Amy Forsyth Is In It for the Long Haul

With roles in CODA, The Novice, and The Gilded Age—plus an upcoming EP—the actress and musician is defining her own kind of stardom.

the actress amy forsyth wearing a white button down shirt
Photograph courtesy of Megan Vincent. Hair and makeup by Ryan Patrick.

The actress and musician Amy Forsyth reaches peak productivity when her schedule is fully packed. Growing up in Ontario, that meant signing up for a slew of both sports and arts-related extracurriculars: running track and field, doing cross-country and high jump, joining the basketball and volleyball teams, and playing tennis—while acting in multiple musicals at her local community theater. These days, it looks like a triple-threat, back-to-back-to-back project release.

Forsyth, who has appeared in films like Beautiful Boy alongside Timothée Chalamet and the TV crime drama Coyote, has hit a winning streak since 2021. First, she costarred in CODA, which centers the only hearing member of a deaf family. The film debuted at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and a handful of awards including best director, for Sian Heder. Next, Forsyth took on the story of an obsessive and calculated college rower who will stop at nothing to make varsity in The Novice. And for her latest effort, Forsyth joins HBO Max’s new series The Gilded Age with Christine Baranski, Nathan Lane, and Cynthia Nixon (the show has enjoyed plenty of hype, thanks in no small part to its writer, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes).

“There are so many legends in this show,” Forsyth tells me over Zoom from her parents’ house in Ontario, where she is paying them a visit. “We have, basically, all of Broadway in our show. It’s the coolest thing ever.”

It turns out that Forsyth’s background in community theater came in handy while filming The Gilded Age, which took place over the course of the pandemic (like most productions that were scheduled to begin in early 2020, the cast did table reads and rehearsals during the first weekend in March, then canceled workdays until vaccines were rolled out). “The biggest thing that my days in theater helped me with was wearing my corset for as long as I did,” Forsyth says. “They’re not comfortable and it’s tough work, but in all of the years of doing community theater, your feet hurt from wearing character shoes and dancing all day, running the numbers a million times. That gave me some endurance that I needed for this show—the dresses were tight and uncomfortable and you can’t sit in your cast chair properly because you have this giant bustle.”

Still, the Gilded Age costumes were, in Forsyth’s words, “fire from the beginning”—and a pivotal part of the visual fabric of the show, which takes place in 1880s New York City. Working alongside the costume department also gave the actress an opportunity to use her own voice—something she thinks every young actress starting out in the industry should make a regular practice.

“The costume team allowed some input, and they were wonderful about it,” she says. “I wore a gown for this big scene that was designed in a way that, when I saw it, I knew it was going to accentuate something I was insecure about. I tried it on and didn’t say anything. And then I mentioned an idea that would solve the problem; because they didn’t know my body and what works well with my physique, they wouldn’t have thought to do that, but because I mentioned it, they then tried it and said, ‘Oh yeah, that looks better.’”

“That’s a huge lesson I’ve learned over the years of being in the industry,” she continues. “When I first started working, I thought, Well, these are professionals, so I should trust them. And you should, to a degree, but you also know your hair, you know your skin, you know your body better than they do.”

Training for The Novice had its grueling physical moments as well—but the juice was well worth the squeeze, as Forsyth was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female as Jamie Brill, the teammate to the titular novice rower Alex Dall (Isabelle Fuhrman). Unlike Dall, who will stop at nothing in her search for greatness, Brill is focused mainly on securing a scholarship. To prepare for becoming a crew athlete, Forsyth visited Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts in between filming scenes for CODA to shadow the university’s rowing team there. Under coach Maddie Hopkins’s watch, Forsyth went out on the water with the rowers, learning how to operate both a four-person shell and a single-person shell. The club, Forsyth says, was in “the middle of the woods. I’d drive out to the cabin for as many hours as I could handle while still shooting CODA. I fell in the water many a time.”

Still, she remembers it being the “best research I could have ever done for anything, to actually get to do it. I’ve always wanted to work on something that required me to train and change my body.”

When Forsyth’s visit to Canada comes to a close, she will embark on her next venture: music. Under the musical moniker Aime, Forsyth will soon release an EP, which she’s currently working on.

“All my friends call me Aime, my mom calls me Aime,” she explains. “I’ve always loved music, I’ve wanted to tour since I was four and it’s been equally as important to me as TV and film. The next step is touring with my music—and maybe Broadway.”