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ave a few h o t le b a en Elrod r ld who are r u o a L w y is le h t h ever, As eople in p w o w h set to e , f t n e n o r r e a u b b o g t in y There e ithout b the abilit w s a e r h warm fi r , a e y t h a s t d g in e in h s t is n f r o ir ’s Vixen o roof. This n p e e ix r the gym V fi t a e y t ll ib u a V o u t r k ir o r f v o is TV, pose time to w M s r a o h f ing Star! l s is il t t R o s il e d p u n r t t a o a o sh s. She is the studio d r n o f ie r ls f a h c it o up her v emories w m l u if t u a e b and create -Jehan Yasmin


Jehan Yasmin: When you were younger, you took ballet and figure skating,what was the pivotal moment when you realized that you wanted to be an actress? Ashley Lauren: I realized that I wanted to be an actress when I was a little girl. I would make drastic poses when taking pictures. I realized more so in high school, when there was a school play, I was actually the designer and makeup artist. As a freshmen in college I majored in fashion.The pivotal moment was when my advisor saw my performance in a school play called, “The Colored Museum”, and said “you need to switch to acting,right away!” That was definitely the pivotal moment because I was struggling with deciding on a career. I wanted something that was not so typical, and was possibly a little bit safer. I realized that all of my Columbia professors, who were so wellknown known in the city, were telling me that I should be an actor; that was my defining moment. JY: What roles did you play when you were in high school? AL: (Chuckling) I played the fairy god-mother, that was a fun role. [We] did the Diary of Anne Frank. I felt that [acting in] high school was totally different than college. When you are in college, you find out what acting in depth truly is, more so than high school. In high school you are more concerned with having fun opposed to asking “what is this character is bringing to the table?” JY: You attended Columbia College here in Chicago, what aided your decision to attend the college opposed to schools in New York or LA? AL: I really liked their program. I went to the open house with my dad, and it was awesome to see the opening performance. The open house was very welcoming. However, I really wanted to go to New York’s NYU, but

wanted to go to New York’s NYU, but Columbia was a really good choice. JY: Would you say that Chicago has influenced you as an actress? If so, in what ways? AL: Yeah, I would say so, because we are a very ensemble community and [Chicago] is more welcoming than New York or LA. Everyone is into doing their own thing in New York and LA, so it is a more competitive landscape. Here, we are not as competitive and place emphasis on training with your partner. So my mentality is based on knowing my partner and constantly wanting something from them as a character. JY: How has Columbia honed your acting skills? AL: It has honed my skills in a deep way. The training has grounded me as an actress. I am more polished than before. Before, I would act off of pure emotion and now I can go into a script and know that this is what I want as a character and what I want from the other characters. It is the whole psychological well-being of who you are and how do you get into this character. Acting includes a lot of research and is just like math and science, it is very scientific, and Columbia has really trained me to jump into the art of acting. JY: What genre would you like to act in? AL: Hmmm (laughs) everything! I love drama and dramatic pieces. I played Mrs. Mueller in Doubt [the play] and that was one of my favorite dramatic pieces and performances ever. Not being cocky about this, but I am actually naturally funny. I have done comedic roles and written scripts that were pretty entertaining. JY: What was your first major role and what was the feeling when you first landed it?

AL: Mrs. Mueller was a major role and it was so amazing when I landed it. It was actually a last minute thing. I auditioned that night when I signed up for it on the board. When I got the part, working on it was an experience. John Patrick Shanley is amazing. He is a very influential person when it comes to the seriousness of dealing with what was going at that time period. It was really deep, especially when it comes to a black woman who has the only black kid in school and is possibly having a relationship with a grown man, and you are playing the mom who is caring, but not caring because it was important for her kid to survive in the school. That was the most heart wrenching thing that I could have ever went through. I hadn’t cried during rehearsals, however, for the first performance, it over took me, and Ashley wasn’t there anymore, it was just Mrs. Mueller, and I was just hard-core balling. It was so magical and powerful, and you could literally hear a pin drop in the whole place. JY: You recently filmed a TMobile Commercial for their Christmas Campaign, what was it like to be part of that major production? AL: Being apart of T-Mobile was awesome, being a T-Mobile girl was great. I really loved it and the checks are making me very happy. Carly was extremely nice. It was great to meet her! JY: How has fashion inspired you? AL: Fashion has always inspired me. I was considered the weird girl that wore the clothes that people are wearing now, but weren’t wearing when I was in school. I wore skinny jeans, bright colors, love to wear black, its really sexy. I also like blue, royal blue is my favorite color. I love being chic and I am inspired by New York fashion. I love Chicago fashion because it


is funky, but New York has this real funky and chic vibe that you can put together and not be judged by it. JY: Who is your fashion inspiration? AL: I actually love Mariah Carey! Her style is so cute and classic, it also has a little sexy edge to it as well. I loved the cute black spaghetti strapped dress that she wore for her album cover. she inspires me with the long curly hair . JY: Since you have signed with BMG Talent and Lilys Talent, where do you see your career in the next year? AL: I am hoping that next year I will have more pivitol roles in movies and television shows. Now that I will soon have my SAG card, I am hoping that it will bring more opportunities.My current projects include my “Broken Spirit” project with Kirsten Miccoli. It is basically an advertisement for my company, Visionary Women Productions.and it is in tribute to my father, who’s Black Foot Indian. The campaign will tell their story, while incorporating fashion. It is very inspirational, because it has so much truth behind it. JY: Tell me more about Visionary Women Productions. AL: Team Visionary is a talent mentor program. Many of my peers always have questions about the industry. I also have so many talented people around me like Alina Tsvor (photographer) Geri Perez (Makeup artist), Ann Marie Swanson (photographer), LaVisa Williams (stylist and wardrobe designer) and Kelly Baskin (head talent coordinator), and we all literally banned together to create informational photo sessions. I love finding new talent and giving them advice about reputable agencies and other recommendable people.

JY: In one word, how would you describe your style? AL: My style is outgoing. I really love my body and I am really proud of my body. I work out a lot and I am a dancer, so I love incorporating my dancer persona into my everyday style. For example, I will wear ripped up leggings, cut off shorts and drappy or cropped sweaters. I like being chic and incorporating that classic “90’s Mariah” style. - JY

The “Rising Star” Editorial shoot was in honor of Ashley Lauren Elrod’s Blackfoot Indian heritage. This editorial captures Elrod being one with nature and shows a wide spectrum that personifies her heritage, from soft and free-spirited shots to vibrant and fiery . Many elements made this shot great from fringed vest, to an exotic winged eye, to smoke bomb that


Carr (PVK 2012 feature) explains, “look has more youthful appeal with light colors, charm jewelry and “dream” appeal. The other makes use of deeps colors and vintage accessories. The Photographer, Kirsten Miccoli, made great use of spoke bombs, giving the shots a hint of mystery.” The make-up also contributed greatly to each shot. The intensity was created by Geri Perez ( Future PVK 2012 Feature). Perez is also the Vice President of Visionary Women (VAWW) along side Elrod and has done work in editorials, fashion shoots, and t Inspired by Wayne Goss and Mario Dedivanovic, Perez, is known for her flawless eye creations, including her beautiful eye work for the “Rising Star” Editorial. “The eyes and checkbones are ny favorite. You can play around with so many styles, from the smoky eye to the winged tip.”

came from a very extraordinary set of minds. To create the beautiful shot, Elrod’s team was comprised of Kirsten Miccoli (photographer), Geri Perez (makeup), and Aaja Corrine Carr(Stylist). Clothing is from Chicago’s popular clothing boutique, Akira. With every editorial, much work, creativtiy, and collaboration goes into the finished product.

“I truly enjoyed styling Ashley-Lauren for the Pink Velvet Kisses editorial because I was able to tap into my creativity through concepting. Ashley-Lauren wanted to pay homage to her Blackfoot Indian ancestry, so we used a lot of Blackfoot Indian pictures as inspiration. The two looks that we decided upon can be likened to the maturation from girl to woman in the Blackfoot culture. “

The “Rising Star” Editorial was chosen for the PVK sample because of its broader meaning: cultural fashion inspiration. Ashley is dedidated to her heritage and spreading knowledge of her ethnic background for empowerment, which is essential to inner-core of the PVK girl. What better way to introduce innovative new publication by featuring an extraordinary young woman and her brilliant team.


www.pinkvelvetkisses.com


PVK: The Edits Featuring Ashley Lauren Elrod