so much and I don’t get to meet so many cool people and do so many cool things.’ Just being grateful and always striving to do more is what drives me.
Tell me more about Dad’s Garage and your involvement with improv theater.
Dad’s Garage is where I started basically performing. It’s an Improv theater in Atlanta, but we also do scripted work there too. It’s been around since 1996 and I started there in ‘99 just as a volunteer, like cleaning toilets and bartending and stuff. And then I took classes there and learned about improv. The guys that make Archer live in Atlanta too and they were making shows for Adult Swim and would come to the theater to see Dad’s Garage shows.
Christian Danley was an animator for them and also worked at Dad’s Garage and he was kind of the crossover. They saw me in a show and they asked me to audition for Frisky Dingo they were making back then, and when Archer came along they just gave me the job. I didn’t even have to audition for it, which is crazy to even say. So Dad’s Garage has been a really important part of my life since I started, and I still work there and my husband is the artistic director there. It’s like my creative home.
You graduated with the degree in psychology. What stirred the change to improv and TV?
I was going to school and I just needed something else. I was studying science and I just needed an outlet that was something creative. I didn’t realize at the time that I was a creative person, I just knew that I needed something different. And then I found Dad’s Garage and I saw a few shows there and was like, what is this magical thing that people are doing there? So I started going there regularly as a hobby and taking classes and stuff. And then one day I was like, ‘I’m gonna do it, I’m going to quit my job and become an improviser full time,’ which is even worse than telling your parents you’re going to be an actor because they don’t even know what an improviser is! And I just kind of took a leap and did it, and then I was able to get a steady job administratively at the theater as the education director, so that helped me pay the bills a little bit. And then I just started auditioning and gigging and teaching and was able to kind of make a go of it, which is not always how the story goes. So I got really lucky.
Is there a genre outside of comedy that you would like to explore?
I’m really a comedy person but also I’m trying to do more on-camera work, so I’ve started to do a lot more auditioning. People really want me to do stuff other than comedy, so maybe I would be good at it, I don’t know. People want me to play like a mom that’s really struggling with her kids, or like a cop. People always want me to be a cop! Drama’s not terrible, I’d be into it if I was really interested in the show, but comedy just comes easier.
What is your favorite part about living in Georgia?
I think what’s cool about Atlanta is that we’re still a small town. We’ve still got a small town vibe and it’s still cheap to live there, especially compared to New York or LA. And the cool thing is that there’s nobody telling us what to do creatively in Atlanta. Like there isn’t Broadway, there isn’t Hollywood, there isn’t a Second City. We’re just a place that can just kinda do whatever we want. There’s a really great art scene in Atlanta. There’s a really great street art scene, and a lot of great tattoo artists there, and a lot of great visual artists there. I think people would be surprised to find out that the art scene is really vibrant in Atlanta and it’s very indie, so it feels very free for an artist there, which is really cool.
Do you have any secret talents?
You know, if I was going to call this a secret talent, my first job while I was in high school was working at Baskin Robbins and I decorated cakes there? So I was trained to decorate cakes and I did it for a few years and I really enjoyed doing it. It’s something I still do today, but never in a real situation, you know? Only like if a friend is having a birthday or we’re making Christmas cookies, so it kind of comes in handy.
How do you spend the holidays? Would Pam spend them differently?
Well my family is in Atlanta but as my husband’s family is in Canada we switch off year after year going back to either Atlanta or Canada. In Canada it’s insanely cold-- when we were there last year it was 26 below zero, but he’s got a huge family and it’s so much fun. So that’s always great because I get a little bit of that snowy wonderland when I go there. And when we’re in Atlanta, we’re with my family and we’ve got a much smaller family, but my husband’s birthday is on Christmas Eve and his last name is Gillese, so we have a party that we call Gillese Navidad, and we do all these Canadian things like we have poutine and we have Santa and you can ask Santa what you want for Christmas and it’s just a big, fun, stupid drunken party with french fries and gravy.
I think Pam would very much be into Gillese Navidad, and also she’s such a family person too. I think she’d go back to Poovey Farms and be with her family, even though she hates her sister, and just kind of do the Christmas thing. Pam and I probably would spend the holidays very similarly.
What are you most excited for, for the 10th season of Archer? Is there any direction you would like to push Pam?
We know we have [season] 10 and we aren’t sure what’s happening past then, but we will hopefully find out something by the beginning of the year. I’m so excited because we’re in space this season and I just got the first sneak peak of Pam... and she is not human. She is like a rock monster and she’s gigantic, she is literally as big as everybody else put together. Like the size of a dump truck. And she’s really cute. I was like, ‘Is she going to be scary looking?’ but she’s got this Groot type of cuteness to her face, but she sounds exactly like Pam so it’s really funny. I’m really excited to see what people are going to think about this character, and it’s funny because everybody still serves the same purpose as they always do, but their role is just changed a little bit in the group. We don’t know what the future holds so we’ll see. Fingers crossed.
Are there any new projects coming up for you in the improv world, or otherwise, that we should be looking out for?
Last year Dad’s Garage made a short film called, “That Was Awesome”, and we’re doing the festival circuit with it right now. So that will be released online soon and we worked with all actors with special needs and they are a floor hockey team and I’m their coach and it’s a great little movie about dealing with bullies, but it’s also really funny. We also made a spooky sketch called “Ghost Train” where I play this horrifying old lady. I had all this great special effects makeup on, so that’ll be out online and people can see it at Dad’s Garage Youtube channel, Dad’s Garage TV, for sure.