Ashley Featherson Ashley Featherson

Vixen Chat: Ashley Blaine Featherson’s ‘Hello Cupid’ is Back For V-Day

Ashley Featherson

Ashley Blaine Featherson has big plans and a bright future ahead of her. With her genuine and kind attitude, we can tell that the charismatic bombshell won’t let anything get in her way until she reaches her goals. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Ashley will be starring in her second season of Hello Cupid and we’re just as excited as she is for the premiere.

With a successful premiere season behind her, Featherson says that she is proud to say that "Hello Cupid is her baby." We recently chatted about her experience and why fans should expect amazing things from the new season.

Ashley Featherson

 

VIBE Vixen: What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Ashley:  Vibrant; because I have a really bright energy. I enter a room and you’re going to know that I’m there. I have a presence about me. I feel like I’m able to adapt well in many situations. Thoughtful, because I’m always considering others. I’m always trying to figure out what I can do for someone else…in this business, you can’t win by yourself. I’m always asking myself, “What is the bigger picture?”

What convinced you to pursue acting?

I was 4-years-old. I was going to a Montessori school and I auditioned for a play: “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” I actually got casted as one of the Trolls, which was like a big deal because it was a leading role. I came home after school and I just started cry to my parents. My dad kept asking what was wrong, so I told him about the troll role. My dad was excited and said that it was a good thing. He was confused as to why I was crying. I told him that the trolls are mean and I didn’t want to play a mean character.

My dad was very disappointed; as he thought it was such a meaty role, but he told me it was okay. I’ve always been someone who looked at how I would be affected by playing a certain role. Does it sit well with me? Does it feel like something that is working organically? I knew I wanted to be an actor at that age. I loved seeing my parents smile and people laugh in the audience. I was really blown away at how people could be affected by my performance.

Describe your experience in ‘Dear White People.’

It was the best experience ever. For it to be my first feature was great because all the people that I worked with are like my family. To work in a film that is truly saying something and has a message that needs to be told is just a really awesome thing. I felt like we were all a part of this amazing film that has now taken Sundance by the storm and will continue to do great things.

I am very humbled and grateful for the entire experience. From the cast to the producers, we all really believe in each other and I think that really shines through. We’re all friends; we talk all the time, text, hang out, email. It’s an experience that I will never ever forget and forever be grateful for. It feels amazing to know that we are making an indelible mark on the world with a film that is fueled with passion.

Ashley Featherson

What are you looking forward to with Hello Cupid?

I’m super excited for it. I think it was the perfect time for us to come back. I’m just so grateful for the success that we had with season one. I think that awesome and successful projects come when you don’t have the intention of necessarily getting a whole bunch of views or gaining a ton of exposure. You just want to do good work and I feel like if you do good work and collaborate with awesome and talented people, inevitably people latch on and people will become supporters and fans.

This season is super duper fun and I think jaws are going to drop to the floor even more than the first season. I’m looking forward to exposing new people to Hello Cupid  and continuing to inspire conversations and healthy debates. I want it to continue to empower Black women through seeing honest depictions of themselves on screen.

What are some of your career goals for you future?

I want to be a film, TV and stage actress who actively is inspiring others. Acting and performing is not enough for me. My is goal if I can inspire one little girl, especially one that looks like me, to achieve and chase her dream and know that they’re attainable, then I’ve done my job. This year, I really want to continue to make head way in film; at least one other film. I want to book a TV show. I want to eventually have my own television show; not like “The Ashley Show.” I would love to have the longevity of a show like Friends.

Ashley Featherson

What advice would you give to a young aspiring actress?

Know that you’re enough. A lot of time you get out to LA or NY or wherever you are and you start to tell yourself  “I’m not good enough.” What it takes is innately in you. It’s not who you know or how much experience you have. You have to realize that you are destined for greatness. If you feel like it’s your life’s destiny, then its got to work out. I’ve learned to view my “losses” as “victories”. Nobody can ever steal your blessing. If you were to look at the percentage of projects booked next to those I’ve auditioned for, it’s probably frightening, but I’m thankful that I didn’t get those jobs because I wouldn’t be in the position that I am in now.

I think a good thing about creating your own work is that you have control over what you want people to see. If I didn’t take the initiative to co-create Hello Cupid and collaborate with Lena Waithe & Black & Sexy TV, I don’t know where I would be right now. Know that are more capable than you think. I think the coolest thing about being an actor is that actors have brilliant imaginations, but we get so caught up in our talents. We then limit our selves to just doing that one specific thing.

I would not be where I am today in my career if it weren’t for the most loving, creative, innovative, talented people around me daily. I love awards shows because I love how emotional people get when they talk about the people they’ve worked with because they known them for years and I just cant wait to the point in my career when I get to feel that way.

Lastly, have some type of spiritual foundation. Be connected to something that’s bigger than yourself. Because in this town it’s easy to lose yourself and I’ve seen a lot of people do it.

Who is someone you are inspired by?

It’s so brilliant what Spike Lee did, which kind of ties into what our Dear White People director Justin Simien did: take chances. We didn’t know who those actors and actresses were when Spike did She’s Got to Have it or School Daze or Do The Right Thing. These were all people who were introduced to the scene and they’re all people that we still know today.

What has your natural journey been like?

I went natural in 2008, my senior year at Howard U. Being at Howard you see a lot of beautiful women and growing up, I wasn’t around a lot of women who were natural. I had a relaxer like my whole life. I just remember being inspired by the beautiful Black women on campus. I remember thinking like, ‘I’ve never seen my hair like this.’ I wonder if my hair can do that. I made a vow that I’ll never go back, that I’ll never chemically process my hair. It’s a really empowering thing. As black actresses, we have to do a lot with our hair. I hope that as a people we continue to really try to embrace it. I’m obsessed with African Queens and I feel like I was a queen in my past life.  I feel connected to them through my hair and I wouldn’t want to change that. I feel like there’s something very beautiful and very regal about that.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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The North Face

Ella Mai On The North Face's 'Explore Mode' Campaign, New Music And Living In The Moment

Ella Mai is in her own age of exploration. Her eponymous debut album scored her a platinum plaque with her breakout hit, "Boo'd Up" earning her a Grammy for Best R&B Song. But the accolades aren't driving her creative path. The arc in her compass is all about the places she's traveled, the people she's met and the lessons learned along the way.

"To be honest, personally, exploration is like growth. I feel like if you don't explore new things, whether it's going outside, meeting people or trying new food, you won't ever grow because you're just stuck in your little comfort zone which can be super scary to come out of," she tells VIBE at The North Face's Explore Mode event in New York on Monday (April 15). The singer is one of three women (including model-activist Gabrielle Richardson and chef Angela Dimayuga) who teamed up with the brand to share a message of enjoying the outside world without digital confinement and the global initiative to make Earth Day a national holiday.

The London native's urge to explore came in handy over the weekend when she performed in the brisk desert of Coachella. Inspired by artists like Rihanna and Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mai helped fans enjoy the hazy sunset as she performed hits like "Trip" and her latest No. 1 song, "Shot Clock."

"It's such a good feeling, especially when it comes to radio," she shared about her track reaching No. 1 on the airplay chart. "I wasn't even sure if people listened to the radio because people have so much access to streaming platforms, but obviously having all three of my singles from my debut album, go number one on urban radio is incredible."

That energy was brought to the Coachella stage with the festival being her biggest artistic exploration so far.

"My favorite part of the performance would have to be when I performed "Naked" and because it was dark, and I performed when the sun went down, I couldn't see how far the crowd actually went back. But during "Naked," it was such an intimate moment I asked everyone to put their lights up (phones) and when I saw how far it went back I was like, "Woah." That moment sealed it for me."

"Even there were two people in the audience, I still would've done my best," she added. "But just to see the crowd be so engaged, even if they didn't know the music, was a really good feeling. I had so much fun."

As the festival energy in Indio, Calif. continued to thrive, another rested on the streets of Los Angeles following the loss of Nipsey Hussle. With the singer having ties to those close to the rapper like DJ Mustard, she says the shift in the city was hard to ignore.

"As weird as it sounds, you felt it," she said. "Even in the weather, it was super hot and then everyone got the news and it started raining. Just a weird energy shift." As a new L.A. resident, the singer says Nipsey's influence cannot be denied.

"I feel like the energy shift went both ways; everyone was really sad, grieving and mourning but everyone feels more inspired by what he was doing that they want to go out and do something and change in their community. It's still a very touchy subject in L.A., especially the people that I'm around since they were very close to him. I think everyone is super inspired to do better and try to be more like him, which is great to see. YG's whole set at Coachella was dedicated to him, I know Khalid had a dedication to Mac Miller. Everyone is super aware of what Nipsey was trying to do and how he wanted to change the world."

Engaging in The North Face's mission to explore seemed to be in the cards for Mai. Like many of us, Mai was familiar with the brand's effective coolness factor. "I remember running home and telling my mom that I needed a Jester Backpack because my cousin had one as well, and it's similar to the other stories, I wanted to be like my older cousin (laughs) so my mom ended up getting me one." But there's also the incentive to showcase the importance of stepping away from the phone screens and into leafy green forests.

"I'm such a live-in-the-moment person," she says of her lack of identity on social media. While she might share a thought or two on social media, Mai is interested in appreciating the world around her. "I feel like everyone is so consumed about documenting the day, you don't really get to live the day. You just watch it back but I like to have the memories in my head. Of course, sometimes, I'll take out my phone but I try to live in the moment as much as possible."

Part of that mission is ensuring Earth Day is celebrated the right way. With the support of Mai, Richardson, and Dimayuga, The North Face officially launched a petition to make Earth Day a national holiday.

“The North Face is no stranger to exploration and this Earth Day we are proud to join our partners and fellow explorers in a global effort to make Earth Day a national holiday,” said Global General Manager of Lifestyle at The North Face, Tim Bantle. “We believe that when people take time to appreciate the Earth, they feel more connected to it and are more likely to protect it. Explore Mode urges us to unplug from our digital lives to connect in real life to the world, each other, and ourselves in the effort to move the world forward.”

Mai hasn't hit her all of her exploration goals just yet. "I really want to go to Indonesia or Bali," she said. "That's one of my Bucket List places I really, really, really wanna go." For her essentials, the singer knows she has to bring along a windbreaker set and of course, a jester backpack. "I think the backpack is the most important thing."

In addition to a few trips around the globe, one destination includes the studio for new music. While she hasn't had time to lock down a moment to record, the inspiration is sizzling.

"When I work in the studio, I like to be like there for a good amount of time," she explains. "I like to block off two to three weeks at a time, I don't like to go to different studios and different places, it's just a comfort thing but I'm very excited to get back cause I have a lot of talk about. I've seen so many different places and met so many new people and a lot that I didn't get to experience last year."

Learn more about The North Face's petition for Earth Day here.

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