Amy Paffrath is electric, quite literally. A master of many trades, Paffrath is best known for her role as host of VH1's Dating Naked, a reality show where contestants date, well, naked. In addition to her hosting duties for the undressed, the blonde starlet is constantly writing comedy content, jumping onto the big screen [The Purge] and the small [2 Broke Girls], and producing her own podcast—and that's just the tip of the iceberg. She gives the Energizer bunny a run for his money when it comes to go-go-go. Paffrath's the kind of gal who quickly breaks out a smile when you cross paths with her and is the type to favor giving a hug over shaking a hand, though be sure to watch out for static if you do! We chat with Amy about singing with Paul Walker in Brazil, filming in the Phillippines, and how random acts of kindness have the power to change the world.
You've had an extremely varied career on the screen from anchoring to hosting to acting in commercials, tv, and film. How did you get your start into the crazy world of Hollywood?
I moved to LA right after college at the ripe old age of 22! I started out doing commercials, small hosting gigs, student films, and short films. I worked in casting for a little while at MTV which was very beneficial for me to see how the audition room worked on the other side of the camera. My first big break was landing my job at E! That was only about two and a half years after I got to Hollywood so it felt like it happened really fast. From there things just took off. That led to me hosting Jersey Shore After Hours, helped me get parts in bigger movies and allowed me to cross over into TV. Its always so interesting to see what's next in anyone's career. It's a mystery what job is right around the corner but that's the fun of it. I like living in the unknown! It's exciting.
Each endeavor has a different mindset and set of talents you have to bring to the table. How do you balance this juggle of skills?
It really keeps me on my toes. I feel like it's good for my brain. I'm always having to grab a new tool out of my belt. I'm constantly working on those skills too. I'm writing all the time. I'm in a sketch comedy show that allows me to play and feel free and improvise. I work on my podcast which helps me with my journalism skills. And acting, I'm in and out of class as well. Auditioning keeps you very fresh. I'm one of those people that loves to audition. I feel like every time I'm in a room it's an opportunity for something amazing to happen. If not that day, another day in the future. I'm always planting seeds for future endeavors. You gotta keep your skills sharp and stay fresh.
What kind of classes do you take to hone your craft?
I'm in and out of acting classes at Lesly Kahn. She is a brilliant teacher. I've grown a lot by taking class with her and I know I have a ways to go! I also take improv classes. I've found improv is one of the most useful skills a performer can have. It benefits me as a host but also an actor and writer. Its a very free environment and sometimes turning my brain off is just what I need.
You've crossed paths with many other entertainers during your hosting days with E! and beyond. Is there anyone who particularly blew you away in person?
I got to go to the Fast Five junket for TV Guide which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I remember interviewing Dwayne Johnson and he was just so charming and so kind and had the biggest, warmest smile. I wasn't expecting that. Paul Walker too. My sister and I had huge crushes on him when we were teenagers. I got to interview him twice and I was blown away by how much of a guy's guy he was and how normal he was. There was an ease about him that made you really comfortable. Late one night, my friend I were having a drink by the pool at the hotel everyone was staying at. We were singing a song using the only Portuguese words we knew. Paul suddenly walked by and started signing with us. It was so funny and so random. There I was in Brazil at 4 am singing under the stars poolside with Paul Walker. It was kind of magical! There was nothing Hollywood about him, except those dreamy blue eyes. Man, he was gorgeous. It's such a shame he's gone. Such a talented, sweet guy.
What can fans expect on Season 2 of Dating Naked?
I am so excited for season two of Dating Naked! The format has changed and I think people are really going to respond to that. You will be a lot more invested this year. We follow two main daters the whole season. Chris and Kerri are incredible, genuine people who I think will really resonate with viewers. Of course, there's the wild cards, villains and train wrecks. So there's lots of excitement along the way but there's also a a lot of sweetness and love. At the end of the day we're trying to find these guys soulmates. It's a very romantic setting! Things get pretty hot and heavy. Emotions run wild. It's a roller coaster ride.
Tell me a bit about what goes on the Dating Naked set. Nudity, tropical locations, alcohol... I imagine it can get interesting.
You mean on camera or behind the scenes? We have just as much fun after we tape as the cast does on screen! We shot for 7 weeks in the Philippines. It was absolutely gorgeous. It's a tropical paradise. Everytime we wrapped an episode, there would be a celebration. The resort we stayed at would do these theme nights. One night it was Italian night, another night was Japanese night. The food would be from that culture. They would set up the tables in the sand and have music playing. It was just really fun to look forward to. It kept morale up after long, hot shoot days. We had an incredible crew working on the show. I've made lifelong friends because of the show. I can't say enough about the smart, talented hardworking people who make the show possible. We just had a great time hanging out together for such a long period of time in such a remote location. On camera... yes, it gets a little wilder. Chris and Kerri are living in this gorgeous house going on 20 dates each. Every week, they're meeting two new people. Each week, they chose one person to stay in the house. So there's a lot going on for them. They're doing crazy cool activities like archery, body painting, etc., and meeting all sorts of different personalities who all mix together at the house after the dates. Yes, the alcohol is flowing and, yes, clothes are off. It makes for an interesting combination. People get very confident and sometimes a little bit rowdy! It also loosens up people's inhibitions so they become a little bit bolder and make moves a little bit quicker. There are some relationships that get serious very quickly this season. It's an intense environment and Chris and Kerri were all in! They were totally invested in making the most of this experience.
You've recently become somewhat of a fitness icon. How did that come about?
Haha I have? Well that's awesome! I've always been athletic but I've definitely amped things up in the last few years. Before my wedding, I started working out with a personal trainer. I was very skeptical about that before I got started and I ended up loving it. I met a wonderful trainer named Alex Ingram who has a company called Gameface Fitness. He completely change the way I looked at exercise. I learned so much from him. He took me back to my gymnastics days and showed me that fitness could be fun. I got hooked. It's really about aging gracefully rather than aesthetics but when I look good I feel good so they do go hand in hand. I just want to be healthy and mobile when I get older. Trying to keep my muscles lean and my body flexible. I do a lot of yoga and mix that in with weight training. I'm always changing my approach to match what my body needs at that time. I mix up my workouts to keep it interesting. I've always been athletic. I grew up playing every sport under the sun. I have a lot of energy and I like to keep in motion. I'm also very competitive. All of those things apply to keeping up with my fitness game. Its a priority in my life.
In addition to your work on screen, you've done a lot of work behind the camera as well, including documentary The Packrats in 2012. The short film chronicles your father's journey with ALS. What drove you to create the documentary?
That was a very cathartic experience for me. I have always been interested in documentaries and I wanted to use my journalistic skills to shine light on something that deeply affected me. So I decided to make a short film. I'm so grateful my family members were willing to put themselves out there on tape and let me share their stories with the world. That was very brave of them. I'm used to being on film and love being in front of the camera but for my family, being on camera is not completely natural or comfortable. They agreed because they wanted the world to know what it was like to watch someone deteriorate from ALS. We as a family are committed to doing what we can to help rid the world of this disease so no one else has to suffer the way our father did. It's a hell of a disease and definitely impacts everyone around you. It was a life-changing experience to go through. I couldn't help but feel compelled to give back. It helped me deal with the sadness of my father's passing and turn it into more of an empowerment and a mission to create a legacy for him.
You also run a podcast called "Tell Me Something Good." What sparked that endeavor? How do you source stories to tell?
The beauty of a podcast is I can do it on my own schedule, which right now is crazy busy so the poor podcast is neglected. I do an episode at least once a month. I'm sourcing stories all the time. This was born out of the idea that I was tired of scrolling through Twitter or Huffington Post and only reading about sadness and terrible things happening in the world. So I made it a point to seek out positive stories. I want to be uplifted first thing in the morning not hear about all the dark depressing things that make you feel like the world is a scary terrible place. I wanted to share the good news with the world and not many other people are doing that. I think it's important we know about all of the random acts of kindness that happen in all of these great things people are doing to change the world for the better so that it inspires others to do the same. I want to see this world as a hopeful, beautiful place, and I want others to see that as well.
Anything we should keep our eyes open for on the horizon?
I'm hosting the Wella Trend Vision Awards live on July 19th. I've been a part of the show for the last 4 years and it's always something I look forward to. It's a live spectacle that mixes hair, beauty, fashion & music. It's absolutely beautiful to look at.
I have two films coming out. One is a thriller called Freshwater and the other is a romantic comedy called Do Over. I'm also working on a book and a short film that I want to take to some festivals next year. My sister and I also started a fashion blog on Tumblr [called A to B Style]. It's all about staying true to our Missouri roots while embracing California. We're 14 years apart so it's two very different perspectives but we're both pretty practical in that we believe you don't have to break the bank to look like a million bucks!
Name 3 things necessary to your happiness.
Creativity. Adventure. Organization.