VIBE Vixen: What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Ashley: Vibrant; because I have a really bright energy. I enter a room and you’re going to know that I’m there. I have a presence about me. I feel like I’m able to adapt well in many situations. Thoughtful, because I’m always considering others. I’m always trying to figure out what I can do for someone else…in this business, you can’t win by yourself. I’m always asking myself, “What is the bigger picture?”
What convinced you to pursue acting?
I was 4-years-old. I was going to a Montessori school and I auditioned for a play: “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” I actually got casted as one of the Trolls, which was like a big deal because it was a leading role. I came home after school and I just started cry to my parents. My dad kept asking what was wrong, so I told him about the troll role. My dad was excited and said that it was a good thing. He was confused as to why I was crying. I told him that the trolls are mean and I didn’t want to play a mean character.
My dad was very disappointed; as he thought it was such a meaty role, but he told me it was okay. I’ve always been someone who looked at how I would be affected by playing a certain role. Does it sit well with me? Does it feel like something that is working organically? I knew I wanted to be an actor at that age. I loved seeing my parents smile and people laugh in the audience. I was really blown away at how people could be affected by my performance.
Describe your experience in ‘Dear White People.’
It was the best experience ever. For it to be my first feature was great because all the people that I worked with are like my family. To work in a film that is truly saying something and has a message that needs to be told is just a really awesome thing. I felt like we were all a part of this amazing film that has now taken Sundance by the storm and will continue to do great things.
I am very humbled and grateful for the entire experience. From the cast to the producers, we all really believe in each other and I think that really shines through. We’re all friends; we talk all the time, text, hang out, email. It’s an experience that I will never ever forget and forever be grateful for. It feels amazing to know that we are making an indelible mark on the world with a film that is fueled with passion.