Born on May 25th, 1984 in Portland, Maine, Spencer was actually meant to be a Sarah. But at the last minute, her parents gave her the name they'd previously chosen for a boy. It was unique, they said, and they wanted their daughter to stand out. So stand out she did, but perhaps not necessarily in the negative way that her grandma predicted. Mainly, little Spencer was just a really big, shameless ham that had an affinity for dress-up, make-believe, and hogging the spotlight from her siblings in home movies and family photos.
As Spencer made her way through adolescence, her parents enrolled her in several extracurricular activities to find that one thing she was good at, or more importantly, passionate about, aside from being a pest. For her older brother, the star of his little league team and eventual high school jock extraordinaire, it was sports. Their younger sister, on the other hand, was a math whiz and overall academically brilliant. Meanwhile, Spencer didn't particularly excel at anything. One softball team, one soccer team, and a handful of piano and ballet lessons later, her parents finally stuck her in acting classes at 10 years old, and they essentially took over her life.
It probably would've been easy to blame Spencer's painfully average grades and general lack of motivation for nearly everything school-related on her newfound thesp life. But such an assumption didn't address the fact that she was never a straight A student to begin with, or that she was actually quite bright when it came to subjects she enjoyed She was at the top of her academic game when it came to English and most any assignments that involved storytelling. She even tried hard when it came to the art class, despite the fact that drawing outside of stick figures was so not her forte. It was clear that she thrived in the arts, so when high school came around, her parents graciously opted out of sending her to somewhere traditional. Instead, Spencer packed her bags for nearby Massachusetts, where she attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts.
Living away from home starting at just 14 was bizarre at first, but all things considered, it wasn't so bad. The boarding school was just two hours from home, which made visiting easy enough. But more importantly, being a student there meant that Spencer could pour all of herself into her selected discipline of theater, as well as be surrounded by similarly arts-minded peers. That was motivation enough to actually try when it came to her non-arts academic classes, and she managed to graduate in 2002 with pretty stellar grades. With high school under her belt, her next step was college, and there was only one possibility for her in mind: Los Angeles.
Having enjoyed the experience of attending an arts high school, Spencer jumped at the chance to study an arts college, so CalArts it was. While there, she occasionally went on auditions outside of school productions. She wasn't particularly after stardom; rather, she just wanted to get her hands on as much acting experience as she could. As a complete Hollywood newbie, landing roles in anything proved tough. Casting directors didn't particularly want to bite — but someone else did. In the summer of 2003, Spencer received a call from a fellow film-minded peer she'd met through mutual friends a couple of years prior. He told her about a documentary he'd be making in Cuba, and soon after, Spencer formally took a leave of absence from school to help out with the film. She'd only been gone for six months and missed just one semester of school, but she felt more motivated than ever upon return. Eventually, she landed her first TV gig, a guest role on The O.C. While her role was small, the project itself was huge and propelled her into committing full stop to a career on screen.
Following her first guest stint and her graduation in the fall of 2006, Spencer continued to head to auditions. Landing jobs was much easier said than done, though, which meant that she had to fill her time with other things. She waited tables for a couple of years after finishing school, she took improv classes to continue perfecting her craft, and she brainstormed ideas that she and her filmmaker friends could create themselves. Through the years, she booked several guest and recurring roles on television and a few roles in small movies. She even managed to somehow get two of her films into Sundance, which put her in the indie darling spotlight. Still, she remained a relative unknown. The fact that she hadn't yet reached her big break didn't exactly bother or deter her, so she kept on going.
Then, in 2012, Spencer finally made it. Well, sort of. Not really. But she landed the lead role in a new ABC comedy, Don't Trust the B--- in Apartment 23, and she was still riding high on a little bit of recognition from Another Earth and Sound of My Voice. She was getting attention, she loved her job, and things were generally starting look up on the stardom front — until the show got cancelled after just two seasons (or one and a half, depending on who you ask). In just the course of two years, she'd gotten a little glimpse of success and promptly lost out on it.
While some people might have been discouraged, Spencer wasn't one of them. It was back to a cycle of endless auditions and only booking TV guest roles and parts in movies that nobody's ever even seen, but that didn't stop her. She knew what she was good at, and she was sticking to it. Her determination paid off, and now she's the star of FX's You're the Worst. So maybe she hasn't quite made it as far as Hollywood standards, considering the show is still little and the audience is equally small, but having a steady job is okay in her book.
Plus, her grandma likes to namedrop her sometimes. Destined for greatness or not, Spencer's life isn't so bad.
• Is very close with her siblings and often visits them (or vice versa) despite the fact that the three of them all live miles apart in different cities.
• Has no tattoos, but she and her siblings have seriously considered getting meaningful matching ones for some time now. They haven't quite decided on a design yet due to horrible indecision.
• Has a large collection of notebooks with different designs and pens in all different types and colors. She tries her best to actually put most of them to use by filling at least one page of one notebook a day.
• Finds visual art fascinating and sometimes draws and paints for fun. She doesn't consider herself particularly talented in that area at all but has retained many tips and tricks from her more visual art-minded friends from high school and college.
• Loves social media and is active on several platforms, namely Twitter and Instagram. She also has a Tumblr blog that she posts short stories and other musings on semi-regularly. Occasionally she reblogs random things she likes, but she tends to save that for a secret account whose name she's never publicly shared. On Facebook, which she mainly uses to keep in touch with family, she uses the name "Sencer Speale" and has her account on tight lockdown.
• 100% awful at serious relationships, despite eventually wanting to settle down and start a family some day.