HOLR chats with former Miss USA Hawaii, Samantha Neyland Trumbo, who stars in BET’s Christmas Rescue!

Meet Samantha Neyland Trumbo, who stars in BET’s Christmas Rescue this holiday season, which premieres tomorrow December 14. This classic holiday rom-com follows a man who abducts the love of his life- Samantha Neyland Trumbo- from her holiday-themed wedding in a desperate last attempt to win her back.

Today, HOLR is sitting down with Samantha to discuss everything- from her transition from model to actor to her latest projects to date to her reign as Miss Hawaii USA and more. Keep reading to learn all about the star and what’s next!

Talk to us about your transition from print and runway model to actor. What was that like?

It was a natural transition in the sense that I had made so many connections in the modeling world that transitioned over into the acting world. It helped me to start working with the right people immediately upon entering into acting. However, at the same time, it was tough! When I first started acting, I would get the note often, that I was portraying a character too polished rather than portraying a relatable, messy real-life person. After years of drilling a very precise runway walk into my body, plus having competed in pageants, polished performances were something I previously strived for that I had to get comfortable leaving behind.

Tell us all about some of the feature films and hit shows you have starred in, to date.

A couple of years ago I got to act alongside Eugenio Derbez in Hulu’s “The Valet”. I played a supermodel which was so fun and a full circle moment, having started my career as a model. My character also drove a red Ferrari and I just knew my nine-year-old self would’ve loved to know that she would grow up and get to spend a whole day in a red Ferrari, let alone get paid for it.

Samantha Neyland Trumbo

Image Credit: JSquared Photography

During your reign as Miss Hawaii USA, how did you strive to advocate for effective communication by amplifying youth voices and starting a conversation around racial disparity?

I was crowned Miss Hawaii USA in 2020 which means my reign started out great! I founded a program called Time to Talk Hawaii—where I traveled to different teen groups across the island, teaching workshops on public speaking, goal setting, etc.

Then, super suddenly, the world changed. Covid hit and then racial disparity in America took international headlines. I wanted to make a difference that would have a concrete impact so I got involved in local government. I partnered with the Honolulu City Council to establish the first-ever Honolulu City Youth Commission—giving a group of 12 teens the opportunity to use their voices to impact local city policies and programs.

I simultaneously co-founded Hawaii for Juneteenth with my husband, actor Ty Trumbo. We successfully raised awareness about racial disparity across the state and passed a law establishing Juneteenth as a State Holiday.

Additionally, as the first African American woman to represent Hawaii on the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA stages, can you talk to us about the importance of anti-racism education?

Education is the most powerful tool we have as a society. The more accessible quality education is, the more we are able to understand and relate to one another. When I was Miss Hawaii USA, I really felt it was my responsibility as the first Black titleholder to be part of helping people understand what anti-racism actually is. With some of my Miss USA sisters, I hosted an Anti-Racism Book Club. Giving people all over the country an opportunity to come together, learn, and ask questions all without the fear of being judged was healing and cathartic for everyone.

You are starring in BET’s Christmas Rescue this holiday season. What can you tell us about your role and what viewers can expect when tuning in?

Christmas Rescue is the most fun, heart-warming Christmas movie to watch this season! My character, Chelsea Alexander, is getting married to the wealthy, charming, dashing Charles Duncan when her childhood best friend and ex-love-of-her-life Keith Benjamin kidnaps her from the wedding and begs for 24 hours to prove that she should be marrying him instead of Charles.

It’s hilarious and filled with so much love between the two love interests, the best friends, even the parents. This movie is just bursting at the seams with love. You can expect to laugh, cry, and smile all in that order!

Samantha Neyland Trumbo

Image Credit: JSquared Photography

You are now a proud member of the National Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant Organization. What does this mean to you?

I love this organization because they really stress the importance of the educational opportunity they are providing for young women and they find a way to make it fun and entertaining. When I was in high school, I always thought History was the most boring subject but then Hamilton came out! And everyone realized that history can be fun even when it’s regarding sensitive subjects. National Miss Juneteenth is like the Hamilton of pageants. It’s brimming with history, it’s fun for everyone involved, and it’s outrageously entertaining to watch.

What’s next for you?

My next film, “Marshmallow” is a horror syfy directed by Daniel del Purgatorio. So…only a slight change from the fun Christmas RomCom you’re about to see! It was a jump to do such drastically different films back to back this year but I’m so obsessed with the cast for this movie and can’t wait for everyone to uncover the mystery that unfolds in this summertime camp movie!

Published by HOLR Magazine.