Title: Amy Gardner - A Character Study
Author: Classic She
Fandom: West Wing
Character: Amy Gardner
Legalities: Not mine, they just tell me things and I scribble it down.
Summary: A character study I wrote ages ago for Amy for Beyond the Oval, a RPG I was participating in. I found it on my flashdrive and thought it works as a stand alone.
Part 1: The Basics
1. What is your full name?
Amelia Stillwell Gardner; however, I haven't used my middle name since I've reached the age of majority.
2. Where and when were you born?
Boston, Massachusetts, February 27, 1962, 8:20 a.m., during a snowstorm or so I am told.
3. Who are/were your parents? (Know their names, occupations, personalities, etc.)
My father is Harlan Curry Gardner, IV; my mother is Virgina Overton Gardner (nee Stillwell). My father is Chairman of the Board of his corporation; my mother is a socialite. She never worked a day in her life. I haven't seen my parents since the day I graduated from High School, although I am sure they have not changed one bit, in personalities or attitudes.
4. Do you have any siblings? What are/were they like?
I have a younger sister, Mary Stillwell Gardner Furth. We are opposites, she takes after my mother in many ways. She gave up her career in Fashion Design to stay home with her sons, Richard Jr. and Robert, she is happily married to Richard. We were very close as small children, but then the rift in my family cut us apart. I know I hurt her deeply when I refused to be a part of her wedding. However, we kissed and made up after Richard was born; I adore my nephews. I just wish she would stop trying to be the peacemaker in the family; I will never return to the fold.
5. Where do you live now, and with whom?
I live in Georgetown with my Henry (see my icon for us lazin together isn't he cute?).
6. What is your occupation?
I am Chief of Staff for the First Lady. I love my job. It was a bit rough at first I was sort of fired by the President so I resigned, then I was rehired by the First Lady as soon as she found out but now that my duties and boundaries have been established, I have settled in well and do an excellent job for Abbey.
7. Write a full physical description of yourself. You might want to consider factors such as: height, weight, race, hair and eye color, style of dress, and any tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks.
Hm, I work out a lot, love to ride my bike, so I'm pretty fit. And I'm definitely attractive. I have heard whispers by the water cooler gossips that I need to tone down my sexuality at work that my clothing is inappropriate, but hey if you got it, flaunt it. I'm not much of a clotheshound, but my sister, the former fashion designer, loves to shop one of her missions in life is to ensure I look decent. It makes her happy so I let her; the added benefit is that I don't have to shop.
8. To which social class do you belong?
Upper class, dripping blue blood all over the trust funds. Unfortunately, much to my Mother's chagrin, my ancestors did not have the foresight to hop on the Mayflower, so we aren't quite the crem de la crem.
9. Do you have any allergies, diseases, or other physical weaknesses?
I am very healthy.
10. Are you right or left handed?
11. What does your voice sound like?
Well, I have been told it is annoying as I am a dentiloquist. I think I am rather mellifluous. But it doesn't really matter, just so that I can get my point across.
12. What words and/or phrases do you use very frequently?
I say "Yeah" a lot, more than I should. I have been trying to say "yes" but "Yeah" just keeps slipping out. I call Josh "Special J", only because I know it really bugs the shit out of him, though I won't reveal the story behind that special name.
13. What do you have in your pockets?
I have my keys, a note to myself to buy dog food and beer, and a paperclip.
14. Do you have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?
See No. 11. And many people think I come on too strong and don't back off when I should. And I love to sing and dance, sometimes I find myself be bopping around my office a definite no no in the prim and proper White House.
Part 2: Growing Up
15. How would you describe your childhood in general?
I was pretty happy little girl. People won't believe this but my friends and I played with our Barbies and played dress up and make believe. And I love to cook, I think that's because when Mary and I would get home from school, we would sit in the kitchen with Mildred and do our homework. Mildred, our housekeeper, would keep an eye on us as she made dinner and I loved to help her. She taught both of us how to cook and keep a house. She taught Mary how to sew, but I never had the patience to do that. I don't remember my parents being home much or doing much with Mary or I, they were always at the Club or out and about socializing. I didn't mind, that meant Mildred would be with us during the days, and Abbey would come over and watch us at night.
16. What is your earliest memory?
I remember when my parents brought Mary home, I was four. I remember being so excited about getting a sister, and being so disappointed when they brought home a little baby swaddled in a blanket. I think I had been expecting someone my size, to play with.
17. How much schooling have you had?
St. Elizabeth's Grade School; Saint Thomas More High School my Freshman and Sophomore years; then I spent my junior year at Mother of Good Counsel's Home and School for Unwed Mothers in Milwaukee and finished my Senior Year at Woodlands Academy in Chicago; then on to Brown University and Yale Law School.
18. Did you enjoy school?
Generally, yes. High School was tough; I was in a crisis mode, studying was a means of escape. I went to three different schools, so I never really made any friends at any of them; and once I was out, I never looked back.
19. Where did you learn most of your skills and other abilities?
Father forced me to learn self preservation skills, that sanctimonious bastard. Mother taught me social skills and the fine art of dissembling. Their desire for conformity with the norms of society taught me family isn't as important as one's image to society. Their devotion to a male centric Church taught me blind obedience to authority instead of using one's own inherent common sense. They taught me how evil can reside in anyone and how circumstances can cause people to turn on one another. Mildred taught me the domestic arts. Abbey taught me grace under pressure. The nuns at Mother of Good Counsel taught me altruism. My sister Mary taught me how to love.
20. While growing up, did you have any role models? If so, describe them.
Abbey Bartlet, I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.
21. While growing up, how did you get along with the other members of your family?
My sister and I always got along well. My Father and Mother were not much a part of our lives. Then they cut me completely out of the family.
22. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher.
23. As a child, what were your favorite activities?
I loved to play make believe, to read, to play outside with my friends.
24. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display?
I was very loving and trusting, although I did have a temper, even back then.
25. As a child, were you popular? Who were your friends, and what were they like?
I was popular in school as I tended to be a leader, not a follower. I no longer see any of my friends from back then, but we were all alike. Good little Catholic schoolgirls.
26. When and with whom was your first kiss?
David Thompson, 8th grade dance, snuck outside and necked.
27. Are you a virgin? If not, when and with whom did you lose your virginity?
No, I'm not. I lost my virginity at 16, not by choice. I didn't have consensual sex till I met Chris in law school. I consider that to be when I gave away my virginity. I know people think I'm a slut but they'd be surprised; I don't sleep around. Much. Not like some people around here.
Part 3: Past Influences
29. What do you consider the most important event of your life so far?
The Incident it changed my life and the lives of my family forever.
30. Who has had the most influence on you?
Someone I've only seen once in my life, who I held for five minutes before I gave her away. She drives my life. I want to make the world safe for her and her children.
31. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Turning lemons into lemonade. Working to ensure the world is safer for women.
32. What is your greatest regret?
Choosing not to keep my children.
33. What is the most evil thing you have ever done?
Aborting my second child. I'm all for choice and I believe it is right to have control over one's body and reproductive system. But still, deep down inside, that fucking Catholic guilt is gurgling away. The second most evil thing? Having to admit to the father of that child what I had done, when he confronted me. I didn't know that he knew I was pregnant. I never meant to hurt him. I thought if he didn't know, it wouldn't have mattered.
34. Do you have a criminal record of any kind?
35. When was the time you were the most frightened?
The Incident; the rape, keeping quite about it, discovering I was pregnant, telling my parents, their reaction, giving birth.
36. What is the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to you?
Turning to Josh after I resigned, hoping he would comfort me. He looked me in the eye, knowing full well what had happened, then he turned away from me, to go to his meeting. I was so embarrassed that I had turned to a man for comfort. That look Donna gave me as I stood in the hallway, I could tell she felt sorry for me. God, I should have known better than to turn to him.
37. If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be, and why?
I would have never let him persuade me to go sailing alone with him. I had a feeling something was wrong. I was right.
38. What is your best memory?
The feelings I had after I gave birth and held my daughter.
39. What is your worst memory?
When my parents called me a slut and a whore; they didn't believe the truth about the incident. Then they sent me away, they didn't want a scandal in the family. They wouldn't get sign for an abortion, it isn't allowed by their fucking church yet they sent me away and made me give up my daughter. And now they wonder why I won't want anything to do with my family. Ironic isn't it?
Part 4: Beliefs And Opinions
40. Are you basically optimistic or pessimistic?
Optimistic I think I can effect change for women via the political process.
41. What is your greatest fear?
That I will be ineffective in what I strive for. That a Republican administration will wipe away years of effort.
42. What are your religious views?
I am a cradle Roman Catholic, duly baptized and confirmed. I am now an apostate atheist.
43. What are your political views?
Snort I think everyone knows that.
44. What are your views on sex?
My views on sex? Um. Tis a good thing, when done between consenting participants.
45. Are you able to kill? Under what circumstances do you find killing to be acceptable or unacceptable?
I have. I am not the person to judge others nor answer this question.
46. In your opinion, what is the most evil thing any human being could do?
Take away the innocence and wonderment of life.
47. Do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?
48. What do you believe makes a successful life?
Having a goal and pursuing it whatever that might be.
49. How honest are you about your thoughts and feelings (i.e. do you hide your true self from others, and in what way)?
I am honest in what I reveal to others, but I don't reveal all that I am. I am a much deeper person than the persona I project. But I like to keep it that way, people don't like me and that keeps them away from me.
50. Do you have any biases or prejudices?
Yes, in my heart of hearts, I fear men. I have worked my whole life to overcome this.
51. Is there anything you absolutely refuse to do under any circumstances? Why do you refuse to do it?
Be untrue to myself I think that is why I get fired so much. I have this internal morale gauge that I run my life by, and I won't step over the line for anything or anyone.
52. Who or what, if anything, would you die for (or otherwise go to extremes for)?
My sister and my nephews. I guess I'm a selfish person, I wouldn't die for a thing.
Part 5: Relationships With Others
53. In general, how do you treat others (politely, rudely, by keeping them at a distance, etc.)?
I try to be polite. I succeed in most cases, although a few people just irrate the shit out of me, one in particular just gets my goat everytime I see him as he is just rude and obnoxious to me and I'm afraid I respond by being just downright nasty. Well, I should say as nasty as he can be.
54. Who is the most important person in your life, and why?
Myself, I am a constituency of one. Because no one cares for me except for myself.
55. Who is the person you respect the most, and why?
Abbey. She is my mentor and role model and friend, all wrapped up into one amazing person.
56. Who are your friends? Do you have a best friend? Describe these people.
I have many acquaintences, not so many friends. I tend to hold too much back within myself to really be a friend to anyone. I guess I'm afraid to reveal a lot, to make myself vulnerable.
57. Do you have a spouse or significant other? If so, describe this person.
No, I'll never let anyone get that close to me. I'm seeing, well someone. It's on the qt. But it's not that big of a deal, just sex and gossip. I don't ever want to get married.
58. Have you ever been in love? If so, describe what happened.
No. Nor shall I.
I thought I was safe with confirmed bachelors, but Josh showed me my error in that way of thinking. Funny, we both fell in and out of love with each other, just not concurrently. Now I date guys who are impossible to marry.
59. What do you look for in a potential lover?
What he (or she) can do for me. I use people and I know it. And I make sure they know it before we get involved. I kind of fucked that up when I got involved with Josh the second time around but he blind sided me. I didn't realize he was ready to settle down; I would have never gone out with him had I known that. But he seems happy with Donna, so I'm happy for him.
60. How close are you to your family?
I don't speak with any of them, other than my sister.
61. Have you started your own family? If so, describe them. If not, do you want to? Why or why not?
No. Nor shall I. I wonder sometimes though, on my daughter's birthday, where she is, what she is like. She's 26 now, that is, if she is still alive.
62. Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help?
My sister. If she were unwilling or unable to help me, I would turn to Abbey.
63. Do you trust anyone to protect you? Who, and why?
Abbey. She has done it before, she would do it again in a heartbeat. I would do everything I possibly could to protect her.
64. If you died or went missing, who would miss you?
My sister, my brother in law, my nephews. Abbey definitely, Jed perhaps. That's about it.
65. Who is the person you despise the most, and why?
I shan't name names, but he knows who he is. And I despise my parents for not believing in me.
66. Do you tend to argue with people, or avoid conflict?
I argue all the time, cause I know I'm right.
67. Do you tend to take on leadership roles in social situations?
Well, yeah, duh, I'm the Chief of Staff I help Abbey run the social side of the administration, while advancing her positions on issues. And, I hate to admit this in public, but I LOVE helping arrange the parties and such.
68. Do you like interacting with large groups of people? Why or why not?
Yes, I guess I'm just used to asking people for money and votes.
69. Do you care what others think of you?
Well, yes, I think everyone cares. I have a thick skin though, so it doesn't bother me much that they don't particularly like me.
Part 6: Likes And Dislikes
70. What is/are your favorite hobbies and pastimes?
I love to cook. I adore Martha Stewart. Funny, I envy my sister her life, cause I would love to have the time to practice the art of fine homemaking. No one would ever guess that of me, although I think Josh would suspect if he had ever looked around my place and put two and two together. But Mr. Oblivious never noticed.
71. What is your most treasured possession?
72. What is your favorite color?
73. What is your favorite food?
Shrimp. Shrimp in any way, shape or form. Have you ever seen the shrimp at the White House? Those are huge mother fuckas though I guess they really are prawns. I adore prawns.
74. What, if anything, do you like to read?
I don't have time too read much. But I do have to confess, I am addicted to Harlequin Super Romances; the one's where the poor innocent girl gets knocked up and has her baby, then some loving, caring good looking hunk of a man comes along and falls in love with her and adores her child and the live happily ever after, regardless of the obstacles the author invents to keep them apart. It's all a bunch of bunk, but I love to read them.
75. What is your idea of good entertainment (consider music, movies, art, etc.)?
Music, I like the Stones, Tori Amos, Dave Matthews, Jeff Buckley, Steely Dan, and Van Morrison, any of kind of jazz, classical. I love to dance, I like the ballet. I don't watch many movies or much tv. I don't have time to read, but I think I covered that above.
76. Do you smoke, drink, or use drugs? If so, why? Do you want to quit?
No, Yes, No. I drink socially. I have enough problems in my life to bother with an addiction.
77. How do you spend a typical Saturday night?
I'm usually out on a date, at some sort of a fund raiser or political party.
78. What makes you laugh?
Men, they are so immature.
79. What, if anything, shocks or offends you?
Not much, I've pretty much seen it all.
80. What would you do if you had insomnia and had to find something to do to amuse yourself?
I usually just get up and do some work, Lord knows we will never catch up and our time in office is limited.
81. How do you deal with stress?
I work out at my gym. If I can't get to the gym, I pace. If I'm really stressed out, I find Josh and needle him. It's amusing to torture him.
82. Are you spontaneous, or do you always need to have a plan?
I usually have a plan. I'm just not seriously committed to one, I'm always open to suggestions.
83. What are your pet peeves?
Part 7: Self Images And Etc.
84. Describe the routine of a normal day for you. How do you feel when this routine is disrupted?
Well, there is no such thing as a normal day in my life, but I get up at 5, walk Henry, go to my gym and work out. I stop for coffee and some pastry on my way to work, getting there around 7 and then I just work all day till it's time to call it quits, usually 10 or 11. Then I head home, walk Henry and crawl into bed. I have a dogwalker, everyone always asks me what I do with Henry during the day or when I have to travel. My sister watches him when I travel. My routine is always disrupted, so I deal with it.
86. What is your greatest weakness?
I am a constituency of one I am so used to having to take care of myself, I never think of others. But I am working on that.
87. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd like to have more empathy for others. I am trying to work on that. Really.
88. Are you generally introverted or extroverted?
Extroverted, I think you have to be in order to be in politics.
89. Are you generally organized or messy?
I'm well organized. I compartmentalize my life, keeping walls between the various areas.
90. Name three things you consider yourself to be very good at, and three things you consider yourself to be very bad at.
Very good at: Fund Raising political scheming my ability to get fired from various jobs and somehow manage to get an even better one (I'm very good at that)
Very bad at: Intimacy relationships friendships
91. Do you like yourself?
93. What goal do you most want to accomplish in your lifetime?
Advocating for women ensuring no woman has to endure what I did.
94. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don't know. I really need to start thinking ahead; yet my days are so consumed by my work, I don't have time to think about where to go after this administration.
95. If you could choose, how would you want to die?
Never really thought about it. Um, painlessly? Is that possible?
96. If you knew you were going to die in 24 hours, name three things you would do in the time you had left.
Have a heart to heart with my sister and tell her I love her.
Tell my nephews I love them and tell them to treat women the way their Dad treats their Mom.
Tell Abbey I love her, and thank her for saving my sanity all those years ago.
97. What is the one thing for which you would most like to be remembered after your death?
My advocacy for women.
98. What three words best describe your personality?
Irrepressible, resilient, tenacious
99. What three words would others probably use to describe you?
A witch, a bitch, and, um, a bitchy witch
100. If you could, what advice would you, the character, give to your author?
I've always been presented as a one dimensional stereotypical character, a foil to the perfectionism that Donna represents in Josh's life. I was never shown to have a personal life, to interact with others, to be anyone besides Josh's girlfriend, ex girlfriend, girlfriend. Make me come alive, show me as a multi faceted, interesting person, who doesn't exist only to play off a man.