There is something about the unadulterated exhilaration of youth, and when this type of young person enters the world of entertainment, I would venture to say the sky is not even the limit. Ashley Seal came on my radar due to my passion for independent films, and I am so grateful that she agreed to answer a few questions recently. While her career is in its inception, I believe my readers will be impressed with the nuggets of truth this actress shares in her own indomitable style.
RH: Why did you decide to become an actress?
AS: There was never one point where I decided to become an actress. I’ve known since I was five years old what I wanted to be and never changed my mind. In high school, it was reconfirmed through some trials that being on stage, or in front of a camera, was where I felt the most alive. There is nothing in the world that compares with the feeling I get when I’m acting. Not yet anyways.
What kind of training have you had?
Currently and ongoing, I’m in Don Phillip Smith’s acting class. Which I LOVE! I’m constantly challenged and always working on more than one project. I take different dance classes: tap, hip-hop, and ballet. I also stay in voice lessons weekly. Honestly, when I moved out to Los Angeles I felt like every blond my age could also sing, act, and dance, so I needed to find a way to stand out. I started researching movies that inspired me and roles I would want and realized lots of the roles that stood out to me needed stage combat experience, so I picked up sword fighting and hand-to-hand combat. I think it’s so important to constantly be improving in my craft and I strive to be the best actress I can be.
Much of your early work especially is on the stage. What do you enjoy most about being on the stage?
There is a nostalgia to being on stage for me: the smells of a theater alone bring me back to memories, tech rehearsals, worn dance shoes and sheet music, multiple shows a day, all while balancing life outside of the theater. What I enjoy most about being on stage is the beauty of being able to bring a story to life! When I am on stage, nothing else matters except that moment in time. I can barely see the audience past the lights, and it feels like a bubble, a sanctuary, where I can be fully myself and be doing what I love, all while playing another character!
What do you enjoy about being on film?
There’s so much fun that happens between takes on a set. You become a family in practically a day of filming! It’s addictive! There’s also opportunity to take a scene multiple times until you have it exactly the way you want it! This might seem really draining to some, but to me, it’s so satisfying when you, along with others around you, see a take and say “That’s it! That’s the one!”
Being in front of a camera is something I’ve always loved and I’m filled with energy when given the opportunity! There is a feeling I have when at my marker waiting for the word “action” that is unlike anything I have anywhere else. I’m filled with a sense of thankfulness, joy, and peace all put together in one. I have a hard time watching myself played back on camera, but when I’m able to bring an emotion out of people through my performance, I feel so humbled to have gotten the opportunity to be chosen for a specific role, when Hollywood has so many wonderful, talented actors to choose from. Being on a set and filming keeps me in such a state of thankfulness.
What was your first on-camera job? What are your memories of that role/experience?
I don’t know if it ever aired, but I booked a guest star role in a show called Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music when I was living in Nashville, TN. The cast was so nice! I also learned a lot on set! I watched as people did re-writes and I watched the show from behind the cameras when I was waiting for my scenes. It was truly magical!
How did you get on the show Ice Cold Killers?
Quickly after beginning my working relationship with my east coast agent, Sylvia Hutson, she put me up for the audition. I was working in my side job when I got the call and she said “So, how do you feel about Alaska?” and after my answer, she said, “Good because you booked the job!” I have never jumped around in such excitement in my life–haha!
Any special memories?
Gosh, the whole thing?! Can I say that? The cast and crew were incredible and super fun! Traveling to Virginia and Alaska to film was a dream! It snowed! I love snow! All of it was a memory I will never forget!
Much of your work has been in indie film/projects. What do you see as the benefits and challenges of indie films?
The challenge can be summed up in one word: Budget.
But the benefit is the experience. Indie films tend to be very artistic. So the content is usually really deep and meaningful. I’ve enjoyed that!
What are your current/upcoming projects that we can look forward to?
I’m currently in a show on Friday nights called Dragons And Stuff viewable on Twitch and Facebook.com/dragonsandstuff. I play a character named Leera and it’s a live interactive action role-playing game. It’s really creative and I love the people I get to be on set with every Friday! There are a few projects in the works, but I don’t think I can talk much about them yet. No matter if I’m working on projects or not, I try to always be bettering myself as an actress. I try to stay in classes and hone in on different skills that hopefully can set me apart.
All your works have been as an actress so far. Any plans to eventually write/direct?
I actually love being an actress and try to focus in on being the best I can be in skills that help me with that dream. I love collaborating and creating stories with some of my writer friends. That is so fun to me, but it is literally painful not to be acting when put into different roles. I respect the hard work and passion of writers and directors though! It’s incredible and there’s so much talent I’ve gotten the opportunity to witness and see created! It’s a beautiful thing to be able to collaborate with dreamers.
What do you like to do in your free time?
What free time? 90% of my free time is spent in the car. Haha! No, but really I try to stay as balanced and down-to-earth as possible. I’ve got an incredible community of friends that keep my feet on the ground. I love going on fun adventures with them! We go to the beach, go dancing, watch The Bachelor. I also co-lead a Bible study through my church, City Church, on Thursdays and that’s been a huge gift! It’s so great! My “free time” is usually filled with something that hopefully can strengthen my skills as an actress. It fuels me. Winston Churchill said, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” I’ve known my whole life what I was meant to be. I hope that I am able to make a difference and be love to people in the industry. I don’t want to just be known as an actress. I want to be an example of love and a role model.
What is your advice to young people who are thinking about becoming actors?
–I would encourage young people to make sure that their identity doesn’t get caught up in their career. It’s a part of you, but if you didn’t have it, you would still be an amazing human!
–Fail forward. We are all human and we mess up, but do your best to learn from your mistakes and not dwell in them.
–Never give up! It’s hard and the rejection hurts. But if this is what the Lord placed inside of you to pursue, don’t let people dictate what God is doing, even if you don’t understand it in the moment. Be open to redirection and do your best to hold your dreams open-handedly in front of God. He writes the BEST stories.
–Surround yourself with people that keep you grounded and who aren’t afraid to call you out for things! Having a good group of friends not only keeps you sane through the crazy career life you’ve chosen but helps you keep a good perspective!
–Lastly, when you get down and discouraged, find somewhere you can serve others. Getting outside of thinking only of yourself and your problems really helps keep a good perspective on the world around you and what life is truly about.
Two remarkable things stand out to me concerning Ashley, and I would venture to say they are the main reasons that she is experiencing peace and contentment within an industry that is often frenzied and sometimes harsh.
First of all, she recognizes the need to bring her own unique flair to her persona. She doesn’t wish to be “just another pretty face” in the crowd; she desires to be fully herself with a skill set that distinguishes from the maddening crowd. In my opinion, Ashley is thinking far beyond her years while processing what it takes to ensure a successful career in acting, and I applaud the fact that she has latched onto this important detail so early on in this profession.
Secondly, and probably more importantly, Ashley comprehends the significance of faith in her life. In the entertainment world, religion can be a taboo topic depending on how it is approached, and oftentimes, actors feel the need for restraint in spiritual matters. But interestingly enough, the more actors with whom I am granted the opportunity to interact, the more I realize there is a more substantial sect in this whirlwind universe who root themselves in their faith than I realized. Thankfully, in Ashley’s case, her faith in God is such an integral part of her life that her reliance on her faith flows from her innermost being in an incredibly effortless and genuine way that it never appears forced nor flaky. Being a person of faith myself, I applaud Ashley’s stance on her faith-based values and beliefs, and I believe that ultimately it will be the Rock that carries her through the disappointments and pitfalls ahead.
While Ashley has few credits to her name, it is clear that she already possesses the inner drive, innate ability, and teachable spirit required to ensure a chance at success in this business, and I hope that all of my readers will check out her links below and follow her where applicable. While she may be a virtual unknown now, I have followed acting careers long enough to know that while it takes time to establish a consistent career, one never knows when all the pieces will fall into place and “overnight success” will occur. And wouldn’t you like to be one of the originals who says, “I knew Ashley Seal when…”?