Los Angeles, California
The British actress made her U.S. television debut with a seductive pitch for Viagra. What viewers didn’t see, but should appreciate, is the depth of talent and character she brings to every role. Few actresses get parodied on the Ellen Degeneres show like Linette Beaumont, thanks to her commercial in 2014 as the first female spokesperson for Viagra. Imitation, even a clunky, comedic form of it, is recognition of one’s work.
So if you’re fighting the freeway traffic around LA or the Inland Empire or worried if your career’s going to peak or fall, then take to heart this encouraging thought from Linette: “No one fails. Every job is a success.”
An accomplished professional like Linette has a lot to teach us about keeping a positive attitude and persevering through life’s difficulties and maintaining a positive outlook that’s sincere. Performers have little control over their destiny and the outcome of their careers. What they can control, like refining their craft, they have to do with enthusiasm while always being ready and prepared for the unexpected opportunity that may or may not happen.
“You have to be optimistic, don’t you?” Linette asked me while she was visting Los Angeles and preparing for a photo shoot. A stylist was combing through her blond hair and powdering her face. “If you’re optimistic, you have good energy.”
Planting the seeds of a performer
Maintaining optimism and a positive vibe while expanding her career opportunities is a decision she’s made instead of succumbing to discouragement.
Linette began training at three years of age as a classical ballet dancer in her English hometown of Hertfordshire, encouraged by her mother who was an opera singer from New Zealand and her father who served as a Marine Commando in the British Army. After the military, he turned his attention to the work and science of animal husbandry and became the chief herdsman on the farm of the well-known Hatfield House, one of the Treasured Houses of England.
Her parents passed along to her their love for poetry and their work ethic. Acting was always a part of her. She wondered why, as a dancer, she couldn’t just go on stage and talk to the audience.
During her childhood, Linette made the most of her surroundings. She had older siblings who had moved on and a brother who battled cancer of the brain when she was younger. Her parents lived with their attention divided, yet Linette remained secure in their love for her. “I was often on my own and I was like Doctor Doolittle. I would sit among the cows and the sheep and the birds and make up plays and recite poems. I remember sitting on the gate singing songs to the birds and thinking that they were singing back to me.”
Tragedy struck early. Her father died when Linette was 12 years old but she kept dancing. She was dealt another blow in her 20s when a mirror shattered and a piece of glass fell and tore a ligament in her foot. Ballet was finished.
Instead of being sidelined, she was determined to remain in the arts. “If I hadn’t gone into acting, I would have been a vet or a doctor,” said Linette.
On to the stage and screen
She enrolled in the prestigious Drama Centre London where 25 students were chosen from 5,000 applicants. She studied and performed alongside Russell Brand, Tom Hardy, and Michael Fassbender.
Linette’s commitment to her work earned her representation before she graduated and she maintains the same agent today.
After leaving drama school, Linette was involved in the Impulse Company, a repertory theater company (excuse me, theatre) where she continued training and growing as an actress. “You have to have a good toolkit as an actor and keep adding things to the bag.” She mused on the lack of repertory theater today and how it’s a loss for many performers to hone their skills. “You have to put yourself out there and do the plays that don’t pay. You have to tread the boards and do the short films that may not go anywhere. Then when you do audition for a TV show or film you’ve had experience.”
Training alone doesn’t guarantee breaks in the industry where actors are cast for all sorts of odd reasons. Holding a script during an audition can throw off an actor and Linette said she knows the disappointment of not getting a major film role even after being told she was the better actress.
An industry insider shared with Linette an instance where one actress was turned down for a role because another actress had more followers on Twitter and was given the part. Linette has always found a way to bounce back, even after family heartaches, the last one being her brother who had cancer and survived into his adult years then went into remission and died in 2012.
By all accounts, Linette can look back on her own career as successful. She’s been cast in the notable British series Trial and Retribution and on various British soap operas. Her classical training led to performances in London as Lady Macbeth and Lady Teazle in “A School for Scandal.”
The most attention she’s received, though, came from her anonymous role as the sultry blond lying on a mattress and speaking to men about erectile dysfunction. The Viagra commercial that aired during Major League Baseball and NFL games in the fall of 2014 was her introduction for American audiences. The spot, created by ad agency BBDO, resulted in an Ellen parody and garnered widespread exposure with write-ups in publications on both sides of the Atlantic like the Hollywood Reporter and the Daily Mail.
Getting to know her
Linette accepts the practical role that commercials play in a performer’s career, helping pay for the networking and auditions needed to land a role on series television and films. “I’ve done a lot of commercials and they pay well. It allows you to take a theatrical show that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to take.”
Notoriety can be won as well.
“There’s something about being the first woman in the Viagra commercial that people remember,” said Linette. “I worked with [director] Jonas Ackerlund and he was truly wonderful. Making the commercial was a lot of fun and I was able to put a lot of trust in Jonas.”
A commercial for an actor is like an elevator pitch to people watching, she said. “This is how you know me.”
Linette, who says she believes in God and is a spiritual person, followed up the Viagra attention with a lead in a psychological thriller The Prowler, a short film directed by Tim Kent and written by Matthew Arlidge. It was shot in early 2015. “This is what I can do.”
Rather than convey an attitude that she’s going to take Los Angeles by storm, her strategy is one that professionals in entertainment can instantly appreciate. “It’s about doing good work and that’s what I’m passionate about.”
Linette pursues the next step of her career with the support of her husband, a percussionist who is often on tour, and her mother who is now 84 and volunteers for a local charity back home.
Many British actors are finding work in Los Angeles but Linette doesn’t see herself as part of a crowd rushing in from the UK. She’s confident in her unique abilities that have developed in the last decade-and-a-half that she’s been acting.
As for the next steps in her career, she would love to be cast in the next hottest project, but she has no expectations. “I simply love what I do.” Her philosophy is taking her career one opportunity at a time and doing her best every time a door opens. She has the training, the experience, and the attitude to persevere.
Though a career path through entertainment can be a torturous one to follow, Linette is a woman who heeds her own advice. She’s not concerned about failing. She’s confident in her integrity as a seasoned actress and her upbeat attitude that will serve her well on audition—and while negotiating the challenges of life in Southern California like the freeways.
Don Simkovich, Where We Live Work Play