Exclusive: Amy Aquino of 'Bosch' on Taking Up Space
by Kristen Williams
We took notice when Bosch star Amy Aquino took notice of Spinster Sisters, and sometimes shared her appreciation of our consciously crafted soaps on her Instagram feed. Amy often plays strong boss-lady roles in movies and TV shows, embodying the independent woman we had in mind when we created our #spinsterhood. Turns out, she embodies that spirit in real life as well. She loves that Spinster Sisters is boss-lady led and certified WBENC women-owned, and she shares a passion for a lot of other causes we hold dear. Amy graciously agreed to an interview with us, so let’s dig into what she’s up to and what else she had to say.
Who is Amy Aquino?
The seventh and final season of the wildly popular TV show Bosch was recently released on Amazon Prime, where Amy plays Lieutenant Grace Billets, the title character’s trusted, fearless, empathetic, and imperfect boss. Amy gives the character an effortless depth that draws you in and makes her feel familiar enough to care about her story from season 1. For Bosch superfans: Amy confirmed to us that a spinoff show is indeed being filmed now! [SPOILER ALERT for those who haven't finished season 7] - While Amy doesn't think that Captain Billets will play a big part in it, she may make an appearance or two! We can't wait!
Outside of the show Bosch, Amy has an extensive list of other acting credits, including many roles as judges and doctors, in titles ranging from Ally McBeal to E.R. to The Good Fight, to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and so many more along the way. We asked if her proclivity to portray strong, fierce women on the big and small screens was intentional or not, and she shared that it was a natural fit.
“Look at me, listen to me. I just take up space. I do really badly when someone asks me to be shy and retiring… I don’t do it that well and it’s kind of a waste of my energy. My energy is opinionated, it's strong, it's bossy and once you get on that train which I got on a long time ago... you know I’ve got a deep voice, I’m tall... I’m big... I take up space!”
We remarked how we’re all in on the power of a boss lady. “Power of the boss lady; I am a boss lady.” she replied.
Boss Ladies in Words and Action
As a woman-owned business, we're no stranger to strong women. Spinster Sisters’ own founder, Kelly Perkins, is a badass leader herself and shares Amy’s indomitable spirit.
Both women are passionate about taking care of the environment, and walk the talk by taking big steps (and baby steps!) in their own lives. A true hippy at heart, Kelly founded her sustainability-focused skincare brand Spinster Sisters in 2011, to take action by doing good through business. Amy makes a difference by making more sustainable life choices, and is even launching an initiative called “Baby Steps” to help encourage others to make their own difference.
Amy describes #babysteps as little, incremental changes someone can make that will improve their lives, and will usually save them money as well, rather than huge lifestyle changes that are intimidating and easy to put off. She just wants to showcase little ideas that people may not be aware of in their behavior that are easy to change and can really make an impact on the environment. She describes these actions as “Baby steps and no brainers toward a smaller carbon footprint”. Follow Amy on Instagram for little sustainability tidbits and a probable announcement of another platform for the initiative. She imagines having guest stars like Lewis Black and Ed Begley Jr. as well, and from what we can tell, it’s going to be immensely entertaining while we learn.
Suffice it to say, we think that Kelly and Amy should totally be friends, but that should be obvious to anyone who reads even half of this article!
[Fun fact: Kelly was born into a McCoy family with no relation we know of to “those McCoys,” and Amy married into the “real McCoy” family with all its storied history. We’re not aware of a Hatfield anywhere in our team’s history, so we’ve got that going for us. Whether the Hatfield-McCoy feud lives on in Amy’s family is perhaps a story for another day.]
Working for Alzheimer’s, Too
As if we could love Amy more, she is also a fervent supporter of Alzheimer’s Disease research. Alzheimer's and other dementia runs rampant on Amy’s dad’s side of the family and has taken much from the Aquinos. In addition to her sustainability work, Amy works tirelessly to raise awareness of and ultimately, help end Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
Each year on “The Longest Day”, which falls on the Solstice in June, people all over the world choose an activity and use it to participate in a fundraiser supporting the Alzheimer’s Association. Amy is an avid gardener, a passion learned from her dad and his siblings, so the literal fruits of that labor are what she chooses as her tribute each year. Amy takes the blackberries from her own garden and freezes them for the months leading up to The Longest Day. Then she spends that day making blackberry jam which gets raffled off and personally sends a jar to people donating $250 or more.
Alzheimer's touches so many people in this world, both the diagnosed and the people who care for them. Our founder Kelly takes this cause to heart as well. She lost her dear mama to Alzheimer’s and understands the importance of awareness of this “fucking horrible disease.” Upon finding out about Amy’s activism both for the environment and Alzheimer’s awareness, Kelly cooed, “awww I think she might be my soul sister!”
How Amy Found Her Favorite Soap
Amy Aquino discovered Spinster Sisters when a close friend took her to a little shop she loves in Golden, Colorado. That little shop, Baby Doe’s Boutique, is home to Spinster Sisters’ flagship retail location. Knowing Amy’s fondness for great-smelling soaps, the friend steered her to a section that captivated her keen nose, and she was hooked. She described smelling the soaps “like being in a garden.” Incidentally, this same friend also introduced Amy to the only underwear she’ll wear now -- Hanky Panky’s -- a sustainably and ethically made lacy thong from a female-founded company. We digress, but we’re pretty sure this can’t be a coincidence.
“I’m not a fancy soap gal,” said Amy, when describing how she doesn’t usually purchase higher end soaps, favoring instead the free ones she can find in her hotel rooms. “But the scents on these [Spinster Sisters] soaps were so completely natural.” She says she’s very sensitive to scents, and vulnerable to the smells around her. Artificial scents are grating to her, and she finds anything that’s chemically fragranced unbearable, so it’s only natural (we couldn’t resist) that she’d be drawn to the clean, plant-based ingredients in our soaps.
She and her husband recently purchased a motorcoach and traveled around the country, and Amy would sometimes insist on a pit stop when she saw flowers or other intriguing parts of nature and just had to explore those scents. It’s one of the things she loves about RV’ing. (Our founder Kelly is a recent convert to the RV lifestyle as well! Is this a friendship match made in heaven or what?)
If you can’t make it to Baby Does or one of the 2,000 stores that carry our products in person, here’s a tip from Amy about ordering scents online: “It makes no sense because you can’t smell it. The thing about Spinster Sisters is that because it’s completely natural, you can go to a flower shop or a forest and smell the scent and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.” We endorse such an outing any time, of course many of our products are crafted with a combination of natural ingredients so you’ll need to be pretty creative out there in the wild.
Back at home, Amy cut her new soaps into quarters and placed them prettily in their dishes among rocks collected from nature. She reveled in the way the soaps filled her powder room with beautiful fragrance, and how long it lasted! Six months later it was still smelling like flowers and these bar soaps “became my favorite thing.” She prefers the bars to Liquid Soap because the scents aren’t contained in a bottle and she doesn’t have to worry about whether the plastic bottle is actually getting recycled further down in the waste stream. She has a place for liquid but leans heavily on bars, especially now. It’s by far her favorite Spinster Sisters product to date, but she seemed excited to learn of our shampoo and conditioner bars and we look forward to hearing if they’ve made it to her favorites list as well.
Now for a quick break - speed round Q&A!
Q: Bath or shower?
A: Shower, a quick one, maybe 5 minutes total with about 2 minutes of that with water running. (She takes her responsibility in a drought state and water conservation seriously, too!)
Q: If you could wave a magic wand and have Spinster Sisters create one new product, what would it be?
A: Lavender salve in a tin. Moisturizing salve in lavender for nighttime aromatherapy.
Q: What’s the weirdest thing in your refrigerator right now?
A: Old Vegemite from our last trip to Australia.
Q: Favorite beauty/wellness tip?
A: Put coconut oil in your hair the day before washing it. Especially for curly/unruly hair.
Women to be Remembered
Then we asked a question that required more thought and led to a deeper conversation: You get an hour of personal time with one woman in all of history, past or present - who would it be and why? What would your answer be?
Amy didn’t take too long to suggest Marie “Madame” Curie. What an interesting woman to choose! Perhaps best known for her work developing the theory of radioactivity (and coining that term), and her Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry, there is so much more to know and admire about Marie Curie. Amy appreciates how she was always “doing things she was absolutely not encouraged to do; discouraged on every level, and what it was like for her to make that choice.”
Amy laments that Marie Curie is actually one of the few women who got credit for her work, saying that “meanwhile other women behind the scenes have always been doing amazing things.” Forever fascinated by the hidden stories of inspiring women, Amy shared with us an impressive list of interesting and powerful women in science, journalism, activism, entertainment, royalty, and even her own family, whose stories need to be told and remembered. This list of important women is a great place to start if you’d like to dig into some fascinating stories of women hidden in history.
Much of Amy’s tenacity was also evident in her mother, who lived an impressive independent life from a young age. She was so smart she kept skipping grades and was poised to go to high school at the age of 13. Circumstances dictated otherwise, and she began taking the subway from Brooklyn to NYC every day to work for 10 years. She was very proud of the fact that she went to Margaret Sanger’s clinic (and met Margaret Sanger) for birth control, under the guidance of her own Italian-American Catholic mother. Thus, Amy’s mother was able to plan her family in the way that she wanted. She married Amy’s father and they ended up raising 5 children, including the highly accomplished Harvard and Yale graduate, Amy Aquino herself.
Lost Stories of Middle Kids and Generation Gaps
After trying to have children for awhile, Amy and her husband, Drew, chose another path. When Amy signed up with the Fulfillment Fund as a way to have kids in her life, she met a 9th grade girl she would go on to help guide through the college acceptance process. It came down to the wire, but her mentee got in and is now flourishing as a 30 year old and they still keep in touch. Amy indicated that this program helps those “forgotten kids in the middle,” the ones in between the more privileged families with abundant opportunities and the ones who can access programs for more disadvantaged families.
Within her industry, Amy is involved in “Sages and Seekers,” a mentorship program that pairs adolescents with adults to learn from each other through conversation. While younger generations always have a lot to learn from those with age and experience, perhaps just recognizing that older people are human is the simplest lesson of all. The program enables weeks of conversations to bring generations together, which helps combat ageism and stereotyping in general, and encourages empathy. After weeks of just hanging out with someone they normally wouldn’t, kids often end up recognizing that their experiences aren’t necessarily new, and that adults actually have something to offer. The adults learn from the younger generation that what they’re going through is different, but not new. Young people have a lot to teach adults as well.
As for her own mentor, Amy sees that role played by her peer and close friend Ruth. Their friendship began as college roommates, where Ruth first started helping Amy get some perspective on her life. Every family has its idiosyncrasies. Amy credits Ruth with getting Amy to acknowledge and accept the world as it is, as well as seeing the quirkiness of her own family more clearly. Amy imitated Ruth comically, “You know they’re crazy, right? [silence] … You know they’re crazy… right?”
And a Spinster Runs Through It
Strong women, giving back, compassion, activism, flawed humanity — we can definitely relate to Amy Aquino. So we wanted to know: what does Spinster Sisters mean to her? She doesn’t just love that Spinster Sisters is women owned, she loves that the products are made with renewable energy and our entire sustainability mission. She loves that our Bar Soaps are “practically negative carbon” as they just get used up and poof they’re gone. “I love the gestalt of it all.”
And the brand itself? That’s when she starts wondering -- “Are they in fact sisters and are they in fact spinsters?” Before we could tell her that story (short version here), she went on to calling us “Spinster Sistahs” and “Spinster Broads” and talking about the “Bosch Broads” (all the strong women making their marks on and off set) from her show. Amy loves the word broad, saying, “It’s incredibly complimentary. Now that’s a woman who doesn’t worry about taking up space.”
Indeed. Just like Marie Curie and other badass foresisters who inspired us to call ourselves Spinster Sisters, let’s own our intelligence, independence, and power to make change in this world. It’s all in the #spinsterhood. Let’s take up space!
Thank you so much, Amy, for using and loving our products and letting everyone know about it. Thanks for all you do for the planet and the people on it. And thank you for generously spending some time with us and sharing your thoughts and stories. We love you right back!
Thanks to Amy for the images of the powder rooms in her home and motorcoach. Header image by Amazon Studios.