Actress Ashley Olivia talks to TVGrapevine about her career, life and much more!
Tell me a bit about yourself and career.
I started acting at 12 years old and booked my first theatre role then. That is when I decided to take it seriously. I graduated from LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts (Fame School) with a major in Drama. That was my concrete foundation. I learn so much; toward the end of my senior year I signed with a manager and took a year off to audition. During that time, I worked with Rosario Dawson on a play and booked commercial work.
After a little more than 1 year at college, acting became my priority. I took classes at the Producers Club with Anthony Abeson. My manager quickly booked my first lead role on a pilot as Donna in The System.
How would you describe The System?
The System is like a reflection of the impact on society’s ongoing War on Drugs. Marijuana has been a target for minorities and has allowed people in law enforcement to abuse their power. It’s a series that demonstrates how the drug is designed to enable black teens to get into trouble, enter the system and then have a difficult time getting out. We see this in everyday in America; reforms need to made!
As weed continues to become legal across the US, we hope The System will help portray the fight for teens to not become victim to law enforcement.
What attracted you to the role of Donna?
I admire the fact that she is dedicated to her education and is having a great time living her life. She’s got young love, good friends, and a good head on her shoulders.
In what ways do you relate to her?
I related to Donna in the sense that I do enjoy having a good time with friends, and I am a hopeless romantic. Donna has a sweet innocent demeanor and my personality is similar.
What was it like working with such a great cast?
The cast was amazing. I developed relationships with so many people on set. I am still in contact with many of my castmates. I really enjoyed working with everyone and getting things done. They brought their best and that helped feed me to portray my best on camera.
What are some of your favorite memories from working on the show?
I think shooting our intense night scenes required tons of energy but we made the best of it. We recorded silly videos, laughed together and listened to music to help get us through those nights. I still like to reflect on the good times we had on those night shoots.
What else are you working on?
I recently was invited for a table read for a feature film and plan on exploring my options outside of New York. I am excited to branch out and see what a different city has to offer.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I am a very proud Jamaican and I am ever too shy to represent where my people are from.
What are you watching on TV these days?
I love the show Snowfall on FX, The Deuce, Narcos, Sabrina on Netflix, Big Little Lies, just to name a few. I love a good binge.
Anything else you want to share?
The System has the potential to gravitate audiences from all over and it’s a necessary conversation to have with one another. How do we come together as people to address this issue and find a solution?