Naomi Rubin from Atypical Seasons 2 and 3 co-starred this holiday season in It’s a Wonderful Life’s table read which can be purchased at the Ed Asner Family Center website. The proceeds from the production help young adults and families with autism.
By Ron Sandison
Last year I interviewed Tal Anderson from Atypical Season 3.
I was excited this year to interview Naomi Rubin and share her journey of autism and how she followed her dreams of acting in TV shows and movies.
1. What impact did your childhood in Los Angeles have on your acting career?
Everything is in Los Angeles. Growing up in .A., I was able to meet many cool actors and actresses like Rowan Blanchard who played Riley Matthews in the Disney Channel series Girl Meets World. We went to school together. My parents knew many actors and filmmakers and they encouraged me to be in school musicals and plays. A problem with L.A. is the slow traffic on the freeway.
2. What sparked your interest in acting and musicals?
I always had an active imagination and acting was the perfect fit. In fourth grade, I began acting by playing in Willy Wonka Junior. I auditioned for the role of Veruca Salt who is my favorite character all time but was picked for another role. I loved being on the stage and performing.
This play started me on a path of being in school musical and a few summer camp productions. In eleventh grade, my mom received an email about an open casting call for Atypical. We sent in a video and the next day, I was chosen. After appearing in only three episodes, they named my character Noelle and gave me some lines. I went on to co-star in seasons two and three of Atypical.
I also played Audrey in the 2019 Disney pilot The A Girl, as well as appearing in a long form web-commercial for an international online retailer, and Investigation Discovery’s A Stranger Among Us. Recently, I did a new show As We See It for Amazon Prime which will be out next month.
3. How did your family and teachers encourage your passion for acting?
My parents are passionate about musical theater and they’ve passed that passion on to me. The autism community is very supportive and Elaine Hall, the founder of The Miracle Project has mentored me and I worked with her on some projects. My acting coach Liz Flemming from Out of the Box Theatrics has been a great teacher and helped me with my harder auditions. Liz is a great source of light and a real motivator.
4. How does your neurodiverse thinking empower you for an acting career?
My neurodiverse thinking empowers me as an actress by giving me an active imagination that enables me to visualize my characters and portray their mannerisms and emotions. I learned through acting to block out noise and overcome my natural shyness with confidence on the stage.
5. What are some similarities between you and your character Noelle in Atypical?
Like my character Noelle, I am sassy and we both have an uncle who was on academic probation, only my uncle was not in jail like Noelle’s.
6. As an actress on the spectrum what were some unique challenges you experienced and how did you overcome them?
Some challenges I experienced with autism in acting was social anxiety. When auditioning actresses are expected to be super outgoing, warm, funny, and bubbly. I try to have these qualities but sometimes it’s difficult when I had a bad day or I am tired. I learned to own the room as best I can by being an outgoing version of myself.
7. What character do you play in It’s a Wonderful Life’ table read and what do you like best about this character?
I play the role as Violet Bick. I really like that Violet is ahead of her time. She not afraid to take charge in a relationship and flirts with George Bailey who is the main character in the story. By the end of the show, she owns her own business.
8. How is It’s a Wonderful Life’ table read different from the original classic?
The table read version follows the original script but is different by being a virtual live experience on Zoom. Every actor is in boxes and the host is Tom Bergeron from Dancing with the Stars and Hollywood Squares. It also has two legendary story tellers: Mandy Patinkin, a Broadway star who was in the film The Princess Bride and comedian Phil Lamarr who is the number one voice actor in the world.
9. What other actors and actress did you work with in Wonderful Life’ table read?
In addition to the three actors I’ve already mentioned, I worked with Jason Sudeikis who played George Bailey, Kathy Bates as Ma Bailey, Mark Hamill, Rosario Dawson, Martin Sheen, Spencer Harte, Dominique Brown, and many other big names.
10. What are some future roles you hope to play in films and TV shows?
I would love to act in an episode of my favorite television show Doctor Who and a superhero movie by Marvel or D.C.
11. Share a humorous moment from your life.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a big imagination with several layers on top of it and that can be an issue. When I was very young I had imaginary friends who went with me everywhere. On vacation in Jamaica, my family went to a resort with a big waterslide; I made the other children inline wait for my three imaginary friends to go down the waterslide before me. My three imaginary friends were Hilary Potter and his two friends: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. I look back on this incident and wish I could apologize for being such a waterslide hog.
12. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I like to encourage everyone on the spectrum that you’re incredible and to never give up on your dreams because you’re unique.
13. What advice would you give to individuals with autism who hope to be actors or actresses?
Do it! Jump into acting. If you got a big imagination as I’ve go for it, the world is your oyster.
14. Growing up my special interest was a prairie dog name Prairie Pup, did you have a favorite stuffed animal?
Yes!!! My favorite stuffed animal was an orange monkey who I named Orange.
Naomi Rubin’s biography
After falling in love with acting in school musicals, Naomi Rubin began her professional acting career in 2018 when she was cast in a recurring co-star role as “Noelle” on seasons 2 and 3 of the Netflix original series Atypical. In addition to the Netflix series, Naomi played “Audrey” in the 2019 Disney pilot The A Girl, as well as appearing in a long form web-commercial for an international online retailer, and Investigation Discovery’s A Stranger Among Us.
When she’s not acting or singing, Naomi can be found volunteering with rescue cats at Perry’s Place, obsessing over the Marvel Universe and Broadway musicals, and championing social justice.
Ron Sandison works full time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is an advisory board member of Autism Society Faith Initiative of Autism Society ofAmerica. Sandison has a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and is the author of A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom, published by Charisma House and Thought, Choice, Action. He has memorized over 10,000 Scriptures including 22 complete books of the New Testament and over 5,000 quotes. Ron’s third book Views from the Spectrum was released in May 2021.
Ron frequently guest speaks at colleges, conferences, autism centers, and churches. Ron and his wife, Kristen, reside in Rochester Hills, MI, with a baby daughter, Makayla Marie born on March 20, 2016.
You can contact Ron at his website www.spectruminclusion.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.