Sin City Diaries
Amber Smith branched out to acting in 1992 following a respected career in the world of modeling. She got her real acting break in Paul Mazursky's “Faithful” (1996) and went on to appear in many movies, including Abel Ferrara's “The Funeral” (1996), Barbra Streisand's “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (1996), Betty Thomas' “Private Parts” (1997), “Laws of Deception” (1997), Curtis Hansen's “L.A. Confidential” (1997), Sam Mendes' “American Beauty” (1999), “Tomcats” (2001) and “Dead End” (2003). On the small screen, she is probably best known for her role of Angelica in the short lived series “Sin City Diaries” (Cinemax, 2007). She has also appeared in TV shows such as “Friends,” “Just Shoot Me,” “VIP,” “Silk Stalkings,” VH1's reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” and its spin off “Sober House.” The blue eyed Florida native began her modeling career as a teenager and quickly found success in Paris and throughout Europe. As a supermodel, she appeared in many publications, including “Playboy.” She also posed in a number of advertising campaigns and walked the runways for big names from Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Childhood and Family:
Amber Smith was born on March 2, 1971, in Tampa, Florida. Her father, Russell Conway Smith, was a former NFL player who played running back for the San Diego Chargers for four seasons. He died on April 11, 2001, at age 56. Her mother is model Carol Smith. Amber was a talented student in high school with an IQ of 155.
Amber Smith was spotted at an International Modeling Convention and by age 16 had begun modeling professionally. She left her hometown for Paris at age 17 to further pursue her career and went on to spend the next four years traveling and working in Europe. Smith's hard work paid off after she dyed her naturally blonde hair red, which made her resemble former movie star Rita Hayworth. She subsequently appeared in consecutive issues of the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition” and was named “Esquire's first Vargas Girl” of the 1990s. She also established herself as the first model of the “Wonder Bra” campaign.
Smith continued to enjoy success with a number of covers and appearances in magazines like “Elle,” “Cosmopolitan,” “Max,” “Vogue” and “Marie Claire.” In 1995, she gained notoriety when she became the cover girl of the March 1995 edition of “Playboy.” She also did advertisements for L’Oreal Cosmetics, Buffalo Jeans, Camel cigarettes, Volkswagen automobiles, Kahlúa liqueur and Panama Jack and strutted down the catwalks for top designers such as Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier.
In 1992, Smith made her acting debut in “Inferno,” a British TV film special directed by Ellen Von Unwerth that also featured models like Kate Moss, Tyra Banks and Helena Christensen. She then appeared in Showtime's erotic series “Red Shoe Diaries” in the episodes “Runaway” (1993) and “As She Wishes” (1995) before deciding to head to Los Angeles to focus on acting.
“My first year in Hollywood was a virtual comedy of errors. I was told I was too tall and too beautiful. I found myself being cast to play dead bodies and scantily clad bimbos; my savings dwindling. I still refuse to capitalize on my supermodel status and downplayed it to anyone who recognized me.” Amber Smith
Smith's luck in acting began to change in 1996 she appeared in a small role in the Slamdance Film Festival premiered “Lowball,” which was written and directed by Demian Lichtenstein. The stunning beauty was then cast in her breakout role of Debbie, a womanizing husband's love object, in Paul Mazursky's “Faithful,” which was adapted to screenplay by actor Chazz Palminteri from his own play. She also had small parts in the Abel Ferrara gangster movie “The Funeral,” which starring Christopher Walken and Chris Penn, and the box office hit “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” directed and produced by and starring Barbra Streisand.
Following a performance with Cameron Bancroft, Caprice Benedetti and Manny Perez in the independent film “Sleeping Together,” from filmmaker Hugh Bush, Smith was cast in the role of Julie in the film “Private Parts,” directed by Betty Thomas and based on the 1993 best selling autobiography of the same name by radio personality Howard Stern. She then won the lead role in Joey Travolta's “Laws of Deception” (1997), opposite James Russo, and unforgettably portrayed Susan Lefferts in Curtis Hansen's “L.A. Confidential,” opposite Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito and David Strathairn. In addition, she showed off her comedic flair in Lionel C. Martin's “How to be a Player,” played Sheila in the movie “Mars,” helmed by Jon Hess, and guest starred in the TV series “Head Over Heels,” “Friends” and “Just Shoot Me.”
In 1998, Smith received a role in the HBO movie “The Rat Pack,” which starred Ray Liotta as Frank Sinatra, Joe Mantegna as Dean Martin, Don Cheadle as Sammy Davis, Jr., Angus Macfadyen as Peter Lawford and Bobby Slayton as Joey Bishop. She then appeared in episodes of Pamela Anderson's “VIP” and USA Network's police drama “Pacific Blue.” Also that year, she was hired to appear in the influential Wolford campaign, in which she worked with world class photographer Helmut Newton. Smith closed up the decade with a recurring performance in “Silk Stalkings” (as Virginia) and the small role of Christy Kane in Sam Mendes' dark comedy film “American Beauty,” which starred Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening and Thora Birch.
Smith next costarred with Nero Campbell in the independent film “Deception” and played the lead role of Alex Shepard in the thriller movie “The Midnight Hour,” which was directed by Emmanuel Itier (both 2000). She also supported Robert Bauer and Maria Pitillo in the independent comedy “Dirk and Betty” (2000), was cast in the thriller “Reasonable Doubt” (2001), appeared with Method Man, Mike Epps and Hector Elizondo in “How High” (2002), and was seen in “Tomcats” (2001), a comedy film helmed by Gregory Poirier and starring Jerry O'Connell, Shannon Elizabeth and Jake Busey. In the comedy film “New Suit” (2002), which won the President Award for Best American Indie at the 2002 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival, and “Dead End” (2003), a low budget horror film helmed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa, she played the roles of Jennifer and the Lady in White, respectively. Costars of the latter film included Ray Wise, Mick Cain, Alexandra Holden, Lin Shaye and Steve Valentine.
After “Dead End,” Smith took a break from acting until 2007 when she took on the starring role of Angelica in the Cinemax TV series “Sin City Diaries,” opposite Justin Bethancourt and Elena Talan. Debuting on January 1, 2007, the show lasted for 13 episodes until August 24, 2007. The next year, she appeared in ten episodes of the VH1 reality television show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” where she described her battle with narcotics. In early 2009, she appeared in the spin off show “Sober House,” which focused on a sober living environment.