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What It Was Like Working With Amber Marshall


We are one of those households who have watched and love the Canadian TV show Heartland since it began. If you love Heartland, you’ll definitely know who Amber Marshall is. She plays the lead character Amy Fleming on the show. With an 18-year television run so far, we have literally watched Amber’s character Amy, grow into a woman. We’ve seen her fall in love, get married, have a child, become a widow, and now continue on as a single parent, while continuing to work her magic with troubled horses. Amber’s character has had the opportunity to explore the fullness and realness of life due to the length of time ‘on air’.

Of course, seeing Amber on the TV screen would make you wonder what she is like in person and in real life. Is she a horse woman? Does she live a rural lifestyle? What does she do in the off season when not filming? Is she as kind and family-centred in her real life? These are all questions that fans of the show have likely thought and of course would be curious to have answered if they had a chance for a personal meet-up. We are happy to say that we can share some of the answers to these questions through our exclusive interview with Amber in the summer 2024 issue of Trailblazher magazine and on our Trailblazher podcast.

2 women pose for a selfie with big smiles and a woman in the background poses

Our adventure to meet up and interview Amber began with an email from Katie, her publicist. We had sent her a copy of Trailblazher two years ago and were quite surprised when she reached out to us to ask if we would still be interested in sharing Amber’s story. Of course we were interested and soon emails were flying back and forth amidst a few Zoom calls to set up the interview and the photoshoot at Amber’s store and an outdoor location nearby.

After about six weeks of planning we headed out on a snowy morning in late April. We were hoping the forecast snow wouldn’t happen overnight, but it did. Our photographer, Chelsie Frere, came to our house that morning, hopped in with us, and we set off on an hour’s drive to get to Diamond Valley and Amber’s store. We knew the drive well as that is a day trip we have taken often. We arrived at Marshall’s Country Store at 10:30 am – right on time, despite the roads. 

The outside of Amber’s store is so quaint and well kept as it sits on the corner of the main street running through town. As we got out of the vehicle we took a deep breath in anticipation of how the day would go. As soon as we stepped into the store Katie was there to greet us with hugs. Having chatted with Katie several times over Zoom calls, we already felt like we knew her – and we started to relax. 

Amber was not there when we arrived – she had quickly gone home to pick up her two dogs, Autumn and Rein… and her pet rooster, Phoenix. Amber wanted to have these beauties as part of the photoshoot in the store – and we were happy to accommodate. While we browsed through the store we were getting a feel for who Amber is as evidenced by the products she has curated for the store, and the branded merchandise that she has created herself. The western vibe certainly was there as we walked around the store, looking and touching all the beautiful pieces.

Amber Marshall with Jan & Erin Johnson pose for a photo

Then we went outside to scope backdrops for pictures that wouldn’t have snow in them – after all, this was for our summer issue. While we were sizing up the space, Katie came to tell us Amber was back. We followed her inside and there was Amber waiting to meet us. My first thought was – she is taller than I thought she would be. (Turns out that she had some good heels on the boots she was wearing, which she later slipped off for a group picture.) We all shook hands and made small talk as we were silently getting a fix on each other, anticipation hanging in the air. 

After some general conversation, Amber led us into her stockroom where there was a table that we would use as our interview location. She wanted to sit in front of a wall of bins that contained store merchandise, rather than boxes of new stock that had just arrived and needed to be unpacked. We didn’t require much set up as Erin and I were going to record the interview on our phones. I had a small notebook where I had about five questions each for three different areas. We wanted to know about 1) Heartland, 2) Marshall’s Country Store, and 3) who she is as a modern rural woman. We were excited to dive in as we love the challenge of meeting new women and asking and learning about who they are. Amber looked very relaxed, as one might expect. After 17 years with the show, interviews were not a new thing for her. I wondered for a moment what she thought about us, but quickly let that thought go as we needed to move into the details.

The interview flowed nicely. Amber has these amazing blue eyes that can hold a kind and steady gaze. When she is listening or talking to you, you feel her presence and that she is fully in the moment. That is what the interview felt like, this back and forth flow from Erin and I, to Amber, and we held this space of focus for about an hour and a half between the three of us. We were more than happy to come to the store for this in-person interview, as up until now, all other interviews had been conducted through Zoom calls. 

Once the interview portion was over, Chelsie captured some really cool shots with Amber throughout the store, many with her two dogs Autumn and Rein, and a few special ones with her rooster Phoenix. Amber was so relaxed and so open to suggestions for any ideas we or Chelsie had for picture backdrops and settings. Obviously,she is used to being in front of a camera, and she was gracious and accommodating to all of our requests – no diva behaviour in any shape or form.

Amber Marshall with her dogs and the back of a photographer taking Amber's photo.

We all went to lunch afterwards, and I have to say it felt like we had known each other for ages. Amber’s confidence in herself and who she is just comes across as openness and curiosity to get to know the people around her. We laughed and chatted about personal things the way that women do, and I think we all left with full hearts and big smiles.

We had a second photoshoot with Amber a week later for outdoor shots. We met first at the store again. After we got some great shots in front of the store with her on her palomino Cruz, we followed her out to a location she had picked out, just out of town about 15 minutes. She pulled into the parking lot driving her Dodge truck, with three horses loaded into the horse trailer she was pulling. With the kind of precision that comes with experience, she parked that trailer exactly where she meant to. We were impressed. She was in her element handling and riding her horses and all the shots came out so beautifully in the ‘golden hour’ session we had planned. After the pictures were done, we had a tailgate charcuterie that we had ordered and brought with us. It tasted so good in the cooling fresh air of the evening – a perfect way to end the session.

Amber Marshall with her dog and a photographer taking a photo surrounded by mountains

We had one more meetup with Amber and that was to record a podcast with her at our home office/studio. By now we were feeling like we knew a lot more about who she is, and we were excited to chat further. When Amber arrived at our house she quickly explained that her hair was full of milk from milking one of her cows earlier that day and the bucket had  dropped, splashing milk over her face and hair – and she didn’t have time to wash it. We laughed. Murphy’s law when you’re busy! We told her her ponytail looked just fine. The podcast itself was more like a girlfriend’s chat and the interview lasted two full hours. Amber was genuine and candid, and we can truly see and understand why fans the world over simply love her and the messages she puts out into the world. We finished off eating a charcuterie that Erin made – and again, it hit the spot!!

Working with Amber was an easy, streamlined experience. Both her and Katie communicated with us with timeliness and clarity. Amber is a focused professional in all that she does, while being gracious, kind, and welcoming. If you want all the deets about her life, purchase the summer 2024 issue of Trailblazher magazine AND listen to the two-part podcast series with her as well. You’ll be inspired and love her as we do!  

Photography by Chelsie Frere of Lumy + Co Photography


3 women pose for a selfie

June 11, 2024

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