Flavia, my friend, got it from one of her friends at Elektra in New York, Bjork’s record label.
I remember the excitement, back then, to get our little hands on something so exclusive. This particular song was so powerful that it stayed with me all through the years, and left me often wondering who Charlene was?
I mean, what did she look like? How did she manage to get Bjork so excited to sing to her:
“You are absolutely mad or you are joking, Charlene…
your dress is red and oh so slippery Charlene…
let me get you out of that, Lady Charlene,
we are naked and laughing….
I have always adored your witty mouth….
I guess I have to dry you dress you and comb you, I’ll sort you out Charlene.”
It has been a curse, every time that name would come up, the song was played, or I would meet a Charlene, I would be catapulted into the same psycological space and in that space, a floating multifaceted question:
Have you finally found her? Is she the one? Is this the beautiful, sexy, bold yet naive girl that made one of the greatest poet singers in history want to write an ode about her.
I have a feeling that today my question is about to be answered… either way… TA-DA! Here I’m , standing in front of Charlene Amoia. Raven black eyes that dart everywhere, tall (well, she is as tall as I am, although I might be considered an insufficient 5.7′!!!) dark brown hair, collected neatly in 2 wonderful pony tails (I am a sucker for Pocahontas) that run along her face, a luscious smile covered in ruby red lipstick. She is beautiful, her glorious inviting generous laugh greets me.
Where were you born Charlene? Were do you come from?
I was born in Buffalo, NY and at 15 my father moved to Vegas. I moved there with him, and went to high school there, as I could not wait to get out of Buffalo! Besides fantastic chicken wings and pizza… there’s nothing left to eat… oh yes, great hot dogs. Just like Buffalo 66 with Ricci & Vincent Gallo. As far as socializing goes, it’s all done around a game of bowling… indoors, because of the weather… My mother Roberta was born in Sicily and my father Joseph Amoia was from Bari, in Puglia, a southern region of Italy. When they separated I decided to get out of town with him; Buffalo is a dying place, you know. Moving to Vegas was quite a change. Besides the weather, from one of the coldest to a desert… the culture is different too. But it was a good thing because it got me out of Buffalo. When I turned 18 my father moved back to Buffalo, though I managed to stay in Vegas.
Charlene, how long did it take you to move from Las Vegas to Los Angeles?
I was modeling in Vegas while I was going to school, and that kind of exposed me to acting. I was also going out to auditions and that would give me such a high that I knew I had to explore it a little bit more. It was clear-cut, as soon I was done with college, to move to L.A. Once I graduated from college, I packed up my car and left for Los Angeles. Well, close to L.A. Van Nuys to be more specific… you know, the world capitol of porn. But I didn’t know that back then… I didn’t know what I was doing… to be honest. I didn’t know anybody when I got there, so I called the police to ask if IT was a safe place. I was told that it was and I end up renting a little studio there. Soon after a friend of mine from high school moved out to L.A. and we ended up getting a better apartment in a nicer area, and slowly I found my place in L.A.
How did you and acting come together?
While I was in Vegas I was working as a cocktail waitress, which was a good way to support myself and my lifestyle. I saved up $10,000, so I didn’t have to find a job right away. I was very lucky to get voice over jobs and a lot of commercial work right when I got to L.A… I was lucky to be able to put my self through acting classes and concentrate on that only. My very first job was on TV and it was a soap opera called Port Charles. I did a couple of episodes. It was a spin-off of General Hospital, but it didn’t propel my career. It was good enough to get me noticed, PLUS, I was finally an ACTRESS so excited to be working… it was very much like a dream to me. I was doing a couples of plays, and while I was working on stage a producer noticed me and brought me in to audition for the sitcom “Joe,” a spin-off of the show “Friends,” and I think it was from then on that I started working consistently. It was no longer than a year after that that I got to be on “How I Met Your Mother,” which I have been on now for the past 6 years.
What was the fist movie you saw and when did you lose your virginity?
(I can’t believe I’m asking her about that!)
“I was 19 ... (I can’t believe she answered that!) and my first movie experience was “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.”
I couldn’t even let her finish answering, as I then blurted out, “Me too!! That was the first movie I saw after I moved to America. It was in NYC and one of my favorite movies experiences…. I mean it.” She laughs loudly again but with an expression on her face… like she knows something about me that I am not telling. So I confess as well. I lost my virginity @ 17, in Hastings, in England with Elizabeth. There you go. Now we are even.
So many actors, so little time. Whom would you like to work with? – her face lights up! – and what’s the last audition you went out for?
So many, but most of all I love Italian actors, and I’m not saying it to please you… She says, looking at me with discerning eyes. I would also love the opportunity to work with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Last auditions: “i Carlie”, a kids movie that I booked for the Hallmark Channel, I’m very happy about it! I’m shooting it next week. I have been very lucky this year, guest staring in a lot of sitcoms and working constantly, especially for this time of the year when things are kind of slow. As long as I’m working I’m happy.
How did “How I met Your Mother” change your life? Do people recognize you because of it?
I have to say to you that How I met Your Mother changed my life. I’m very visible because of it, and I think that a lot of casting directors know me because of the show and that’s probably why I get cast in a lot of CBS shows like “NCIS LA” and “Mad Love” and yes I do get recognize on occasions…. and that feels great as wells.
Since you are very busy and everybody knows how grueling life on set can be, how do you stay in shape? How do you take care of yourself ?
(she laughs) … I always treat myself to a spa when I start a project, I get a massage and I pamper myself that way. I also love to play guitar, it gives me strength. Spiritually I relax driving around the city at night, when everybody is asleep, because it’s the only time when things kinda feel calm to me and less frenetic. Everything is quite. It all feels good. You know, I’m a night Owl.
Her face is serious now. There is something vulnerable about her.
This is the right time to play “DRILL ME WITH ITALIAN QUESTIONS”…and for that “MISS CHARLENE, WOULD YOU PLEASE SIT ON THE VESPA?”
PS: Just imagine the movie Quiz Show and you are like Charles Van Doren.
Have you ever been to Italy?
Yes, I went to Rome with a friend, and guess what I learned, of all things? I learned how to say, “PICCOLO STRONZO!” I also managed to eat a lot of panini at those baracchini along Rome’s streets. Awesome food! It was a great trip!
What’s your favorite Italian dish?
Spaghetti and meatballs, and definitely eggplant parmesan, which I can make from scratch!
What’s something that is typically Italian that you incorporate in your daily, or weekly routine?
I love to cook! I have a girlfriend that I get together with every two weeks and cook together. My favorite thing to do is Eggplant Parmesan. I also love to cook tomato sauce… it was so difficult to master! And I also love cuddling with my boyfriend… being affectionate and true italian, you know
What’s your favorite Italian Movie?
Don’t want to say Fellini or any other italian legends, it would be too easy. You know, there is this movie with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood about an Italian woman, “Francesca.” She is from Bari, the same city where my father was born. That movie gets me every time I watch it! It’s ”Bridges Of Madison County.” What a great movie! What a passionate movie! Does it count as an Italian movie? Does it?
How can you say no to her smile and passion. Of Course it does, Charlene! I promptly replied.
Who’s your favorite Italian director?
I have worked with him in Seven Pounds, Gabriele Muccino! What a great guy! Intelligent, dedicated, love his actors.
Ciao Charlene…Thank you very much.