Beyoncé reconfirmed her baddie status when she dropped her self-titled album on iTunes and it went platinum in less than a week. Leaving us wondering how she was able to go full throttle with video production without anyone accidentally spilling the beans.
We caught up with one of our favorite dancers Ashley Everett to get the insider scoop on how operation “change the music industry” succeeded without a problem. “It was very secretive and of course everybody in the camp we knew that, we just had to keep our word not to share with anyone,” she says.
Ashley has been with Beyoncé for 8 years and her loyalty and admiration for the mega superstar is ever growing. However this project is something special to the red-headed phenom dancer as it’s the first time she would become the subject of Bey’s most touching song and video, “Heaven”. “She wrote the treatment and she chose me to be in it, which is an honor and is so special to say the least,” she says.
With only a month since her history changing power move, we still have beehive fever as we fiddle through her songs and replay her videos (over and over) at our leisure. Ashley dished on how intensive the months leading up to the surprise album were, working on “Heaven”, and having a relationship while traveling the world for almost a year. She also rectifies the biggest misconception people have towards Beyoncé dancers.
All Photo Credits: Gianna Dorsey
Did you guys know she was working on an album when you were shooting?
Yeah we did.
How secretive was it?
It was very secretive and it was known in the camp that it was secretive. Every time we would do a video too and there would be extras in it like “Blow” or “XO”, even “Heaven”, they wouldn’t even play the whole song. They’d do an instrumental version or play a different song because they didn’t want random people to record it. They would take our phones so nobody would tweet it or Instagram. It was very secretive and of course everybody in the camp we knew that, we just had to keep our word not to share with anyone.
When it dropped was the reaction exactly how you thought it would be?
It was shocking how fast it sold but it actually wasn’t—people love her. Anything she does, everybody supports and wants to buy and it’s a really big deal with not having any promo, any singles, or anything. That was a huge deal. We didn’t know when the album was coming out so when she dropped the album, we had just finished a show and when we got on our tour bus at midnight we were like ‘what’s going on, what’s happening right now, my Instagram is going crazy, people are blowing my phone up’.
Because you guys were on tour when you were filming how crazy was your schedule?
Oh my gosh, that is a very good question because people just don’t get it. People think we are just chilling and doing shows. Our schedule was insane for months. There was a point where when I was shooting the “Heaven” video with her we were shooting a lot of it in Puerto Rico but we had shows in Venezuela, Columbia, and in Puerto Rico also. We were flying in and out of different cities everyday and days that would be a travel day we would fly right after the show and get up early and shoot all day long, then shoot before a show and fly straight to a show and walk straight on stage. It was nuts, same with a lot of the videos, we were shooting them all on days off. There was a minute when we were shooting “Blow “and we had shows in Mexico but we would fly on days off to Houston and shoot, and then fly back the morning of the show, do the show, and fly back out and shoot in Houston again, it was nuts. It was crazy!
Did you guys ever have complications with travel?
We have been running late before, we had to push the shows back and start late. But luckily it never was too crazy complications like a layover where we had to cancel a show or anything like that. We just had normal complications like being late to flights and traffic holds us up.
How did you stay healthy?
We tried to take vitamins and eat well. Anytime one person gets sick on tour we all will get sick because we are all together all the time. We share a tour bus together; we travel together on the plane. So we all tried to stay really healthy. In catering we have those juicers and I’m not a big juicer when I’m not on tour but on tour since it’s there and available, I try to juice like every day just to be healthy. If I start feeling sick, I OD on Emergen-C and Echinacea.
Now I want to touch on Heaven because that was her most emotional song. How did it come about that you were the subject of the entire video?
She wrote a treatment and we were rehearsing for another video, for “Blow”. It was just me, her, and one of the other choreographers and we were teaching her some of the steps. She was like “Ashley you don’t know this yet but I wrote a treatment for a video and it’s starring you” and I was like “what are you talking about?” She said, “I want you to be in it”. She told me the whole rundown of the video and how it’s about her best friend and how she wants me to play her best friend in the video and I was like “wow, thanks B, that’s really sweet!” She wrote the treatment and she chose me to be in it, which is an honor and is so special to say the least.
The song, everyone says is about her miscarriage, is that correct?
Everybody does think that.
Is that not true?
Not from my understanding. Unless that’s like an underlying emotion and feeling that she’s keeping to herself but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about two best friends who want to do everything on our bucket list before we die. We want to do all these things: like skinny dipping, have a bonfire, pop bottles, get matching tattoos, get married, and have a baby. It’s about two best friends trying to live our life to the fullest and check everything off of our bucket list so that we know we lived a happy and exciting life before we die. The scene were we’re praying in the church implies that I am either sick or some way I know that I’m going to go. So it’s me that dies, her best friend; that’s why she’s in the cemetery.
The tattoos were they real or drawn on?
We got a cross in between our boobs [but] we didn’t get real tattoos. When we were shooting it we thought about it and we were both like, “I kind of want it”, but we didn’t have a lot time. We shot there for literally like 20 minutes and then we had to go.
Out of all of the videos, which one is your favorite?
I really liked the way “Haunted” turned out, it was just weird and different. I like it.
How many videos exactly are you in?
I’m in 6. “Haunted”, “Blow”, “Grown Woman”, “Mine”, “Heaven”, and “Superpower”. We shot “Grown Woman” so long ago. I forgot it was apart of this album; we shot that in April before we even went on tour.
Which one was the hardest to shoot?
I would probably say “Blow” because of those roller skates. Elements are always hard.
You’re starting back on tour in Europe, when her tour is over what do you expect to do?
Well I really want to explore more into acting now that “Heaven” is out more people are like “Ashley you need to act, you’re really great in that video”. But besides hearing those reviews, I’ve definitely wanted to explore that world anyway. That’s my plan when I have more time off and more time in LA and at home, I want to play around with acting, get an acting agent, take some classes, go on more auditions, and try and go in that world.
You did Hit The Floor, have you been keeping in touch with the producers?
I’m still in touch with them, we still have a good relationship. I would love to do season 2 but it conflicts with the tour and if we could figure out a way for me to come in for one or two episodes that would be ideal. But as of now, I don’t know if that’ll work out.
Do you want to always play the dancer characters?
I would like to have a whole different character eventually but realistically what would help transition me in there is a dancing role. That’s just more realistic because that’s what I’m known for and do as my profession right now. But I really want to do a comedy. I would love to be in a Kevin Hart movie and doing something dumb and funny.
In a year if Beyoncé wanted to go on tour again, could you see yourself doing it again?
I don’t know, it’s so hard to say yes or no. I love working with Beyoncé. She’s like my home team, I’m going on my 8th year with her. She’s like family so it’s always hard to say no to her. I guess it really depends on where I’m at in my career and in my life at the time. I can see her extending tour because she just came out with an album, why would she stop touring?
As far as the romance, are you still with your boyfriend?
How’s that going because I know you were M.I.A. working for a good couple of months?
I know for like the whole year I was barely home but we do well with it. It’s not too much of a struggle, it only get’s difficult when we hit a month and a half and haven’t seen each other. But I make sure if I’m really busy, he’ll come out to wherever I am if I can’t come home. Or if I’m coming home and he’s gone somewhere, I make sure I go to wherever he is. We make it work and we talk everyday.
So you just need someone that understands your lifestyle?
Yeah, I just need them to be able to understand and get it. He gets it also because he’s come out on the road with me and seen how crazy it is and all over our schedule is and how it changes at the drop of a dime and we have rehearsals here and there. I’ve been on tour with him too and I see his schedule and life, I get it too.
What’s the biggest misconception do you think people have about Beyoncé’s dancers?
I think people think that a lot of us, or all of us are really snotty and bitches. And we’re not. We’re not even the biggest of girly girls, a lot of us are tomboys and don’t take life to serious, we have fun with everything. People always realize that when they hangout with us, talk with us, or meet us for the first time. We like to do workshops when we’re on tour and every time we do workshops people are always like “you guys are so sweet and so nice!” Maybe it’s because they see us on TV or in videos with a celebrity that they think we’re going to act like the best thing out there or like we’re celebrities. Even Beyoncé doesn’t act like she’s a big celebrity or she’s too good for anyone. I think that also plays a part on keeping us humble because she’s humble. If our boss doesn’t act like that, why the hell would we [laughs].