Friday, June 21, 2024

Lights, Camera, Cybersecurity: Ashley Hargrove’s Unique Path in the Entertainment Industry

How did Ashley Hargrove get started in her acting career?

Since I was about 5 years old, I have been fascinated with movies. By the age of 8, I was doing theater. In my 20s, I saw a Craigslist ad for background actors for the Nashville show. From there, I took classes, worked in background and reenactments for a bit, getting my grip on the film world. Eventually, I found a good agent, was networking like crazy, and was able to act, write, and even work behind the scenes, not just for the agent, but also for projects of my own.

Can Ashley Hargrove share some highlights from her acting journey so far?

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve played a drug-addict, have been killed off, but most of the time, played that one college student. In the beginning, I did almost a dozen reenactments for the 700 Club alone. I’ve been able to showcase my stunt work as well in projects, from jumping through fake windows, getting thrown, and more. My favorite times were being on sets where I got to watch cars blow up. The craziest? I was playing a prisoner and when the crew stopped at a gas station, I was still in my costume, along with my film partner. A lady thought we had escaped from a prison! She started to call for help, until the crew was able to show her, we were filming a TV show. I also was trained by a former nun, where I filmed in Nashville as a nun for 2 months. I rarely play a mom or love interest.

What inspired Ashley Hargrove to pursue a career in both voice and film?

I started practicing different voices for fun when I was a teen. Over the years, I tried new voices, including ventriloquism. Finally, I was asked as a favor to do a British voice for a radio station out of Canada. I was the “ad voice” for the radio station, calling out their station name and number. I was hooked! I was able to meet Billy West and Dee Bradley Baker in person and loved all the cartoon voices they could do, and of ones I grew up watching as a kid! It was neat being able to make things come to life with a different voice. Plus, I could use my speech impediment and work from home to my advantage.

Can Ashley Hargrove talk about any memorable experiences or challenges she has faced in her acting career?

Memorable: I think for me, the premieres and wrap parties! Riding in a limo was an experience, however, I was terrified on stage answering questions. Having someone recognize me once from a project was pretty neat. Seeing myself on the screen is cool as well. The first time I was asked for an autograph, I was so confused, lol, but of course, very appreciative. I love getting to travel and meet some pretty cool people. Also, getting to see how special effects are done gives me a deeper appreciation. Watching Terry Kiser (Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s) show us his Bernie dance at a wrap party was pretty memorable. Ah, the challenges! There was a rule I was taught in the beginning: per every 100 auditions, 10 callbacks, then about 3 of those you win. This was the norm for those in the beginning. I had to learn to get over rejection. I learned that getting the callback, even if not the part, was an achievement. Sometimes you’re competing against hundreds, if not thousands of people! I had to do one audition 30 different takes, filmed on one project for 20 hours straight and then drove to another project about 8 hours later, been covered in fake blood and had to be hand fed and took days to get the rest of the blood off, have dyed my hair for projects (every 3 weeks!), and if a lot of pages for last minute learning, had to get creative with getting those lines in! Other crazy challenges, wearing handcuffs for scenes, and even being a stunt robot! Yep, I was in a costume and did the stunts while someone else provided the voice. That costume was hot and hard to move in! But, still neat.

How does Ashley Hargrove balance her writing and acting pursuits?

I learned that the work must be done, so you make the time! No one else is going to do it for you! Both pursuits open up more doors for me, so I’ve learned to schedule the time. Now, sometimes there are a few things I’ve had to pass on, even a few home life things, but you work at making it work. My husband is very supportive and does what he can to help. I also have an awesome support team.

Can Ashley Hargrove share any insights into her experience working on the TV series Nashville?

It was a great way to learn how film sets work. You had to put in a lot of hours though. But it was a great experience at helping you learn to take direction. Plus, it was neat working with Charles Esten – he loved talking and meeting with everyone. Mario Van Peebles was my favorite director on set.

What are some of Ashley Hargrove’s favorite projects she has worked on and why?

Favorites: I think one of my favorites was a reenactment years ago for Homicide Hunter. They provided you a hotel stay, plus someone was bringing me stuff on set, lol. The team was small, so you worked well with everyone and had an awesome lunch. On the 700 Club, I loved having a dressing room and watching some of the stunts and special effects in action. I think the Novitiate was up there as well. Us girls became a close group over the two months of working with each other. The director was constantly making sure we were okay (it was cold!). Of my own, Unnerving, because we got to explore several different horror stories, plus, getting to bring my own work to life! Skate to Hell was quite the experience, with all the different fun characters.

Can Ashley Hargrove talk about her role in the film Novitiate and her experience working on it?

I remember being invited to a cattle call. The director walked up and down the room and pointed out the “sisters” for the project. I think there were 20 of us chosen out of about a 100. For the next two months, we became a little family, arriving each day on set about 530am and leaving by about 5 or 6pm. You got used to a routine. You were measured for four costumes, had your eyelashes dyed, and was trained by a former nun. Some scenes were fun, while there were a few hard ones. In one scene, we wore knee pads that the audience couldn’t see. We were filming a prayer circle scene for several hours and were on our knees on a hard floor. In between takes, you basically fell over for a breather, lol. Outside shots were cold (it was February!). Inside, the location was neat. The director was very nice to us girls.

How did Ashley Hargrove transition from using the name Ashley Coughlin to Ashley Hargrove?

Ashley Hargrove is my maiden name. I was married once before and became Coughlin. Divorce happened unfortunately. After a bit, I decided to go back to Hargrove. So, Hargrove became my stage name. (My current – and final! – married name is Osborne.)

Can Ashley Hargrove share any details about her upcoming projects, such as Skate to Hell and Marriage Bites?

Skate to Hell is a wild, horror comedy! The Devil’s son’s skateboard is stolen on Earth and (pardon the pun!) all hell breaks out! Really fun working with Shawn C. Phillips and the team of a lot of 1980s/1990s actors. I worked with Eric Roberts, Todd Bridges, Elieen Dietz, and Darren Ewing in my scenes, though the film had a lot more 1980s/1990s actors. I play a nun – second time in my lifetime! The team was really nice. There were about 200 of us working on this project in Nevada. For Marriage Bites, a few people from Skate to Hell are joining Shawn C. Phillips, Nicole Butler Vegas, Darren Ewing, Riley Wade Chase, Lance Weller. I’m also getting the chance to work with others that I know from other projects: Joe Komara, Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick, Lena Sledge, Ava Connolly, Wynn Reichert, Krishna Ward, J Spencer, Joseph Bodkin (aka Pongo Joe the Demon Clown), Jason Thomas, Rhiana Calderwood and more. I also get to work with a few newbies: Angela Russell Moore, Daniel Emery Taylor, among a few others. Marriage Bites is a fun, horror comedy about vampires. A couple’s marriage has hit a stale point, and when the husband is bitten by a vampire, he and his wife will not only test social media theories about vampires that can be dangerous, but also try to save their town from vampires, although they suck at it! We get to film some scenes at Studio Huntsville and Thunderdome Studios. Although I’ll get hit with some blood, I get to do some stunts and be in some fun locations. Plus, this is one of the rare times I get to step up into assistant directing.

How does Ashley Hargrove continue to develop her skills and stay current in the acting industry?

I am constantly networking, learning, and practicing. I go to conventions, join groups, run video blogs, and make skits in between. I’m currently taking trampoline gymnastics, getting back into piano, and expanding on voice work. I’m traveling more and learning to try different roles outside my norm.

Can Ashley Hargrove talk about her master’s degree in Cybersecurity and how it has influenced her career?

Several years ago, when I got sick, I took a break from acting and writing. I was always curious about cybersecurity, especially hacking and the tools you use to track scammers. I’m not great at hacking, lol, but it was quite the experience learning cybersecurity and putting some of the skills to work. The degree itself has taught me to work harder, focus more, and learn to study things deeper, though, as an artist, many of us already do this.

What are some of Ashley Hargrove’s favorite genres to work in, whether its voice acting or film?

Definitely comedy and horror, whether separate or combined! I would love to do projects in sci fi and action. Although, one day, the love interest in a Hallmark Christmas movie, lol. Action would allow me to use my stunt experience more (including kickboxing!), while sci-fi allows me to dive into interesting topics in film, plus, I would over to wear some of the costumes and prosthetics. I would also like to do a historical project one day.

Can Ashley Hargrove share any advice for aspiring actors or individuals interested in pursuing a career in voice and film?

Never give up! Sometimes it can take years, while for some, months. Just know that even a failure is a valuable experience. If you didn’t like your performance, learn from it! Plus, know that you can’t please everyone – it is impossible. Learn to accept criticism. No one is perfect. Practice, never stop learning, network, and above all, make sure you love the work you do! If you don’t, find out why. Don’t take on any project just for the namesake if it makes you uncomfortable. If you have passion for that project, give it your all. Learn to compromise. When you work with someone else’s vision, it is your job to understand it and bring it to life. Make sure that your film partners are comfortable with you as you are with them.

How does Ashley Hargrove see her writing, acting, and cybersecurity background intertwining in her future endeavors?

Perhaps I may write a project that involves cybersecurity? Maybe a futuristic one? That would be pretty neat!

Ashley Hargrove has secured her path to success with the support of two prominent agencies, Talent Trek and GTK PR Agency. Talent Trek represents her in the realm of talent management, while GTK PR Agency handles all her public relations requirements.

Stay updated with all of Ashley Hargrove’s latest productions by following her on the following platforms.






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Jared Hagen
Jared Hagen
Jared Hagen is a journalist and an active college student in Madison, Wisconsin. When he is not working as a Journalist or AV Technician, Hagen runs a music production company with his brother, Kaleb Hagen, titled Hagen Brothers. Hagen's focuses heavily involve music production and journalism.

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