With a just-released Amazon special, a comedy headed to CBS in January and a miniseries in the works, it’s safe to say Camryn Manheim is staying busy — and she’s loving every second of it.
In Amazon’s original special An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends for Life, Camryn portrays Rae, a S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) camp administrator who demands her campers lose the technology and explore the outdoors instead.
What’s different about this film, however, is the choice of filmmakers to put young girls at a camp centered on science and math — something Manheim says wasn’t always common.
“Ten years ago, no girls were going to show up to a camp like that. That would’ve been 100 percent boys,” she recalled. “And now, we’ve jumped ahead a decade and girls are going to those camps all the time. It’s amazing what strides we’ve made in the past 10 years.”
Manheim, 56, instantly knew this film was the platform she needed to inspire kids because of its inherent premise that “girls love science and technology. We’re starting with young girls and giving them the power they need to grow up in a society where women are on equal ground with men.”
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And even as Manheim has been encouraging young girls and women to pursue their dreams, she admits she was a bit pleasantly surprised recently when an unexpected “perfect storm” of events, talent and opportunity led her musically gifted 16-year-old son, Milo, to find his way into show business as well.
It began when Disney Channel casting directors came to Milo’s high school production of Rent and offered him the chance to audition for their 2018 musical Zombies.
“I thought, ‘Oh, why not? What great experience! They’ll never cast him as the lead in a Disney musical, he’s never really been on camera,” says Manheim. “And then four months and eight callbacks, he got cast in it. I don’t know whether to kick myself or throw a party for us.”
But of course, the actress is ultimately excited to have her son following in her footsteps.
“It’s always nice when your children love to do what you love,” she says. “I don’t want to sound corny, but [parenting Milo] has been the best production in my life.”
An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends for Life is streaming on Amazon Prime now.