Love is in the air for Riley Dandy.
The actress, who graduated from Yucaipa High School in 2011, is recently engaged and starring in a new rom-com that arrives on Netflix on Thursday, August 25.
“The trailer is really fun,” Dendy said. “This is the first feature film I’ve ever been in as a lead.”
Dandy, who began performing as a child at the former Noble Hearts Theater in Yucaipa, stars in “That’s Amor” with Isaac Gonzalez Rossi.
She plays Sofia, whose job and relationship fall apart on the same day – her 30thth birthday. With her mother’s help, she starts over and “meets a brave Spanish chef who just might be her missing ingredient,” the Netflix trailer says.
“I loved the script because the main character was literally me,” Dendy said of what she likes most about That’s Amor.
“Most of the time when I read a script, I’m excited to find a version of myself in that character,” she said. “Whereas Sophia, the main character of ‘This Is Love,’ as I was reading it, almost everything she says is something I would say.”
“She’s very clumsy and has a dry sense of humor,” she said, mocking herself. “That’s me to a T.”
Dandy, who has appeared in several films and numerous commercials, landed the role of Sofia after passing up several roles with the production company behind That’s Amor.
“I would approach the projects they were working on and then they would say, ‘Oh no, we’ll go with someone else.’ I was a little discouraged,” she said. “Then they contacted me and asked me to audition for this movie, which is ‘This Is Love.’ I thought I probably wouldn’t get it, but… it gave me something to do during quarantine.”
She is wrong. All important calls have arrived.
“The producer called and said, ‘Hey, you’re our Sophia. Congratulations,” Dandy said. “That was fun. It was just a lot of work built up to this point, which felt really good after not working for a while.”
“That’s Amor” is just the beginning of Dandy’s recent work. She also has three other projects slated for release this year. The indie film Rooted, a horror film currently making the film festival circuit, another horror film set to hit theaters in December, and an HBO Max Christmas film also released in December.
“It’s weird, I worked the most in my life during the pandemic,” said Dendy, who appeared in “Christmas in California: City Lights,” also on Netflix in 2021, the 2018 film “City of Gold’ and Snapchat’s 2018 original series ‘Kappa Crypto’.
“It’s been a really exciting year,” she said. “With … ‘This Is Love’ it’s kind of the first carpet rolled out for the rest of the year.”
Maybe the year will even include a wedding. Dandy recently got engaged to co-star Denise Akdeniz of HBO Max’s The Stewardess. She says no date has been set so who knows.
Whatever happens the rest of the year, Dandy hopes “That’s Amor” gets a lot of views on Netflix. And she hopes she can count on hometown support, just like she’s gotten for her other projects.
“Honestly, the reaction in Yucaipa was a little overwhelming,” she said of her latest film, A California Christmas: City Lights. “Friends, teachers and hometown colleagues have been posting and showing their support and excitement about it.”
She recently posted the trailer of “That’s Amor” on her Instagram profile and it got about 24,000 views in just a day.
“I think the majority of the comments are from people from Yucaipa, which is really sweet,” Dendy said.
If the ratings for “That’s Amor” are strong, Dandy hopes it can turn into something more.
“Hopefully we can get everyone to watch it because if it does well then we might do a sequel,” she said.
Dandy is also considering a Zoom viewing party or live Q&A on Instagram following the release of “That’s Amor.” She will report details if this happens.
For now though, the focus is on “That’s Amor” and getting everyone to watch it.
“I really recommend watching with a sangria in hand — and some food,” she said, laughing.