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Prune Juice: Ashley Blaine Featherson


Binge-mode activated - tune in and watch Ashley Blaine Featherson on the Netflix series "Dear White People"

Photographer: Emilynn Rose @EmilynnRose

Art Direction + Wardrobe: Michael St. Michael @michaelstmichael

Hair: Seto Mccoy @setomccoy

Makeup: Francie Tomalonis @francieluxe

Interview: Dylan Rubinstein @dylanjader

Jacket - Betsey Johnson

Crop Top- Sugarpuss Clothing

Skirt- Pink Sheep Heiress

Prune: You star in Netflix’s newest series, Dear White People. Talk to me about the show.

Ashley: You’re able to explore through the eyes of students of color. The show is funny, it’s heartbreaking at times, it requires you to think, it will make you question things. I think the show will take you through different emotions.

Prune: Each character has multiple layers to them. Talk to me about Joelle and her story.

Ashley: Joelle is Samantha White’s best friend. She’s bold, funny and opinionated. She’s figuring out how to express herself with Reggie, and experiencing the heartbreak of seeing Reggie be in love with her best friend. I think you’re able to see Joelle is confused, but trying to figure it out. At times, you want to see her speak up or you feel bad for her. Joelle is an extremely relatable character. Everybody has been Joelle at some point in their lives.

Prune: Dear White People has created quite a buzz, quickly. Why do you think people connect with this show?

Ashley: People connect with the show because it’s unlike anything they’ve come across before. The space that we’re filling was wide open. The word of mouth has helped, a lot of people are excited about it. One thing that sticks out is how well done it is, how well acted it is, how well produced and directed it is. A lot of people are finishing the episodes and feeling like they’ve changed and learned something as a person.

Jacket- Galvin PR

Velvet Bodysuit- Sugarpuss Clothing

Shorts- Tee Ink

Jacket - Betsey Johnson

Crop Top- Sugarpuss Clothing

Skirt- Pink Sheep Heiress

Prune: Sam is biracial, and dates a white male, yet still hosts her show, “Dear White People”. What is the significance of Sam taking on this role?

Ashley: A lot of people who are biracial are ultimately trying to figure out which race or culture they feel most similar to. For some people, it’s hard to be both. I think it’s cool with Sam, because you’re able to see that she’s confused, yet she’s so passionate about figuring out who she is. She’s living in hiding, and I think that’s important to show. A lot of people live secret lives whether you are biracial, not open about your sexuality, or whatever the circumstances may be.

Prune: The show takes on heavy topics including racism and gun violence. How do you hope the show will impact people?

Ashley: I think the show already has impacted people. We hope this will open people up to the issues that people of color, particularly black people, go through. The show is an entertaining teaching tool, and that is what I love most about it. Like I said, it’s really well done. When you watch, you can tell it’s done with so much love and that we were all happy to be there – all excited to tell the story.

Prune: When talking about heavy topics in the show, a white student says “that doesn’t happen at this school.” How do you think ignorance is hurting people in real life?

Ashley: Nobody wants to admit what is really happening. Nobody wants to open their eyes. A lot of people feel like, ‘I’m white, that doesn’t concern me.’ Anything that happens to mankind happens to all of us. We’re all human beings. We come from different cultures and races, but we are all people. We need to have more empathy and more concern for mankind. Once we can get past that, people can change. That is where ignorance stems from. People look and think they can’t relate because they’re not the same color as another person; that has been really deadly.

Velvet Crop top- Sugarpuss Clothing

Jeans- RES Denim

Jacket - Betsey Johnson

Crop Top- Sugarpuss Clothing

Skirt- Pink Sheep Heiress

Prune: What was the biggest lesson you learned on set of Dear White People?

Ashley: I’ve been acting for a long time, but I really learned the true sense of collaboration. This is such an ensemble show, we have a great writing team and amazing crew. I’ve come away as truly more of an actor. I also learned that a lot of people, like you said, are ignorant. You just have to teach them, that’s it. If they’re willing to listen, great. If not, keep trying.

Prune: How has your life changed since the premier of Dear White People?

Ashley: There hasn’t been any drastic change. I went out Friday night and someone recognized me. She was so sweet and loved the show. She was white, and she told me how much she took away from it. I was her favorite character and she resonated with Joelle. You can be any race and relate to Joelle.

Prune: Let’s backtrack. How and when did you first start acting?

Ashley: I’ve been acting my whole life. I wish I had a cool story. My sister was acting, singing, and dancing – she was older – so I wanted to do everything she did. My first play was when I attended Montessori preschool. I was four years old.

Jacket- Galvin PR

Velvet Bodysuit- Sugarpuss Clothing

Shorts- Tee Ink

Prune: Who was the first actress you looked up to as a child?

Ashley: When I was in middle school, I wanted to be Kyla Pratt. She was the first person I can remember looking up to. We were the same age, and I thought, ‘if she can do it, I can do it.’ I did it. Now I see her at auditions all the time, it’s very full circle.

Prune: If you could trade places with any fellow celebrity today, who would it be?

Ashley: Janelle Monáe. She has such a cool awesome musical compound, she’s a fashion icon, she’s Oscar nominated. That’s exactly where I want to be. She’s so beautiful and so richly talented.

Prune: What is the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Ashley: Jay Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne.

Jacket - Betsey Johnson

Crop Top- Sugarpuss Clothing

Skirt- Pink Sheep Heiress

Heels- FSP

Prune: Let’s talk fashion. What are your three favorite trends at the moment?

Ashley: I like the monochromatic look, wearing all one color. I love it, it looks good on everybody. I love the full eyebrow trend that is happening, they look so good and enhance your face. I like that the style is very baggy for women right now. It’s fun because men’s fashion is getting tighter and women’s is getting looser. I think it’s sexy.

Prune: Time to Prune It. What current fashion trend would you like to eliminate?

Ashley: The diamonds on the teeth are extra. Also, maybe it is already dying out, but really high hats like the one Pharrell wore.

Prune: Will there be a Season 2 of Dear White People?

Ashley: We don’t know yet, but hopefully.


THE EDITORS

MICHAEL BISHOP

EDITOR IN CHIEF

& FOUNDER

EST. 2016

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

SINCE 2018

MIKE RUIZ

SENIOR BEAUTY & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

SINCE 2016

DYLAN JADER