interview | aimee carrero

coat. YVY
swimsuit. Mara Hoffman
earrings. Maria Tash
rings. Alexis Bittar
coat. YVY
swimsuit. Mara Hoffman
boots. Stuart Weitzman
earrings. Maria Tash
rings. Alexis Bittar
tights. Falke

Bubbly and effervescent, with no shortage of witty anecdotes and timely, well-placed “F” bombs, Aimee Carrero is a must have guest at your next dinner party. Her conversational prowess is as strong a flex as her resume— she’s co-starred in such television series’ as Lincoln Heights and The Mentalist, along with a string of off-Broadway theater performances— and her repertoire now includes the big screen, black comedy thriller The Menu, and the highly anticipated Christmas-themed musical comedy Spirited, starring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds.

Amid promoting both high profile projects, Aimee sat down with Schön! to divulge her fantasy dinner party guest list, her beliefs on why everyone should earn wages through tips at some point in life, how the red Republican wave managed to sweep through Florida, and so much more.

Before I gush over The Menu, tell me, how do you how do you pronounce your name? 

It’s Aimee [pronounced Amy], but if my mother’s upset, she’ll call me Ah-may. But you know, if you’re not mad at me, just call me Amy. [Laughter]. 

So, Aimee, we’ve caught you in the middle of film promotion—where in the world are you right now?  

I’m in New York—we have our premiere for The Menu tomorrow. I’m also here for the premiere of Spirited, which is the Apple TV movie that I that I’m in; it’s already in theatres, but it starts streaming on November 18th on Apple TV. 

Could you share the premise of Spirited?  

Spirited is like a retelling of A Christmas Carol. It’s a musical with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds, so it couldn’t be more different. It’s a really sort of fun and modern retelling of the Charles Dickens classic. It’s just really a great time; it’s great for kids, great for parents, there’s a few “F” bombs in there, and the parents will really enjoy it if they’re having to watch Christmas movies. So, there’s a little bit for everyone. The Menu is definitely— without getting too cliche about like the puns— is like an elevated sort of acquired taste with more biting commentary on the culture. 

It’s funny because The Menu— I think— is the first hospitality restaurant focused film in decades, perhaps.  

I don’t know. I remember watching this one Bradley Cooper movie that I saw forever ago— Burn, or something like that. There’s also Chef’s Table, which obviously isn’t a movie and obviously it’s kind of reality, but it’s like documentary sort of style. So I think the topic of food as it relates to the culture has been an interesting topic for screenwriters and storytellers to sort of focus on because it’s such a primal need, right? Everybody needs food. But but when you in the context of our film, The Menu, it’s like, “but does everybody need $1,200-a-plate worth of food, that they’re not really even enjoying?”. They’re just sort of shoving it [food] in their mouths, because it’s the thing to do. It’s [the restaurant] like the cool place to be, but they’re not really taking it in. So it’s also like a commentary on consumption.  

Tell me this, what was your initial reaction to the script when you first read it? 

I thought it was— in the best way— funny. The other day, I did a photoshoot with someone, I said, “that photo is so weird”. And she was like, “do you hate it?”, I was like, “no, I like weird.” I thought it [the script] was so fucking weird. Like, I just need it. I mean, listen, when you read a great script, as an actor, you’re like, I have to have this role. But there’s so many people that are also like, “I have to have this role”. Hundreds of people auditioned for this part. You hope that get it and you certainly try your best. But you put it out there and you hope that somebody watches in response to your take on the character. So the process was I’d heard about The Menu, and had heard about the script, because it was on The Black List, which is, you know, a list of like, the best unproduced scripts of that year. So it had been on The Black List several years ago. I’d heard about it, and then when I read it, I was like, “oh, yeah, well done, I’d love to be in this”. So I sent in my audition tape, and then I did a chemistry read with John Leguizamo, and that was that. 

Where was it filmed?  

Savannah, Georgia, so that was cool. I mean, we didn’t really get to see much of it in the movie. You know, there’s obviously the the boat stuff, which is really beautiful. But we’re in the restaurant for so much of it. But it’s such a beautiful place to shoot. It’s also a really fun place to be for this. You know, for like a late summer early fall. 

Have you ever worked in a restaurant?  

Yes, I have. I worked in a restaurant in Beverly Hills. When I first moved to LA and I started as a server, and then I moved on to like be a cocktail waitress, and then I worked the bar, but I wasn’t a bartender. I ended up being a bartender because the manager was like, you are talking to your tables too much, you have to move. So it was like the perfect job for someone who likes to talk, because as a bartender people want to talk to you… But we always served food. So it wasn’t like a nighttime bartender. So I didn’t have to deal with like, too many drunk people or people spilling drinks or whatever. [Laughter]. It was in Beverly Hills, a lot of agents and a lot of like business people that would come by. But yeah, working in a restaurant, I recommend it to everybody. It’s like the ultimate exercise in humanity, you know?  

An esteemed Hollywood writer who once worked as a taxi cab driver said he believes everyone should have to work for tips at some point in life just for exercising humanity.  

Absolutely, because it’s so funny. I remember this story. I’ll tell it quickly. But I had gone into meet with an agent because I just booked my first series—this was 10 years ago, maybe more than that— but I booked it as a regular job. I went to go meet with an agent and he was really nice and attentive and all this stuff. The next day he came in to eat at the restaurant. I was his server. He never even looked up at me once…So, that’s what I mean; it’s like you really learn about people when they feel like they don’t need you or something, you know? 

When they feel like they don’t need you; that’s the ultimate test of decorum. Tell me this: what was your last memorable meal?  

Just recently! When we got to New York a week ago—my brother lives here—he had recently gotten engaged. So we took him and his fiancee out to a fancy restaurant—we went to Per Se. 


Yeah, it was good, and it was also roped in with his 30th birthday. So it was like, “let’s just do two for one”, you know, we’ll take him to a really nice dinner and it was delicious! I mean, like, I will eat anything, and try anything. My husband is a little bit pickier of an eater. But what’s cool about Per Se is that it’s obviously very fine dining, but like, it’s also approachable. Everything you’re eating, it’s like “these are oysters and they taste like oysters’. It’s not like 

foam cheese. Like, what am I eating? So yeah, I would say that was the last memorable meal, if only because the check was so expensive! [Laughter]. 

In The Menu, I think it was $1250 per head?  

It’s less than that at Per Se. [Laughter]. But you know, you don’t forget how it hits the pocketbook. So it’ll be memorable for many reasons. I loved it, the food was delicious. But yeah, in The Menu, they’re on a private island. They’ve got to pay for the the boat, and moving all the food in there. So it’s definitely on the pricier end. 

corset, blazer + earrings. Vivienne Westwood
rings. Alexis Bittar
tights. Wolford
corset, blazer + earrings. Vivienne Westwood
heels. Le Silla
rings. Alexis Bittar
tights. Wolford

Perhaps you’re expecting this next question, as I imagine you’ve been asked this many times in promoting the film: if you were hosting your own dinner party, and you could invite any four guests—from the past, present or future, historically famous, not-famous, or whatever— who would you invite?  

I haven’t gotten that question, but that’s such a good question…One of them would be my grandpa. This is going to sound sad— and I don’t mean for this to sound sad—but I never met my grandfather on my dad’s side. He passed away before I was born. So I’d love to have him for dinner. I’d also love to have Michelle over for dinner. 

I love how you only gave the first name, yet we all know you mean Obama. [Laughter].  

You don’t even have to say Obama. [Laughter]. But will Barack hate me if I don’t invite him to? [Laughter]. Then I would say, I’d love to meet someone from the past that did big breakthroughs in science or medicine, and just be like, “look where you started, and look where we are now”…I don’t know who, but a woman in the past that made a breakthrough in science or medicine. AThen, Barbra Streisand, just because I love her! 

So the guest list includes: Barbra Streisand, Grandfather, Michelle, and then someone who did did something monumental in science.  

Maybe also as a bonus, Amelia Earhart. I just want to know what happened, like word for word— did she crash on an island and survived for many years with no one knowing?…So yes, guests include my late grandfather, Michelle Obama, Amelia Earhart, and…Who was the last person? 

Barbra Streisand.  

How can I forget Barbara? She would not be happy if I forgot her. She’d probably decline though. [Laughter]. She’s a diva, but we love her anyway, right? You know, I would say Cher, too…I’ve never met her, but she looks like she can get down with a fun time. 

That’s a fun group. You know, when you said you’d include a scientist, the first person that came to mind was Albert Einstein. 

Well, sure— he seems like an interesting person…You know what’s funny is that he’s got a grandson that like, I’ve never met, but my friend went to school with him. I was like, “wait, what?!”… So yeah, Albert Einstein would be amazing…or someone like Marie Curie , just to be like, “hey, look what you achieved [and how far we’ve come]!”…though they’d probably be horrified by the state of affairs.

You’re probably right. In your background, you’ve done theatre and television. How would you say preparing for The Menu differed in comparison to preparing for other roles? 

Well, first, I had to get over the fact that I was working with people that I just love and think are masters at their craft. Ralph Fiennes, John Leguizamo, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, Ray Bradley, everybody. You can just go through the whole list. So, I hd to get over that first, and I think the way I got over it was like, if I show up as a fan girl, I’m not going to do a good job. So, I had to get rid of that…We shot it [the film] in order; it was in one room, and we were always constantly on camera. I would say stage work helped the most with that because when you’re on stage, you have to be on. It’s you, you’re in character, there’s no breaks, there’s no do overs. 

Obviously, in this, if you mess up, we could go back; but there’s something about always being in character and always filling in the blanks…when you’re not, it’s not that the  scene isn’t about you, but you’re in the back. You got to talk about something with your with your scene partner. So yeah, I would say that was the most helpful thing I used to do in sitcoms. That’s very helpful in learning to be quick on your feet, and coming up with, lines on the fly, if there’s an opportunity for improvisation. So yeah, I would say any kind of stage work or live performance I’ve done were crucial to building the stamina, because so much of it is just being able to do the [work] day—12 straight hours of acting. 

I noticed in your Instagram feed you’re transparent in expressing your political viewpoints . We’ve just got through our election cycle. How do you feel about the red [Republican] wave that swept through Florida?  

It makes me sad. I grew up in Miami, which a lot of the time goes blue, right? But sometimes it doesn’t. As a Latin person, a lot of people think that Latin people—in the same way that a lot of people think black people— vote the same way [Democrat]. So I grew up knowing that there was a certain portion of the Latin community, especially in Florida, that tends to go red [Republican]. I have my own sort of theories about it…I think so much of it is like… specifically, people who fled Cuba…Castro came to power under the banner of socialism, but really was just a dictator. I think they’re [Cuban-Americans] very triggered by anything that smells like socialism. They’re like, “no, we don’t want it”. So they vote red. That’s my own personal opinion. I’m sure there are people that have written books about it, much smarter than me. But I think there’s a messaging sort of problem.

The stuff that Stacey Abrams did in Georgia, getting people at record numbers to register to vote, unfortunately, she didn’t make it this time, which just kills me, but the kind of grassroots stuff she’s been doing for 15 years…That’s a long game. And I think that people will assume that, oh, well, we’ll never get the Cuban vote in Miami. And it’s possible, I think people just have to know what it is that you stand for. And get past the sort of label, because I think a lot of Republicans will harp on that messaging, “oh, they [Democrats] just want to defund the police”, or “they’re so extreme, and they want to make it [the U.S.] into Cuba”. And that really is triggering to people who like left [Cuba] with [only] the clothes on their backs, and a lot of those people are still alive. And it’s a generational sort of passed down fear. So, I’m really disappointed. I think that Florida is full of some of the best people I’ve ever met. But it’s just a situation where we need to invest more time and money and messaging as a party in Florida, because there are votes to be had. And a lot of these folks are voting against their own interests. You know what I mean? Like, my mom was a teacher for years, she was in the public school system, and a lot of her co-workers would actively vote for people who were going to defund education. And they were Republican and they’d vote just based on fear.  

Married to a party as opposed to evaluating the ideology of the party.  

Right. For years, I remember being so frustrated, like “great, we lost funding”, and my mom would have to buy supplies for her students, and paper for the printer and stuff like that, 

because of years of politicians, cutting education in states like Florida and Texas. It’s such a shame. So, I feel like there’s hope, but we just have to do better. We have to get in there and actually do the hard work and it could take years could take a decade, you know, but it’s worth it. It’s really worth it. 

With all of this honest passion, I think you’d thrive in politics. Any political aspirations?  

Well, I did study international relations in college. It’s funny, because when I was in college, I felt like I was coming from this privileged point of view of like, “oh, I find this so interesting, I just I love the theory.”Then as time went on, I realized, “actually, it’s not interesting; It’s people’s lives.” You know what I mean? It’s like, I was looking at it from a bird’s eye view, like really wanting to study it and figure out why people and governments do what they do. Maybe it’s just me getting older, or maybe it’s the facade being ripped away in so many communities…Being from Miami, everybody sort of looks like me, everybody’s Latin. It’s a very specific kind of privilege where I grew up in like, kind of a culture where I didn’t feel like a second class citizen, you know. So that is a privilege within itself. Then when I moved out of Miami, all of a sudden, I was like, ethnic or Latin. 

I’m also light skinned, white-passing. Like I understand now, what privilege that is. When I lived there, I didn’t really understand that. So when I was in college, I was like, “oh, this [international relations] is interesting”. Now, it feels like life or death to me. I just don’t know if I have it in me to make a career out of it because you have to be able to kind of…There are very impassioned politicians— you have AOC or Stacey Abrams…I’ve been on fundraising Zoom calls with a lot of people— not me and her—and she’s been speaking, and you just have to have like, a fortitude of spirit and like, you just have to put up with so much stuff, and so much heartbreak on a personal level…I don’t think I have the stuff to run for office. Also, there’s probably too many interviews of me like dropping the “F” bomb on YouTube. I don’t know…I think there is space for everybody to be political, and everything is political, whether we like it or not…Art, sports; everything we interact with daily connects back to politics somehow…So that’s a compliment. I appreciate you saying that I should consider it, but I just don’t think I have the strength to do it, and the presence of mind and the patience. Think about what Barack Obama had to sustain…It’s crushing. 

If you could map out your own trajectory, where do you see the the direction of your career, let’s say role-wise, within the next ten years?  

I just really love diversifying my resume. I love doing different kinds of things. I love doing theatre, I love doing TV, I love doing movies, I would like to do more sort of like limited series, you know, for a long time I, when I moved to LA I was maybe nineteen, or twenty. And I looked like a teenager. So I played teens for a long time. The whole time I was older and I just wanted better roles. Someone said to me, just wait until you start like looking your age and then the roles will get juicy, or they’ll get more interesting. That’s kind of what happened. You know, as I got older, I just found also that working your [my] way up and making relationships with casting directors [is fruitful]—like the casting director of The Menu, Mary Vernieu. I’ve known her for almost a decade. She’s almost put me in so many movies, and it hadn’t worked out because someone else got it—someone that’s famous, or whatever.

But putting in the consistent work and just trusting that those people have your back, especially if you make them look good— you go into an audition and you’re there to solve their problems, so they can say, “Director, here’s a list of five actors that I know are good, that constantly are doing good work”. But it takes a long time to build a career. So I’m hoping that I will be able to stick on a trajectory of kind of doing plays and TV and movies, and doing it at a level that feels challenging to me…The Menu is something that I would want to watch as an audience member, especially because it does feel like what I think art is when it’s done the best; it’s holding a mirror up to society and culture. It is political, it is all those things but also if people are going to spend their hard earned money to go see it in the theatre, it’s got to be entertaining. You know, it’s got to pull at the heartstrings, or it’s got to be funny or both. 

Any fun plans for the rest of the day in NYC?  

We’re going to the Knicks game, which is going to be really fun. My parents are in town for The Menu premiere, and I like hanging out with them and going to bed early, so that tomorrow I’m fresh as a daisy for the premiere. 

Well, I enjoyed the film so much, I’ll be seeing it at the cinema a second time! 

Thank you so much. That’s so cool. I’ve seen it four times now at screenings, but it’ll be really fun to see it with my parents. When you see it with different people that you know, you’re kind of like, “what do they think about that?”. So that’s what I’m most looking forward to— seeing 

my parents react to the movie. They’ve invested a lot in my career, so being able to say “look, I’m on a big screen!”, is a very nice moment for me. 

So their first time seeing it is going to be at the premiere?  

Yeah! Which is like the best, right? Because everybody there really wants to like the movie. So it’s like a very friendly crowd. 

Lastly, if you had to share an elevator pitch to fans, what would it be? 

The Menu is about this Michelin starred restaurant on a private island, with only one seating per night, with 12 diners. Very exclusive, very expensive. That’s the setup, and then things go south…So many people are expecting a cannibalism movie, and I’m like, it’s not that. [Laughter).  

No, it’s classy.  

Yeah, but lots of cannibalism movies coming out. [Laughter].

jacket + earrings. Dolce & Gabbana
platforms. Stuart Weitzman
rings. Melinda Maria
tights. Wolford
jacket, trousers, earrings + stocking. Dolce & Gabbana
heels. Le Silla
rings. Melinda Maria

The Menu and Spirited are both out now.

photography. Ben Cope
fashion. Madeleine Kennedy
talent. Aimee Carrero
hair. Marcus Francis
make up. Stephen Sollitto
retoucher. Anastasia Kuzmina
fashion assistant. Grace Taylor
words. Constance Victory

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