Erica Ash is a model, singer and actress who has appeared on shows like Mad TV, Real Husbands of Hollywood and now, Survivor’s Remorse. She actually wanted to teach English in Japan but a twist of fate lead her into modeling and singing. From there, she got into acting and here we today. Erica was such a delight to talk to; it was like I was on the phone with one of my girlfriends. Her spirit was so fresh and kind, I truly can’t wait to see what’s next for Miss Ash.
Erica, thank you so much for this interview! We really appreciate it.
Oh, my pleasure. Thank you for having me!
Always! So congratulations on your new show, Survivor’s Remorse.
How did it come about?
I’ll be honest with you I got a script sent to me by my agent, around November of last year. I read the script and I really liked it and they asked me to come in and audition for the role of Missy. So I said sure, and my audition was a week later. The day before, my agent called and said, “they want you to also audition for this other role, M.Chuck.” so I said cool. I prepared the night before, and went in the next day and just knew I killed it as Missy. And they didn’t call me! So I just kind of went on and worked on other projects, sometime in January they reached out again. They had to remind me which role because this was months later. I went in and tested for M.Chuck and I got it! It was phenomenal, and I was excited. I really thought the character was bold and strong, and very much like me. The idea that her homosexuality wasn’t the focal point of her character…they didn’t play it up and I really respected that about the writing and the character.
That’s cool! Sometimes life works out how it works out and obviously it was meant to be! I know that you’ve done Mad TV and RHOH, when did you realize that you were funny?
When I was a kid. Comedy is our language in my household. My brothers and sisters and I, we grew up laughing and joking, that’s how we still relate to each other. Comedy is my default, that’s fortunately for me, not the thing that I have to work at. I’ve always been very expressive. My mother would always have to say to me “Erica! Don’t say that!” I would embarrass her in front of her friends, by saying random stuff.
In your family, who tells the best jokes?
Hands down, my baby brother Derrick. Derrick is the funniest of us all. I think I’m the 2nd funniest, then my brother Donald and then my sister. No offense to her, I think all four of us would say that same order.
Oh poor me! That’s all I can say. Nelly plays my man this season and he and I work closely together. That right there…I had to pray my way through that! Dealing with all that muscle and sexiness.
Right! Is he really walking around on set in tank tops?
Sometimes. I mean, he has to wear whatever he’s wearing in the scene. Sometimes I’ll be feeling it, with them walking around you know and they’ll make their little comments. But I grew up a tomboy, so I always liked playing with the boys. So, on set, it’s very much like a big brother-little sister relationship. It’s fun. They joke with me; they tease me, A LOT! It’s really funny, most girls would be like “aw man! You’re around all that?” but they don’t even look at me like that! Which, I don’t really know how I should take that. I think I’m a cute girl but they’re just like “oh, that’s just Erica.” It is really a treat to go to work, and I don’t say that lightly.
I read that you got your start in Japan, with modeling. How were you discovered and then what brought the transition from that, into acting?
I was there to teach English and they botched my contract, so when I got to orientation, they handed me a completely different contract than what I interviewed for. This guy who I was complaining to, another soon to be English teacher like myself, told me “you sound like you sing. Your voice, the way you speak, sounds like you sing.” And I hear that this is the way you make money, by performing arts. He starts telling me his friend has a band and they back this famous Japanese singer and they’re putting out a concert next month. He tells me to come to dinner that night and meet the band. I literally went to dinner that night and we all got along, they ended up liking my voice and giving me the job. I did the concert and someone in the audience saw me on stage, and approached me after the concert. “You’re beautiful, you should model.” So the next week, I was brought in to meet the Sensei, the head of this Japanese Modeling Company. As soon as I walked in, he said, “You’re exactly what I’ve been looking for.” We modeled all over, India, Japan, New York, and Korea. We modeled every month for the royal family in Japan and I did it for three years, it was really amazing!
That’s insane how fast things moved!
Yeah, it was really just me being focused on one thing and than another thing would come up, and it was just me saying “yeah” and being available.
I was doing some Instagram snooping, and I saw this skit on your page where actor, Jackie Long, calls you “pretty for a dark skinned girl.” I get that a lot because my father is Haitian; so I’m just super dark Godiva chocolate.
You know, we get that a lot as brown girls, so my question to you is, do you take that as a compliment? Or are you offended by it?
I think it’s a little ignorant, that’s my truth. I think it’s ignorance, especially when guys say “she’s beautiful. She’s got light skin and long hair.” I’m like, wait, what year is it? Are you serious? We are so past slavery and segregation but I think some people hold onto this slave mentality. We’ve taken it on and it’s become the definition of beauty. And that’s not to say that light skinned girls aren’t pretty. I’ve seen some gorgeous light skinned women with light eyes and long hair, and I think that’s beautiful, when they’re beautiful. But you’re not going to tell me some Jackal, looks good, because she’s light skinned. I’ve seen guys take a girl who was clearly, man-face and say she was gorgeous, simply because she was light skinned. At the same token, I’ve seen darker skinned girls completely looked over because they were dark skinned. Feature for feature, there’s just no comparison.
So, if you had to pick your top 3 most beautiful brown skinned girls, who would they be?
I would definitely say Gabrielle Union; I think she’s gorgeous. Tasha Smith is very pretty to me. And Erica Ash! Come on now!
I was seeing some of the scenes from Survivor’s Remorse, and there’s one in particular floating around. Your co-star Jessie Usher and Kamille Leai, have a sex scene in which she’s topless. How do you feel about nudity and would you ever go full on Monster’s Ball for an Oscar?
In terms of topless-ness and nudity, I don’t have any problems with that. If you like it, I love it. If it drives the scene, or if you happen to be proud of your body, go for it! I happen to have a nice ass! And they offered me a body double, and I said no! I don’t want someone who hasn’t worked as hard as I have for this ass, to come in and represent me. Would I ever go full nude? I wouldn’t because I don’t show my breasts. But that’s just me, I think Kamille was beautiful and her body is very beautiful. That scene was supposed to be a punch scene, and it would not have had the same effect if she had on a bra. Our show grabs you by the balls, and really goes there. I applaud her for that. Would I do it for an Oscar? I would do it for a show, and I would do it for the art, and if that wins an Oscar? Fantastic.
What’s next for Miss Ash, and what can we expect from you in 2015?
An Oscar. (Laughs) No, I do plan on winning awards. I put everything I have into every role I take because I love what I do and I’m happy in it. At the very least, you’re going to get a great performance. Unless you just don’t like me, and that’s okay too. But I definitely look forward to season 2 Survivor’s Remorse; I’m very excited with what they’re going to do.
Can you tell us any Season 2 secrets? Any spoilers?
I would love to but I don’t even have any to be honest. I haven’t met with the writers yet, and I think the focus is just on getting everyone familiar with the show. I haven’t even seen episodes 5 and 6. So this coming Saturday will be a surprise to us as well because we saw the first 4 episodes but this time we didn’t. But I do know that you will be entertained. Not only is the writing brilliant but also our editing is really great. They made sure that we had something edgy and fun, and that’s what I like. So I look forward to Season 2, I look forward to continuing with Real Husbands. We are in production right now for season 4, which is exciting.
Oh gosh, I don’t know!! If he does, I hope to GOD I’m called to set that day!
Well Erica, this has been a tremendous pleasure talking to you!
I am going to call Comcast tomorrow and get my STARZ package. Thank you for your time.
Awesome, thank you! Anytime you need to call me or anything, please don’t hesitate. I would be more than happy.
Thank you Erica!
Have a great day!
Survivor’s Remorse comes on STARZ on Tuesdays at 9pm and Season 1 is on-demand now! Catch up!