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Amber Marshall drives a 2006 Dodge Ram because she prefers ‘a Mega Cab for my dogs.’ (Shawn Turner)
Amber Marshall drives a 2006 Dodge Ram because she prefers ‘a Mega Cab for my dogs.’ (Shawn Turner)

Amber Marshall

You won’t believe what this actress can fit into her pickup truck Add to ...

Amber Marshall

Profession: Actress

Age: 25

Hometown: London, Ont.

Notable achievements

  • Co-stars in Heartland; season 6 plays on the CBC Sunday nights at 7 p.m. all summer; Heartland is also featured on APTN, Bold and Vision TV in Canada
  • Nominated for L.A.’s Young Artist Award for her lead role in the movie of the week, The Elizabeth Smart Story
  • Has her own line of apparel, a magazine and calendar available on her website ambermarshall.com

Upcoming

More Related to this Story

  • Season 7 of Heartland starts in October on CBC

*****

Amber Marshall plays Amy Fleming on CBC’s hit series Heartland – a role that landed her Canada’s Favourite Screen Star Award at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards.

The actress has also appeared in Twice in a Lifetime, Dark Oracle and the TV movie Christmas Shoes alongside Rob Lowe.

But don’t let those other roles fool you. Marshall, a former veterinary assistant, is just like her on-screen persona on Heartland. She’s a cowgirl at heart who’s passionate about animals and her big monster truck – a 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab pickup.

Why did you buy a big truck?

I have the Mega Cab for my dogs because I have big dogs that travel everywhere with me. The seats are folded down always in the back – it’s like a big playpen back there.

I’ve had just about everything in the truck – I’ve had six peacocks inside the cab. I’ve had over 50 chickens. I can fit just about anything in my truck. It’s all leather because I have so many animals in there it’s much easier to clean. I also have a really nice live-in horse trailer that I haul everywhere with my truck.

I love my truck. I go everywhere with it. I have that truck because it suits the purpose of my life. It fits into what I need to do and it gives me a sense of independence.

So, you really are like Amy Fleming on TV?

Yes, pretty much. I think I’m a little more independent than my character because I pick up and go a lot by myself. It’s no big deal for me to hook up the trailer, take off and go somewhere by myself. Whereas I’ve never seen my character drive a truck and trailer. Amy doesn’t even have a truck.

Why did you choose a Ram over a Ford F-150?

I had a Ford diesel 350 Harley Davidson edition with the flames, but after [lots of problems] I swapped it for a Dodge.

Have you always been a truck girl?

Yeah. I’ve never owned a car. My first vehicle was a GMC Jimmy. When I was 16, I thought it was so big. Living on a farm, you need a truck.

But the fuel consumption must be atrocious?

Yes. The funny thing is diesel used to be cheaper than gas, but now it’s more expensive. Its usually $130-$140 to fuel up, but it does last quite a while. But it depends on what you’re hauling. When I’m hauling my trailer – it’s really heavy and big – it takes a whole lot of fuel.

I went with a diesel for the towing power. Diesels outdo gas any day for their towing capability.

I’m a little bit of a redneck when it comes to my truck. I have a huge exhaust. I love that sound. You can’t drive a pickup without hearing that GRRR sound.

If something went wrong with your truck, could you fix it?

I know how to do my own oil changes. As far as changing tires, I’m not strong enough. It’s a big truck and the parts on it are equally big.

I like my fancy rims. I’ve got rock star rims. I switched out the taillights and the headlights. I like it stylized a bit – I feel it’s a reflection of me. Just like if you’re going out and put on an outfit, it represents who you are and how you feel.

What does a Ram say about you?

It says I like to work hard. I like to play hard. I’m not afraid to get out and get dirty.

My truck is never clean. I go through the car wash once every four months. My fiancé likes washing my vehicle for me – he likes a clean vehicle. I figure I’m going to get it dirty again so I never bother cleaning it. On the inside, I don’t mind dirt, but I hate garbage. I clean it out every day. I like a tidy vehicle, but dirt is definitely everywhere.

What’s your best and worst driving story ever?

My best is any time I’m by myself and I can hook up the trailer in under 10 minutes, get the horses loaded and be on the road towards the mountains.

It’s a sense of accomplishment. I don’t need to have help. I can do it. I think, ‘Wow, that was great! I’m getting really good at this!’

Worst experience is I used to drive to Toronto from London, where I grew up, for auditions when I was 17-18. I had my ’94 Jimmy and it was not in the best shape.

Driving to Toronto was always a bit of a task. There was always huge snowstorms and one time they closed the 401 between Woodstock and London and I had to take the back roads. It was complete whiteout conditions. I ended up hitting some black ice, spinning 360 twice in the middle of Dundas with oncoming traffic, sliding on the other side of the road and I was wedged into the snow bank.

Some nice gentleman in an old pickup pulled over and hooked his tow hooks up and pulled me out. I was back on the road quickly. And then I came across a Tim Hortons and sat it out. That was one of those moments – it could have been really, really bad. Luckily, it was fine.

Have you had any close calls driving the Ram?

There was an incident when I was driving out of the mountains by myself, truck and trailer, in November and it was snowing and icy on the road.

I was coming up this hill and I couldn’t get into 4x4 quick enough and I started sliding backward, truck and trailer down this old mountain road. The trailer – halfway between the back and the first wheel well – went off the side of a 150-foot cliff!

I’ve never panicked more in my life! It stopped and I called someone to come out so we could get the truck and trailer up the hill. It really makes you think. I’m very cautious when I drive. I think you’re more cautious when you’re driving a big truck.

Do you listen to country music on the road?

Yes. 100 per cent. All of my presets are country. And I blast it and I sing! You’ll be singing and you’ll turn to the person sitting at the red light next to you and they’re in the big, jacked-up diesel truck and they’re singing just as loud.

Your truck is seven years old; is it time to replace it?

I’ve only had it for three years. I’m a used-vehicle girl. I can’t take that large depreciation off the top when you buy new. I thought about replacing it. But I go with the motto if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

Twitter: @PetrinaGentile

 
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