(PCM) We recently had a chance to catch up with the lovely actress Ashley Dulaney to talk about her role in the incredible Hulu limited series “The Act”, which was based upon the true-life events of Gypsy Blanchard, portrayed by Joey King, a young girl trying to escape the toxic relationship she has with her overprotective mother portrayed by Patricia Arquette.
Dulaney portrays the real-life journalist from Springfield, MO (whose real name could not be used in the series) who is investigating and reporting on the tragic events happening to Gypsy.
Growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi, Ashley knew she was destined to be in front of the camera and took to acting at a very young age while in preschool. Ever since her first role as a caterpillar in a local school production, she caught the acting bug and dedicated her life to her craft. After graduating from high school, Ashley attended and graduated from Ole Miss with a BFA in acting. After being scouted by agents and managers, Ashley made the big move to Los Angeles in 2009 where she began auditioning and taking extra gigs to pay the bills. Ashley got her first big break on FX’s “Justified with a strong character arc throughout the final season. From there Ashley continued booking gigs and stared as the co-lead in Lifetime’s BABYSITTER BLACKBOOK, and later went on to portray the evil ‘Rebecca’ in Lifetime’s THE HOUSE SITTER. Ashley has also worked on popular series including NBC’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” ABC’s “The Middle.” ABC’s “Scandal,” as well as NBC’s “Days Of Our Lives,” to name a few.
When Ashley isn’t busy in front of the camera, she loves to work out regularly by hiking or taking aerial yoga classes. Ashley is also a fierce advocate for animal shelters and has a white rescue cat named Posey Parker, named after one of her favorite actors, Parker Posey.
Kristyn Clarke: How does it feel to be part of Hulu’s “The Act”, which everyone is talking about these days?
Ashley Dulaney: I knew when I first got to set, I mean I had read about the case before I even book the job, that it was going to be huge. Even from the very first scene we did, I knew it was going to be incredible. I was obsessed with the case before I even booked the job. I knew it was going to be something incredible. Then after seeing everyone work, I knew it was going to be huge. They were just incredible, so it was just so much fun to be a part of.
KC: I feel like Munchausen by Proxy syndrome was something maybe people had heard about before, but really didn’t know all that much about the disorder.
AD: I feel like that is the coolest thing that the show has done. It was one of those taboo things, where everybody was like, ‘that’s not real’ or ‘that’s not even a thing’ but it happens more than people realize. Obviously, this was a very extreme situation, but I feel like it happens more than you would be comfortable knowing.
KC: There are so many true crime series out there and I think that we have a fascination as an audience watching these stories unfold even going back and reliving old cases and finding a renewed sense of interest in them. We become fascinated all over again.
AD: I think there’s something in us that is drawn to it, as it’s fascinating and intriguing to us as humans because we just can’t understand it. It’s trying to understand how a mother could do that, so when we hear about a new case it brings back all of these old things like ‘wait, this has happened before … this isn’t like a one-time thing?’ and it’s so messed up!
KC: What was one of your favorite moments on set?
AD: I got to be there at the very beginning when they started shooting, so I got to witness everyone’s energy and how excited we all were and just watching Patrica [Arquette] and Joey [King] work, just down to the way that they would move their hands or how Joey licks her lips and it was just this crazy thing to watch. Also, being there at the end and just seeing it all come together and seeing all of the energy of the cast and crew from start to finish was incredibly memorable.
KC: It really is incredible. I have binged through the entire series! Obviously, you have had some roles in some other major projects such as “Justified”, which everyone was so sad to see come to an end!
AD: I know! I really loved being a part of that project.
KC: Also, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine being canceled and then brought back and your Lifetime movie the “Housesitter”. How did those projects come about for you?
AD: That was a dream for me. Actually, before I moved to L.A. I remember telling my family if I could just star in a Lifetime movie that’s it, bro! So when I got it, it was like ‘oh, my gosh’, it was so amazing. You get to kill people, which is horrible to say, but as an actor, you get to kill people with a bra, it’s just amazing. Every project that I’ve been a part of has been, and this is not a joke, a blessing that I didn’t even see coming. With “Justified” when I stepped on the set it was such a family, so getting to be on the second to last season with those people who are true legends was a dream come true. A lot of my family is from the south and big fans of the show, so that was such a special experience. Looking at “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, I am a huge fan of Andy Samberg and getting to play opposite him, I geeked out and fangirled so hard, so with all of these shows you get to step into this world and it is a gift each and every time.
KC: What has pilot season been like for you? Do you have a dream role that you would love to take on?
AD: Pilot season has been really busy and really good. Pilot season is such an interesting thing now because it goes pretty much all year long. Every pilot I’ve ever gone for has been incredible. I’ve never read a script that I didn’t absolutely love, so I’ve been really lucky. Everyone I’ve ever read, I’m like, ‘this is genius!’, so even if I don’t get it I watch it come to life and I’m happy to see it breathe.
I know this is a lame actor answer, but I don’t have a dream role, because every single thing that I’ve done I’ve never seen coming. I’m a really big believer in just putting yourself out there and as long as you’re doing good work you are going to get a dream role every time. Everything that comes to me, I’m super excited about!
KC: How do you feel about the streaming services versus network television?
AD: I recently had the conversation where to me, it’s always kind of been like streaming, as I always binge all of my shows. I can’t think of the last time I tuned in on-time to a network show. To me, it all clicks in my head as one and I think the amount of content out there for everybody is just so cool. It is the coolest time to be here watching these shows and being in L.A. There is so much from so many minds and it is just beautiful to watch them tell these stories.
Every time you turn on the TV there is always new material and it is such a different game now. It opens so many opportunities for work and stories that never would have gotten a chance to be told in a network kind of genre.
KC: What are your plans for the rest of 2019? Are you working on finishing anything else up?
AD: Yeah, actually I have been working on a passion project of mine for quite some time. It has now finally found its’ backbone. It’s about bloggers and influencers, which was a world that I knew nothing about and we started on this about two years ago with a pilot shot for it and now it’s finding its ground in a new way.
I’m the only actor stepping in as a blogger and everyone else is bloggers, influencers and I’ve talked to so many people and it’s a world I never understood for the show. It’s scripted, but it’s also improv’d and is based on what they are trying to promote and the things they want to get out there and what they want to make their mark on the world with, so that’s kind of where we are now. A lot of my blood, sweat, and tears are going into that project and try to see it come to life.
KC: I am always blown away when I hear about just how much money these people are making as influencers and social media personalities.
AD: It’s insane! It’s a cool world and I’ve talked to some of the women and they have such a strong passion and strong desires to see these issues and the things they want to promote and they have a huge audience. People have realized that social media is not going to fade away anytime soon, it’s going to stick around.
KC: Do you touch on any of the negative sides of the social media world, such as the pressures to create the “perfect” life so to say?
AD: One of the women who was on, and I can’t say too much, but she has a ton of followers and one of the things she does is try to bring awareness to how much goes into presenting this world and what’s real and that sort of thing. That’s one of the challenges she does saying ‘look, this is who I really am without anything’. That was actually an issue we addressed on the show, and a lot of the show is not really promoting that kind of life, but more look at what happens behind-the-scenes and what these women are really about.
KC: It was always shocking to me when you ask children nowadays what they want to be when they grow up, you no longer get answers such as a doctor, lawyer, firefighter, etc … instead you get ‘’I want to be an influencer or a YouTuber!’
AD: It’s definitely a new world and one of the things that I became aware of during my role in it was really the power that people hold when you have that kind of an audience and choosing to use it wisely. That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. I have become aware of that now and it was really something I didn’t know about before we started doing the show.
KC: Are you trying to shop this project to different networks?
AD: The creator and the director have a new direction with it and they shot a lot of different snippets from the show to brand it and show what it would be and they are now kind of taking it on its’ own little adventure, so I’m not really sure where they are shopping, but I know they are. I’ve been on since the beginning and we recently shot again in February and it’s coming along so nicely and it’s a comedy so it’s taking all these issues with a light heart and not beating things down someone’s throat.
KC: Getting to our roots of “nerd” culture! What is something that you “nerd” out about that we might be surprised to know?
AD: I don’t even know if it is a surprise, but I’m obsessed with mermaids. I have a mermaid tail that my friend had made for me that I take to festivals and swim around in the water! I think that’s the only thing I “nerd” out about!
KC: Where is the best place for us to keep up-to-date with what is going on with you?
AD: All on Instagram! I’m @AshleyDelaney
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