Recently known for her breakout role as “Pam,” in Netflix’s Jessica Jones (opposite Krysten Ritter,) Susie Abromeit has proven herself a force to be reckoned with.
Before she made her mark on Hollywood, the actress came very close to a career as a professional tennis player. Receiving a full scholarship to Duke University she was one of the top ranked players (#6 in the US,) helping her team earn a number one ranking and NCAA title during her freshman year. Not long after, however, fate had a different plan, when she decided to transition into pursuing her musical talents, in addition to acting and modeling full-time.
Susie went on to perform a song with Fat Joe for Atlantic Records, and their song “Slow Your Roll,” became a summer hit playing on various radio stations. A few of her other songs that she performed, wrote, and produced, became top requested songs on local radio stations throughout Florida. From there, she graced the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, while simultaneously making her film debut as the lead in the Lionsgate film, Know Thy Enemy, playing a female rapper. Soon after, she began to book roles in films, Sydney White, Sex Drive, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, Setup, alongside Bruce Willis, and the blockbuster hit Battle: Los Angeles.
Aside from her work on-camera, Susie is also passionate about producing and writing her own projects. She had recently completed a pilot presentation that she wrote, produced, and starred alongside Erin Moriarty, Peter Facinelli, Kellan Lutz, Alona Tal, and Ethan Peck. On the philanthropic front, Susie serves as an ambassador on the creative council for the non- partisan organization Represent.us , also supported by Jennifer Lawrence, JJ Abrams, Adam McKay, Amy Adams, and Michael Douglas to name a few. She also serves as an ambassador for Not For Sale, an organization that helps survivors of human trafficking.
BELLA caught up with Susie to learn more about her life + career…
Start by letting our readers know how your acting journey began.
My acting journey began when my mom put me in an arts camp when I was nine. I was already super creative. I was the artist type, always drawing, painting, and storytelling, so my mom encouraged me to nurture those traits. After the camp I ended up going down a different path of being a serious athlete in tennis. I veered away from the arts during that time, but always found myself coming back to it. I lived for plays when I was a kid. “Bye Bye Birdie”, “Wizard of Oz,” and “West Side Story,” were my favorites growing up. When they would put on full productions for school plays in grade school, I found my calling and life made sense to me. I had auditioned for “Oliver Twist” and was in serious contention for the lead of the school play (which was a big deal at the time) but could never commit to the schedule because it was either acting or tennis. A few years later, my mom entered me in “Macy’s be a star” contest. I ended up winning it and had an agent ready to sign me but couldn’t because….again tennis.
Throughout my tennis career, there would be these skit days and I remember crushing it every time, and everyone saying that I should go into acting. Even one of my coaches who went to Northwestern (a major acting school) and took acting classes, told me to seriously consider quitting tennis and pursue acting. That’s when it really got into my head. At this point of my tennis career I was #6 in the USA, and had just won an ITF, and other coaches were telling me to make tennis my career. It wasn’t until shortly after that I had a stress fracture in my back, where I had to find other things to do while I healed. I started taking acting lessons, was singing the national anthem for my school’s basketball games, began writing songs and music, learning guitar, and really pursued things creatively. Six months later, my songs started playing on the radio on major radio stations in Florida, all the while I had just received the amazing news I was offered a full scholarship to Duke University for my tennis. Going to Duke was a childhood dream of mine, so I put music, and acting on hold again and went to play for Duke.
I really started exploring the arts in college, but our tennis team was ranked no.1 in the NCAA and there was no room for anything else. Our team was stacked, and I was at the bottom of the team, I was playing doubles successfully, but hardly ever played singles anymore, because we had an unbelievable team. I realized it was time to quit, when I was offered a paid gig for an off-campus production that I had to turn down for tennis… yet again. I was heartbroken, and then went on to sit on the bench, eating my feelings, and loading up on cliff bars. It finally dawned on me then that I don’t have to play tennis anymore.
At the time, I was 20 pounds overweight, was barely making a B- average, and had only time for tennis, which wasn’t going in the direction I wanted. When I finally quit, that’s when life made sense again, I lost the weight, started making straight A’s, and then booked another play, and then found out Atlantic Records wanted to fly me up to New York to record a song with Fat Joe. From there, I began really pursuing music, modeling, acting, all of it.
In addition to acting, you are also passionate about making music, producing, and writing.. how do you manage to juggle it all and is there one outlet in particular that you love most?
You can find time for all of it. Acting seems to have seasons for things, and they are all forms of creative outlets. Sometimes, there can be a drought with acting and you have to find ways to stay creative, so I might head into the studio and write songs.
I began with my music/modeling career first, and then when they needed a musical talent who could act, I was able to step into those roles and really explore acting more. I love storytelling in all those forms. You are able to express different sides of yourself, so it’s hard to say which one I love most. I will say, acting has given me the most opportunities and so I lean into that more, but as I’m getting into producing and writing, more opportunities are opening up so I follow that too. I like the phrase that “God will fund whatever he wants to happen in your life.”
I think that’s a great way to go about it for me. Sometimes I would be banging my head against the wall and wondering why something might not be going the way I want. When that happens, I focus on other things, and then suddenly God is able to open up new avenues for you creatively.
You recently endured a terrible tragedy with the Malibu fires, that gave you a new perspective on life. Would you share more about the event and your biggest takeaway?
I learned so many lessons. My biggest takeaway is that at the end of the day it’s just stuff. I realized that so much energy was tied to my old stuff with ex boyfriends, childhood. I was holding on to who I used to be and letting go of all that led me to something so much greater. I think I was stuck because I was still tied to my past. It was as if God, was like “Hey you didn’t learn this lesson yet, and you seem to not be able to, so I’m going to help you with it” I learned to let go of so much because I literally had nothing else to hold on to since I lost everything aside from one tiny carry-on bag, and had no choice but to let go.
In addition to that, my best friend had told me I had a choice: I can either cry and wallow in the pain of losing everything, and it’s understandable and I have every right to, or I can use this vast amount of energy and turn it into something amazing. She was like, “You’ve been given a gift of this extraordinary amount of energy and you need to alchemize it and turn it into gold.” That’s when I started to shift my focus and reframe how I looked at it. I went from “poor me” to asking the question, “what amazing things could happen from this?”, and that’s when I started to manifest so many incredible things in my life. I started to notice that there is a balance in life. When something bad would happen, amazing things would be around the corner. Not just that, but I found out how there was such an outpouring of love and it really reshaped my belief system that the majority of people are innately good and want to help one another. The fire really made things so much clearer for me. The people who were there for me in my life and those that weren’t.
Lastly, the fire put me in a time out, when the entire next year I was rebuilding. I finally sat and dealt with myself, and some trauma I had gone through on the road of life. It forced me to sit with myself. The beauty of sitting with yourself is that you no longer have to run. Once you sit in the pain of those things and you’re not avoiding it anymore you’re able to re-experience it and see it with a new perspective. Once you’re able to have a new perspective, you can make different choices moving forward and make the same mistakes again. When I finally did that, and must’ve cried out my tears for months, that’s when I felt so much of that stuff was cleared and then hit the ground running with work again. Honestly, the fire was one of the best things to happen to me.
Perseverance is also a quality we have all had to cultivate throughout the pandemic. Is there advice you can share? Self-care tips for managing our mental health?
Therapy, Neurofeedback, relationship/life coaches, sitting with yourself, working out, meditation. All of it. Therapy and talking to someone helps you work out where you are in relation to your world. You get to bounce off ideas of what’s really happening in your world. It creates more awareness for your surroundings. Meditation helps you ground yourself, and connect to God, the universe, and for me it makes things clear. Sitting with yourself helps you work things out, make new discoveries, while actually being physically active helps you get out extra energy and gives you feel good emotions like endorphins that help you regulate your body. Neurofeedback gets you out of your head, and helps you be present again. It takes you out of a fight or flight state if you’re stuck in it and helps you get back to your baseline.
I would recommend all those things!
Self-care can also mean doing good for others, as much as ourselves. Tell us about your philanthropic endeavors and the work you are doing to battle human trafficking.
It definitely can, but I would recommend doing self-care things first, because unless we are at our best, how can we really help anyone? I liken it to when you’re on the airplane and the stewardess says you must put your oxygen mask on first and then help others. If you’re passed out, then it’s really hard to help anyone, so I think it’s important to get your life in order first and then help.
I was very fortunate enough to be working with Not For Sale. They help survivors of human trafficking and create sustainable companies that don’t leave people vulnerable to those things. It is truly a wonderful experience with what Not For Sale is doing. I got to see firsthand them building a new school, giving them so much support with school products, housing, food, clothes, all of it! We went to Vietnam, Colombia, and then to the Amazons of Peru. It was a wonderful team of people who are helping to create better education, better living conditions, and sustainable products to help people who are vulnerable to human trafficking.
Lastly, are there any other upcoming projects you are working on or would like to share with our audience? Also, how they can follow along for more!
Yes! My film “Much Ado About Christmas,” is debuting on the new network GAC, on Oct 30th and on the Peacock network. I also loved working with Will Smith on “King Richard” which comes out November 19th, and then “Love in Bloom,” comes out during Valentine’s Day! You can find me on Instagram @SusieAbromeit
Susie can currently be seen in The Forever Purge (Universal Pictures) in theaters now, and headed to streaming later this year. Additional credits include: Chicago Med, Devious Maids, One Tree Hill, as well as Tyler Perry’s, The Haves and Have Nots, Rake,Legends of Tomorrow, Code Black, Supernatural, and NCIS, among many others.
Photos by Matt Sayles
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