INTERVIEW: Sami Gayle on the New Season of CBS’ ‘Blue Bloods,’ Her Journey on the Show, the Character of Nicky, and Her Decision to Pursue Acting
Actress Sami Gayle answered all of our burning questions about Blue Bloods, which just started its’ 11th season.
Blue Bloods, which first premiered in 2010, follows the lives of the Reagan family. The family gives viewers a look into every aspect of the justice system, each character playing a different role in it. Frank (played by Tom Selleck) is the current NYPD police commissioner, following his father’s footsteps. Erin (Bridget Moynahan) represents the New York District Attorney’s office, while her brothers Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), a detective, and Jamie (Will Estes), a sergeant, show the daily lives of the NYPD. Gayle plays Nicky Reagan-Boyle, Erin’s daughter. The show airs Fridays on CBS at 10 PM ET/PT.
Read Glitter’s exclusive interview with Sami Gayle below to find out what the show has taught her, stories from the famous Reagan Sunday dinners, her favorite Nicky moment, most challenging storyline, and the message she hopes to give those looking up to her.
GLITTER: Was there a specific moment when you knew that you wanted to pursue acting? Was it an easy decision?
SAMI: When I was 3 or 4, I remember standing with my grandmother at the annual Coconut Grove Art Show, watching “Moving Melvin” tap on a small piece of wood. I looked at my grandmother and said, “I can do that.” From that moment onwards, I knew I wanted to be a performer on Broadway (and I was lucky enough to live out that dream), but I was not interested in solely acting until I was 14. Though I had not wanted to do TV or film, a commercial audition landed me the leading role of Erica in Detachment opposite Adrien Brody. Erica had very different experiences from my own. But, stepping into her shoes and seeing the world through her eyes made me empathize with her experiences, stop judging, and start listening. It was then that I discovered the power of acting — to generate empathy and to effectuate change. Becoming Erica made me realize I was meant to be a professional empathizer, and I have tried to harness that “superpower” to do good ever since.
GLITTER: Blue Bloods just started its 11th season, and you star as Nicky Reagan-Boyle. How would you describe your journey on the show?
SAMI: Nicky has navigated so many experiences — her parent’s divorce, the loss of two family members, new jobs, college, conflicting career ambitions, the pressures of being part of the Reagan family, just to name a few. And, yet, she has emerged an independent woman with a positive outlook who, despite any backlash, has always chartered her own path.
GLITTER: Are there any lessons the show has taught you either as a person or actress?
SAMI: Nicky speaks up for what she believes in, even in the face of dissent. Growing up with her by my side helped me learn to speak my truth and to advocate for myself in my personal and professional lives.
GLITTER: Bridget Moynahan plays your on-screen mom; do you look up to her as an actress, and what do you enjoy most about your scenes together?
SAMI: Bridget has been like an additional mother, and I am forever indebted to her for showing me what it means to be a gracious, kind, talented, and independent woman. Watching her over the years has helped me to become a better actor. My favorite thing about our scenes together is that they often tackle universal, mother/daughter experiences. I always walk away having gleaned something about a situation I’ve encountered with my actual mom or with foresight as to how to deal with a situation in the future.
GLITTER: Every episode, regardless of what’s happening, the Reagan family always has a Sunday dinner together. What do you hope that scene gives to families watching the show together?
SAMI: I hope that our dinner scenes show viewers the importance of learning from and hearing out perspectives different from their own. Everyone has their own point of view at our dinner table, and our characters are more informed, connected, and understanding because of that.
GLITTER: How fun is it filming the Sunday dinner scene? Any stories you can share?
SAMI: We always have the best time! It’s a joy to be able to catch up not only on our characters’ lives but also on our personal lives! My go-to dinner scene story is from my first episode. My little cousin (who is not so little now) sneezed on my food, and the director did not see. The director then asked me to take a bite. I obliged. Bridget immediately handed me a napkin to spit the food out and told me that I needed to say something next time. She instantly became a mother figure for me and has been ever since.
GLITTER: Is there anyone on the show that you wish you had more scenes with?
SAMI: I’d love to have more scenes with Steve. I am such a fan of his work from The Sopranos to The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and I think I’d learn a lot from working with him.
GLITTER: Do you have a favorite Nicky moment?
SAMI: There are so many! But, one that sticks out is getting to sing with Len Cariou in Season Two. Len is such a Broadway icon. It was a dream to get to sing with him.
GLITTER: What would be your dream storyline for Nicky?
SAMI: I’d love to see Nicky live out her desire to serve in the NYPD. I’d also love to see her go on another ride along with Uncle Danny now that she is an adult.
GLITTER: Obviously, filming is a lot different now with all of the necessary safety precautions. What is filming like for you and the rest of the cast?
SAMI: We are taking every precaution. Daily testing, social distancing, robotic cameras, mask-wearing… CBS is doing everything possible to protect our cast and crew. While I wish I could give my coworkers a hug, I am so grateful for the opportunity to see and work with them at all. So many people who work in TV, film, and theater are out of work right now. We are lucky to be shooting during such a difficult time.
GLITTER: Besides Blue Bloods, what would you say is one of the highlights of your career so far?
SAMI: Another highlight of my career was getting to co-produce and star in Candy Jar, a Netflix film written by my brother, Chad Klitzman. Getting to work with Chad was such a special experience. And, we got to do so alongside the most talented group of people!
GLITTER: What would be your dream role or project?
SAMI: Dot/Marie in Sunday in the Park with George.
GLITTER: Who is at the top of your current playlist?
SAMI: Shawn Mendes.
GLITTER: Most challenging storyline you’ve done as an actress?
SAMI: Nicky was sexually assaulted by her boss. I was thrilled that Blue Bloods made the effort to help normalize the discussion and prevalence of such experiences. But, it was challenging to bring that story to life in a way that would do justice to all of the individuals who have gone through that.
GLITTER: Have you had any memorable fan moments that have stuck with you?
SAMI: A mother once came up to me and thanked me for the impact that Nicky had had on her daughter; she said that watching my character carve her own path and speak her mind encouraged her daughter to do the same. That was incredibly rewarding.
GLITTER: How do you like to use social media to interact with your fans?
SAMI: I use social media to thank my fans for supporting me and to support them in any way that I can. I host events like LIVE cooking classes to give back to the online community, which has given me so much.
GLITTER: What was a day in social isolation like for you?
SAMI: I am still in isolation. When not shooting, I quarantine with my family in my childhood home in Florida. I’ve been baking a lot, working out a lot, working on music I hope to release in 2021, working on film projects, and I hope to shoot in 2021. Earlier this year, I was helping my brother run an 80 person strong virtual campaign internship program in conjunction with his run for Supervisor of Elections in Broward County. I’ve tried to find every silver lining possible during this time and to give back to our community in any way that I can.
GLITTER: How did you keep yourself positive and calm over quarantine?
SAMI: Working out! At the beginning of quarantine, I would work out late in the evenings. My trainer said I was using the workouts as distractions for not being able to go to dinner with my friends. I think he was right.
GLITTER: Best piece of advice you’ve received either in regards to acting or life in general?
SAMI: Risk yields reward. If something doesn’t work out, that’s ok; you’ll never know unless you try. And you’ll always learn something.
GLITTER: What message do you hope to give anyone looking up to you?
SAMI: I am from a small suburb in Florida, and I was on Broadway by age 11. Anyone can do anything. TRY!
GLITTER: Any favorite beauty or skincare products?
SAMI: Sunscreen! I use Elta MD because it is good for breakout-prone skin and rosacea. I also love Georgia Louise’s Cryo-Tools, which calm skin inflammation.
GLITTER: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
SAMI: Eze in the South of France. The mountains by the Mediterranean Sea completely ease my mind, and after this year of confinement, I could use that.
GLITTER: Glitter has a celebrity #SelfLoveCampaign. What does self-love mean to you?
SAMI: Self-love means being patient with and appreciating all of my goals, emotions, and experiences — positive and not.
GLITTER: Do you have any new projects coming up that you can discuss?
SAMI: My brother and I have a production company with two films in the pipeline that will hopefully shoot in 2021. I have been working on an EP and recently penned a children’s book.