City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Meet The A-Team

Amy Bailey Is making waves in Bastrop after more than two decades in London

Article by Sarah Ivens and Jennifer Birn

Photography by Jenna McElroy

Originally published in East Austin Lifestyle

Texas native Amy Bailey is a ballerina turned actress who you may recognize as Queen Kwenthrith from Vikings, or from The Chosen, Doctor Who or Dominion. She spent over two decades living in London before moving back to her native Texas during the pandemic to be closer to her parents. Today Amy lives in Bastrop with her husband Anthony, who she met while they were both dancers in New York, and their three British-born children, 7-year-old twins Allega and Allister and 3-year-old Archer. We spent a day with the Bailey family exploring some of their favorite places in Bastrop, like Neighbor’s Kitchen and Yard, Tough Cookie Bakery (where their kids have been seen practicing piano after school) and the Painted Porch Bookshop.

Anthony shared that they chose to keep Amy’s maiden name of Bailey as the family’s surname, in part because "Allegra Bailey sounded better than Allegra Gordon.” Along the way we talked about what it was like growing up in a small town in Texas before leaving for New York City and then relocating to London, now being in Bastrop, where she plays an active role in lobbying for better tax breaks for the film industry and more.


Where in Texas did you grow up and what are some moments from your childhood that are uniquely Texas?

In 1860, my ancestors moved to the coastal town of Rockport. The cemetery there is full of Baileys and I’m a 4th generation Mexican immigrant to Corpus Christi on my mom’s side. There’s a lot of history down on the coast for my family. Growing up in Rockport was truly magical. The most gorgeous trees in the world are there, giant wind-swept live oaks. I had an idyllic childhood: life was sweet and slow, full of nature and simplicity.

You left Texas in your teens to study dance in New York, and then London – did you have culture shock?

I mean, from having this amazing childhood, I quickly morphed into a disgruntled teen who thought Texas was the armpit of the world. By 16 I left to dance in New York City at Joffery Ballet School and by 18 I moved to London permanently. I was pursuing a career in classical ballet so South Texas became persona non grata. It wasn’t until I grew up a bit and looked back at my home state that I began to appreciate it all over again. Plus, everywhere I went, from Europe to Australia to South America, people got curious and wide-eyed when I said where I was from. Texas has a certain charm and mystery about it that separates it from the rest of America.

You returned from London with your own children after over two decades. What have you loved introducing them to in Texas?

After over 20 years in London, where I met my husband and we raised our three kids, we decided to come back to Texas to be near my parents. We arrived summer of 2021 and my British/Canadian husband, who had only visited Texas at Christmas with me, had to come to grips with the beast that is summer heat. My poor British kids, they were just wilting. Plus, they had never dealt with the stinging critters we have here. Two years in, I think they finally understand, no you cannot just lay down in the grass. On the flip side, we have loved slowing down and learning to grow our own food. My kids had only lived right in the middle of London, NYC and LA until we moved back. Now we have a big backyard and trails down to the river. They’re no longer city kids, they’re dusty-footed and dirt-streaked, with rocks and bugs in their pockets. It’s wonderful.

You’re a dual UK-US citizen married to a Canadian, what has it taught you?

I’ll always be grateful to my folks for letting me fly the nest and see the world. I’d like to think being exposed to a huge variety of cultures, languages, and traditions gave me an open mind and heart. We’ve lived in four countries and traveled to over 70. People are far more similar than different; we love our families, we want to be safe, healthy, and free. Loud extremists get the most coverage, which breeds fear. But my experience has been that when you mix with the average person in any given culture, the common thread of kindness and humanity is there.

What do you look for when choosing an acting role?


I always want to play the character that is a bit odd, deeply flawed, not necessarily liked by the audience. Playing the hero is easy…it’s the villains I find much more interesting. Those roles feel rare because not a lot of female characters are written as weird or unattractive. I’d hope to be described as a “character actress” and I don’t mind not looking cute.

You’ve immersed yourself in Bastrop’s community and the film industry, can you share some exciting things happening?

Have you ever heard of a ley line? I joke that Bastrop must be on one because I can’t quite understand the mystical vortex of growth this tiny town is about to experience. Musk has brought Space X and Boring Co, an $8M medical cannabis facility headquartered here and we have major hotel chains sniffing around. I’m most excited about the film studios though. We have Chiz and Maria out at Spark River Studios who have big development plans and Alton Butler is breaking ground on a 546-acre facility five minutes from my house! How fortuitous is that? Impact DataSource expects the full studio to generate $177.8 million a year, support 1,443 permanent jobs and generate $64.3 million in household earnings in the decade.


You’ve gone to the Capitol yourself to lobby Texas State legislators to give better tax breaks for the Texas film industry.

It’s been a fascinating experience. I want to write a series about the lobbying world. We’ve been working with legislators to show them a broader view of our industry. For better or worse, TV and Film is overwhelmingly labeled as “left” and “liberal”. Texas is a Conservative state, so you can fill in the gaps there. But most of us in this industry are far less concerned with politics than we are with feeding our families and doing creative work. I’ve worked on a huge show about pagans (Vikings), and a huge show about Jesus (The Chosen) - there is room for all of us. Beyond that, we are educating people on the enormous economic impact it will have on Texans. Our industry is essentially a blue collar one; our productions need local carpenters, drivers, electricians, hairdressers, caterers - the list goes on. No other industry outsources in such a broad way. My team is working incredibly hard to get big budget productions to Texas and have them stay. We want the long-term, well-paid jobs that other states like Georgia have attracted through their incentive program.

What do you hope for over the next ten years, personally…

There are so many iterations of dreams and goals in the various journals I’ve kept over the years. As I get older, I understand the simplicity of ‘I just want to be happy.’ Life seems to be getting weirder politically, economically…I hope over the next ten years I can be as healthy and happy as possible, and in that, spread it to as many people as possible. Start with that premise, and all the juicy details of life fall into place, right? I hope I can make meaningful entertainment for people, I hope I can encourage empathetic debate, and I hope I can be part of shows that inspire, provoke, and enrich. I really hope in ten years my husband and kids are proud of me and what I’ve achieved for our family.

And professionally?


Having kids and making my family a priority hasn’t always aligned with a busy acting career; I’ve had to say no when a project meant too much time away. But I plan to work forever so there’s no rush…I’ll take all the old lady roles when I get there!


Quick fire answers


Favorite Quote?

My dad always adds “Be of Good Cheer” when he says goodbye to people. It’s like a mini-blessing. I also love the Four Agreements: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.

Three best things to do in Austin?

Barton Springs, bat caves and performances at Paramount Theatre.

Three best things about Texas?


The kind people, the wide-open spaces, and the beautiful thunderstorms.

A perfect Bastrop weekend is…

Morning coffee at Tough Cookie, hiking trails in Bastrop State Park, afternoon swims in the river, pizza and beer as the sun goes down at Neighbor’s Kitchen.