10 Things with Ashley Blaine Featherson
Well known celebrities that include Taraji P. Henson, Chadwick Boseman, and Phylicia Rashad are all Howard University alums. Did you always know that you wanted to be an actor?
Since I could walk and talk, I’ve been saying that I want to be an actress. I know that I’m sort of rare in that I’ve never wanted to do anything else. A large reason why I wanted to attend Howard University was because of the rich history and distinguished alumni, particularly in the Department of Fine Arts from which I graduated from.
Which actors had the most impact on your decisions as you’ve been building your own career?
There are so many actors that I deeply admire and have had a profound impact on my career. Diahann Carroll, Ruby Dee, Sidney Poitier, Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, Susan Sarandon, Michael Fassbender and the list goes on.
I credit Vanessa L. Williams for having a career trajectory that I aspire toward. She is an actress, singer, dancer, producer & mother. She has had a successful theatre, television, film and music career all while creating a beautiful brand and keeping family first. For me, that’s the goal!
Give us a dream role and the actors that would cast for it and why.
To me a dream role is anything that comes along that I immediately resonate with, and feel is completely in alignment with my purpose. I can say that an extremely fun role would be Kelly Rowland in a Destiny’s Child Biopic. Everyday, at least 2 people tell me I look like her and in addition to acting, I’m a skilled singer & dancer. I think it would be PERFECT. I love musical films. As for who would be Beyoncé & Kelly…I’m not sure but forming the perfect trifecta will be imperative!
Prior to the series on Netflix, you were in the film, Dear White People. What was your experience like working on the film?
Working on the film was one of the best experiences of my life. It is a moment in time that I will always cherish and appreciate for leading me to where I am now. To have shot the TV show 3 years later and to have met some of my closest friends while shooting the film is an experience unmatched.
How did you become acquainted with the TV series, Dear White People and why did you want to be a part of this one as well?
I was in the 2013 film by the same title and our writer/director Justin Simien is a genius and one of my dearest friends. Co-starring in the series is nothing short of a blessing. Justin creates content that anyone who loves acting and being a part of something that will truly make an impact would jump at. I believe in his vision and he believes in my talent.
On the series, your character is different than the one in the film. You play the role of Joelle Brooks. What do you enjoy about bringing her character to life?
I actually play the same character that I played in the film, just in a larger way. In the film, Joelle is referred to by her nickname ‘Curls’. She and Sam are still best buds and she will always be #TeamReggie. What I love most about Joelle is that she is a good friend. She is layered and organically accesses a whole host of emotions, all of which college students go through. She’s real. That’s what I enjoy the most.
What can viewers expect to see from Joelle in this first season?
Joelle is amazing. I feel so blessed to play such a well-fleshed out, interesting, dynamic and hilarious character. Everyone knows a Joelle…you may even be her! You can expect to go through a rollercoaster of emotions with her. She’s a sophomore in college going through any and everything you can imagine, but somehow she manages to keep her head above water.
If you weren’t working on your career as an actor, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be an acting professor for a prestigious acting program or a full-time producer.
When it comes to fashion, which designers and styles appeal to you the most?
I love “high low fashion”. For example styling a dress with classic sneakers or styling up “basics” with bold hair and makeup. For super affordable versatile looks I love Zara, and for high-fashion I drool over Balenciaga.
We look forward to seeing you on Netflix’ Dear White People. What other projects do you have coming up?
I have some very exciting things in the pipeline. Nothing that I can speak to at this moment, but all things that I think people will really enjoy!
Facebook: Ashley Blaine Featherson
Photos: Courtesy of Nate Jensen & Netflix/ Dear White People