actress Aimée Spring Fortier
Sometimes we want to forget who we are and just disappear. But, imagine if this really happened to you due to a traumatic event.
This is the storyline behind a recent episode of NBC’s long-running drama series “Law & Order: SVU.”
In ‘Exile,’ actress Aimée Spring Fortier
stepped in the shoes of an assault victim suffering from such a disorder – and she’s completely unaware of it when she wakes up in a hospital with no memory.
In real life, Aimée isn’t disappearing from our screens anytime soon. In fact, she’s scheduled to emerge again on NBC’s newest drama series, “The Enemy Within.” Previously, the New Orleans native popped-up on USA’s “Mr. Robot” and Lifetime movie “Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal.”
Aimée Spring Fortier recently found some time to answer a few questions:
Give us a recap of your role on the “Law & Order: SVU” episode titled ‘Exile.’
AIMÉE SPRING FORTIER: I play Grace Walker, a girl who wakes up after being assaulted with no memory of what happened. When the detectives investigate further, I not only disappear, but there is no trace of someone with my name or phone number. They piece together clues and find out that I was once a straight A pre-Med sorority girl named Sophie, but now I am homeless and suffering from fugue disorder, which is when someone forgets who they are after a traumatic event.
What was your initial reaction to portraying a victim of sexual assault?
ASF: I saw it as a privilege and an honor. It motivated me to try to do my best.
Did you do anything specific to prepare for the role?
ASF: I had a very limited amount of time, but spoke to a friend who regularly volunteers at covenant house about his experience working with young homeless people. There is also a YouTube channel that interviews homeless youth across the country and I watched all of them. I write as well as act so I huge part of developing a character for me is filling in the gaps and writing in detail Grace/Sophie’s life story including all of the events I am given in the script. That’s also how I knew it was a good script, the more I dug, the more plot points and character traits connected and she became more real to me. I also did some research on Mother loss at the age of three (when Sophie lost her mom) from Hope Edelman’s book “Motherless Daughters.”
What would you consider your characters ‘best’ quality? And their ‘worst’?
ASF: She’s a survivor and a fighter, even when she doesn’t know who she is and how she got there. She does what she needs to do to survive. I feel very in awe and protective of her so I don’t know if I can think of any bad qualities.
Considering the show deals with such heavy topics, what’s the mood like in-between takes?
ASF: It depends on the scene we’re shooting. Everyone is first and foremost sensitive to the material and the actors’ process. However, the second things can get lighter, they do. Mariska especially had me in stitches. She’s hilarious.
Were you a fan of the show yourself before landing the job?
ASF: My grandfather was an FBI agent who retired in Florida, and whenever I visited, they had law and order on around the clock. I think it kept him sane to always have a case going on in the background. I used to stay up late watching with them when I went to visit, and now it’s very nostalgic and comforting for me.
And, now just for fun:
Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
ASF: Probably Cate Blanchett or Amy Adams.
What role from the past do you wish you could have played?
ASF: Annie, from "Annie." I don’t know if my ten-year-old self will ever get over it. Once I dressed up as her for Halloween and I wore the wig and the costume every day for several months. There is a photo of me at the beach in my bathing suit and red wig making a sandcastle while sweat drips down my face. I was very committed.
Favorite movie or TV show from your childhood.
ASF: "Sesame Street," I think that is part of the reason I love New York and moved here. I also loved reruns of "Zoobilie Zoo" with Ben Vareen, anything with singing animals.
Tell us one thing that would surprise our readers to learn about you.
ASF: My name is very French, but I am not. My grandmothers were both Irish. Aimée is an old New Orleans name. It means beloved in French. My mom found it in a book about my dad’s family tree. I think I’m the fourth Aimée Fortier.
How can fans keep up with you?
ASF: On Instagram @aimspringfor link
and I have a website you can message me on aimeespringfortier.com link
Thanks, Aimée – we’ll be remembering you for a long time to come.
Aimée Spring Fortier on-set of "Law & Order: SVU"