Ameenah Kaplan has been leading an evolving role within the American entertainment industry. The actress who studied at the experimental theater wing of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, has been making increased number of appearances in various prominent series such as Grey’ Anatomy, Law and Order as well as Harry’s Law.
More recently, Ameenah has been staring on NBC’S The Office in the show’s eighth season as the character of Val . With the actress being kind enough to participate in a interview with me, I took the opportunity to discuss Val’s development in terms of the character’s relationship with Darryl Philbin [ Craig Robinson] as well Ameenah’s aspirations for the character in the show’s forthcoming ninth season, the actress’ experience in portraying the character and working on the sets of The Office as well, other projects which the talented actress has recently been involved in.
Read through the complete interview below and share your response to it in the comments section, afterwards.
Abbas Karimjee: How have you related to the character of Val? In what ways are you two similar and how are you two different?
Ameenah Kaplan:Val is an interesting lady. She’s very focused and driven. We’re similar in that way. She’s used to being around the guys and so am I, so I think I fit her skin naturally. Her personality is more subdued than mine. I can bounce off the walls, where as I can’t really see Val doing that.
Were there any challenges associated with portraying the character of Val? How did you overcome such challenges?
Oh yes. The biggest challenge was getting over the fact that I was acting with comedy giants! It was a trip. They threw me right in, no training wheels. It was awesome. I didn’t want to screw it up, so I got some advice from friends. They reminded me that it’s about the work. Just do the work and don’t worry about the rest. It’s always good to hear that.
This past season,Val has been portrayed as being a potential romantic partner for the character of Darryl even though she is currently involved in a relationship outside of work with a restaurant owner, Brandon.Who would you like to see Val end up with and why?
Haha! Darryl, of course. Although Brandon is really handsome.
Although it remained unclear at the end of the season 8 finale whether the character would choose Darryl or remain with her current boyfriend, Brandon, we did see her participate in Darryl’s family photo. While Val mentioned early on in the season that she was reluctant to date coworkers, what do you think she sees in Darryl which may prompt her to reconsider this?
He’s adorable. He’s really working hard to get her attention and wear down her defenses. I think Val is okay with fraternizing so long as it’s the real deal. Darryl has a reputation. I think she could tell that.
NBC recently announced that the show has been renewed for a ninth season.What was your reaction when you discovered this? Although it is quite early on in the production process, what can you tell us about what is in store for the ninth season, both for Val as well as for the show in general?
I was happy for everyone involved with the show. It’s really a family there. They deserve this coming season. They’ve earned it. I’m the new kid. I’m grateful to be written in at all!
We have seen Val extensively within the context of her developing relationship with Darryl. Would you like to see other aspects of the character explored, perhaps through her backstory as well as by exploring her interactions with some of the other characters portrayed by the ensemble cast? What particular aspirations do you have for the character?
If I’m lucky, the writers are just getting started with Val. They are among the best around, so I trust that they are figuring ways to make the character compelling in the scope of the ensemble. Right now, she’s serving a very specific function. I’m still figuring out exactly what that is, lol, which may have something to do with it. The writers might still be getting to know both me and Val.
How many episodes will you appear in for the ninth season?
If I’m lucky—a bunch.
You have appeared in several episodes of The Office’s eighth season. Could you please share some of your favorite moments from working on the set, either on-screen or off-screen?
I really enjoyed the Pool Party episode at Robert California’s house. I liked it as much for the episode as I did for getting to spend time with my cast mates and the crew. It was hilarious. We were on location, soaked for 2 days straight. Everyone worked hard and achieved a very funny result. But, I wouldn’t recommend swimming with your dreads down. Tie them up! It’s easier to stay afloat.
Have you been involved in other acting projects which you would like to share with viewers?
Right now I’m featured in several ad campaigns including AT&T, USPS, Fidelity, and Progressive. And keep your fingers crossed for projects in the works!
Is there any message which you like to give to fans of The Office?
Thanks for being cool to me. I really appreciate it!