At the time in our lives while most of us were working on our sixth-grade reading list and choosing an after-school club, Carsyn Rose is starring in her own streaming series, Amber Brown, about a creative young girl with kindness in her heart at only 11 years old.
Amber Brown, an original series written and directed by Bonnie Hunt and starring Sarah Drew as Amber’s mother, tells the story of a young girl who finds her own voice through art and music in the wake of her parent’s divorce.
In the pilot, Amber’s father lives in Paris, her mom has a new boyfriend and her best friend and next-door neighbor is moving away, forcing her to face sixth grade feeling alone. Once there, she finds her footing, despite her class’s dreaded cliques, who taunt their peers by not inviting all of the girls to the coveted sleepover.
The series has a great deal of heart and we feel for Amber as she navigates all of the changes in her life: She is every kid who is going through what many children experience and making sense of her new family dynamic through her video diary and sketches. The 10-episode Apple TV+ series, based on the beloved best-selling books by Paula Danziger, debuts on July 29.
Carsyn Rose began working in entertainment soon after signing with an agent at the tender age of four while living with her family in San Francisco. By the time she was just six years old, it was clear that her passions were on the screen, and she booked her first TV job, a recurring role on the Nickelodeon show Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.
Since relocating to Los Angeles in 2018, she has been cast on several shows including The Big Show on Netflix, Dollface for Hulu and a second recurring role on Cousins for Life on Nickelodeon. Most recently, she had a recurring role spanning multiple seasons on ABC’s The Rookie with Nathan Fillion and Mekia Cox.
The messages and themes of Amber Brown are what drew Rose to the series, which she is more than eager to share with her friends and family.
“I feel like in these times of hardship I’m hoping that people watching the show can see happiness, fun, and kindness in the show,” Rose exclusively tells Parade.com. “And maybe feel better about any circumstance they may be in when it comes to their own lives.”
What attracted you to this show? What did you appreciate about the story and the first script that you got?
Carsyn Rose: I felt very connected to Amber and I feel that she is extremely relatable. She’s super creative, she loves to draw and she really cares about her friends and family. I felt like the whole show would be a great message to send out. It just felt like a really great thing that I wanted to be a part of.
You talked about the messages being about friendship, family and kindness. Why is that important to share right now?
It’s a very important message to send out overall because it teaches kids about how they should address people and how kindness matters. I think that they can learn from Amber and her interactions with the popular kids at school and from her friend, Brandy. They can learn how to do that with other people.
Is there anything else you can tell us about Amber?
I think one of the most important things is that she’s really smart and she is trying to figure out everything that’s going on. That totally reflects real life because everyone has some type of thing that they’re going through. I think that the show will just help them see that other people are also going through things and that they make mistakes. We can learn from her and try not to make those mistakes ourselves.
How important is it for you to be considered a role model for young girls and have role models yourself?
When I was little, and even now when I watch TV, I don’t see a lot of strong girl characters, especially ones who are biracial, that look like me. I’m hoping that I can be that person on TV for kids around the world so that they can see themselves reflected in Amber Brown, learn from her and try to be like her and just be able to see someone that looks like them on TV and that acts like them on TV. That’s super, duper important so that they can see that they can do things, too, just like everyone else.
Talk about working with Bonnie Hunt and Sarah Drew, two amazing women. What have you learned from them? Have they given you any advice?
They are both super great role models for me. This is my first series regular role and at the beginning if I was feeling nervous or if I just didn’t know what to do they were super helpful. They gave me advice about things that you just don’t know really when you’re first starting. It just really helped me through the whole process. It was just really amazing to work with both of them.
Especially with having a writer, producer, and director [Hunt] that has been an actress and is an actress, that was really nice because then she understands what we’re doing and how we feel. She just really helped us through that. She let us have some creative freedom, too. She let us help her build the characters, and I just think that that helps you act them out better, helps you connect with them more because you have a better sense of who they are.
Were you familiar with the books, either before or after you got the role?
I read the first two books when I was younger, maybe in first grade. I remember reading them in my school library and I thought they were super cute and I really liked them. I liked the relatability and how the character in there was the same age as me, which was awesome. Now when I got the audition it wasn’t under the actual name and I don’t think my character had the same name. It was a little bit hidden.
But as I read the script I felt like it was something I had read before. Once I figured out what the real name was, and what my character’s name was, it was like a deja vu moment because I had already read the book. The series is a different experience when they’re watching it. But I loved the message that the book was giving out and I love what the show is giving out.
In your free time, what do you watch that you can relate to?
I love The Babysitter’s Club. I watched that show a little while ago and it’s just super cute and I feel like it definitely does have the same or similar message as Amber Brown. It has a similar age group, too, which I think it’s important that—there’s a very wide age group with Amber Brown, just like The Babysitter’s Club, from people that are like five and six all the way to adults can really relate to it. They can find characters that they relate to and can find the show interesting. Which I think is getting rare nowadays. I just think that’s super nice that all those different people can watch it.
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What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Well, I really like to dance. I love to just put on music and dance and I just think that is a really great way to express yourself, just like Amber has through drawing. TV-wise I’ve been watching Stranger Things lately, I really love that show.
If a parent or young girl is reading this and admires your work, what advice for a performing career would you give to them?
I’d say a big thing that I kind of wish I had learned earlier than I did is that there are a lot of things you don’t get and there are a lot of things that you may get rejected on. I feel like it’s always important to not get too attached to a project so that it doesn’t feel as much of a letdown if you don’t get it.
You’re pretty wise for a young person. It takes a lot of time and experience for people to learn that, to look forward to reaching their goals, and then when things don’t work out to say it wasn’t meant to be and move on.
I feel like once I got Amber Brown, too, I look back on roles that I was really devastated about or I really wish I would have gotten and I almost feel like not glad that I didn’t get them, but just now I realize why. I see why I didn’t get it, because now I have a role that I really, really love. I probably would have loved those ones, too, but it’s nice that when you do get something to look back and make peace with those ones that you hadn’t gotten because you have one now that you really like.
Who is your acting inspiration?
I really admire Reese Witherspoon’s career. She’s very versatile, she’s done a lot of different things. I like a lot of different things that she’s been in. That’s something that I try to aspire to do when I’m acting, is just to be versatile, be able to do a lot of different roles, not to go into one character area. I feel like that’s super important when you’re acting so you’re able to do more and get more because you’re able to do all those different things. That’s definitely something that I think I’m trying to learn from her and that I really like about her.
What did you enjoy about working with Nathan Fillion on The Rookie?
He is extremely nice. Even though I was a guest star, he was just so kind to me and made me feel like a part of the cast. We would just talk about stuff. It was really awesome. I just feel like the whole cast did that and was so kind to me and I just felt made the whole experience better. I’m trying to do that with Amber Brown and other roles that I get in the future, to try to make everyone feel welcome no matter what role they have. That makes the whole experience better. I think that was just super awesome to be a part of that. They were all super kind, I loved it.
Do you and your parents ever talk about TV, movies, theater or what you want your future to look like?
We have. I want to become an adult actor. I think that it’s important to look at what other roles I want to do and stuff like that. Especially now when I’m auditioning for other roles, it’s also important to think about this role what I want to happen next is to make sure I’m thinking about it before I audition for it. The next thing I do is going to be a big step. I probably want to do something that has a good message like Amber Brown. I love being a part of things that do that. It’s just important to be thinking about that as you go along, what’s going to be next, what’s going to happen next so that way you’re prepared if it happens.
Do you find it hard to balance your life as a regular girl and as an actress?
I can’t go to school because when you’re acting you have less of a school day. It’s only three hours. So it’s hard to do all the work in a school that you’d be doing in six hours in three hours. My mom is homeschooling me. She’s a teacher for the exact grade range that I’m in, which is great. She knows my schedule so it’s easier to fit school with work.
Friendship-wise I know most of my friends from acting—I have a couple of friends that I met in school over the years and I’m really great friends with them. But as I keep going on it’s easier to be friends with people that are in the industry.
Like Liliana Inouye, who plays Amber’s friend Brandi on the show. She is a super great friend and it’s easier to be friends with her because she understands if I have to go do an audition or if I have to go film something that we can’t hang out with at that exact moment. I think that that’s important to have a friend that understands what you’re going through, especially in this industry.
Were there a couple of topics that Amber Brown, such as divorce, that you think are important for young people and even older people to see in the show and relate to?
I think that it deals with a lot of different problems that people are going through. It’s super important for that to be reflected on TV so people don’t feel alone. There are messages for divorce and stuff. I haven’t personally gone through a divorce, but I understand how hard it must be to feel like you’re being split. Something that Amber goes through in the show is finding how to balance it, and who to go with at different moments. That can be hard since she loves both of her parents and she doesn’t want to see them like this.
Even with her best friend moving away, that’s sort of the main thing that happens to her in this first season. Her best friend is replaced by this girl that she doesn’t really know that well. I think that this is definitely something that’s important to show because it can be hard. You may feel like you’re replacing your friends by making new ones. I think that Amber does a really good job of rounding it out, being friends with both people and that’s definitely something I hope people can learn. There are just a lot of relatable and positive messages that I really appreciate.
This was your first leading role. What does that feel like?
I’m still a little bit in shock that I am Amber Brown in Amber Brown. I’ve gotten used to it but it still makes me so happy and just wows me a bit. There was a lot of—I don’t want to say struggle, but there was a lot of hard work that I had to put in before getting here. There were so many auditions that I did, so many auditions that I didn’t get and so many roles that I did that were smaller than this. I just kind of worked my way up. When I got this I just felt super happy and super grateful that all the hard work I put in paid off, and now I’m just super happy and excited that I get to be a part of this and I can’t wait for the world to see it.
What are some of the reasons that Parade readers should watch Amber Brown?
I feel like it’s such a relatable, fun show and you can have a lot of laughs, and you can have a lot of sad moments. That’s super important because that’s what life is like. So people can relate their lives to Amber’s life and hopefully find some comfort in it. But also, I think they should watch it because there’s a lot of learning that happens while you’re watching the show.
She makes mistakes and you get to see the consequences of those mistakes that she makes. Hopefully, if people find themselves in a similar situation as Amber they can learn from her, try not to make the same mistakes, and try to get to the point at the end of finding something that is making her—if Amber has a problem, she makes a mistake, then she learns from it, she makes herself better because of it. I think that people watching can hopefully get to that stage of being better and feeling better without having to go through the struggle in between.
Are you going to have an Amber Brown watch party?
Totally. My entire family’s going to have a party and we’re going to try to binge-watch all the episodes. I’m super excited to watch it with all of them, and they are extremely excited to see it.
Amber Brown debuts on July 29 on Apple TV +.