Editor - Michael St. Michael @michaelstmichael
Interview - Dylan Jader @dylanjader
Photo - Storm Santos @stormshoots
Wardrobe - Jessica Hinke @jessicahinklestyle
MUA - Erik Torppe @eriktorppe Hair - Olajide @everythingolajide
Prune: You were scouted at age 14 and moved to LA. Describe this experience.
Ally: I grew up performing. When I was 14, I was invited to an acting class and my mom took me – my mom has always been incredibly supportive of me. We went, and it was for a manager that would scout kids from all over the United States to come out and live with her. I was supposed to only go for the summer for a boot camp situation, but I ended up never coming back home. My first job was on That’s So Raven – that was my opportunity to do what I love and I never looked back.
Prune: You’ve now been in the industry for 15 years, but you had your start with small roles including That’s So Raven, ER, and My Wife and Kids. Do you remember those experiences?
Ally: Yes, absolutely. At that time, it was my own version of high school. When you’re young, you have onset guardians and a certain number of hours at school, so yeah, when I was 14 I was going to school with Raven Symoné. It was an interesting experience.
Prune: Fast forward to today and you now star in TBS’ Wrecked. Talk to me about your character, Jess.
Ally: Jess is so awesome. She’s your all-American girl, going through everything a modern girl goes through – dating, sexuality, finding your voice. I call the first season ‘finding her inner Beyoncé’ because she’s having her Lemonade moment with Todd. She’s feisty, a little naïve at times, and a total hopeless romantic. I love her journey of finding her strengths as an independent woman on this island, and figuring out her priorities. She’s kind of a hot mess, but I love that about her too.
Dress and jacket:
Prune: If you were stranded on a deserted island in real life, would you survive?
Ally: Oh God. What is funny is there was a cast interview where they asked ‘who would you eat first?’ and everyone said me. I think I can hold my own, but, I don’t know if I’d survive. Filming in Fiji was very empowering for me, because we were away from our friends and family for three months. I kicked some butt there, so I actually will say, I’m your underdog.
Prune: Which castmate would you bring with you to be stranded?
Ally: We’re all so close it’s insane. I would probably say Brooke Dillman who plays Karen. She’s the most kickass hilarious woman I’ve ever met in my life – she is my spirit animal.
Prune: We also recently binge watched you as Ikumi in Dear White People. The show created a lot of buzz, quickly. Talk to me about the impact it’s had.
Ally: I’m so honored to be a part of that show. It’s created this world where you’re getting perspectives from each character, and I think that is a phenomenally genius way of telling the story. I’ve never had so many messages and outreaches – people in the Asian-American community are just so excited Ikumi exists in the crew. I’m there to create that representation in the story. It’s groundbreaking, and really important.
Dress: Charles & Ron @charlesandron
Shoes: Asos @asos_us
Earrings: Proud Mary Fashion: @proudmaryfashion
Prune: Dear White People is more of a drama while Wrecked is comedy. Which genre do you prefer?
Ally: They’re a lot more similar than you would think. They’re both dealing with high-stake situations – you’re dealing with people stranded on an island, and you’re also dealing with race relations in college. With both of them, I try to play the reality of it as much as I can. When it came to characters, I knew I had to play Jess and Ikumi – these are women that are so me – what they’re going through, their struggle, it’s reality and I knew I needed to tell their story.
Prune: You’re Japanese and an advocate to break barriers for Asian-American actors. Why do you think this is still a discussion in 2017?
Ally: For the Asian-American community, I think we’re just learning how to find our voice. I found a lot of confidence through the power of social media. I feel like we’re at a point where we’re able to make our own content, and that is something brand new. I put myself out there, 100 percent me, and people are liking that. It’s an exciting time, and I think things are slowly but surely starting to change.
Prune: What barriers do you aim to break as an advocate?
Ally: Being a woman in the industry, you have to work ten times as hard, and then being ethnic on top of it, you have to work another ten times as hard. I think that if we all come together and support each other – support is the number one thing. I think what is great about the Dear White People cast is that the way they support each other is phenomenal, and you feel that spirit. It’s infectious.
Prune: We’ll finish on a fun topic – fashion. What is your everyday style?
Ally: Lately I’ve been going back to the basics. Jeans, a simple black top, baseball caps. I’m all about the comfort first. If you’re comfortable, you’ll feel your best.
Prune: What are your three favorite fashion trends at the moment?
Ally: Slides, I’ve been wearing flare jeans a lot, and a good mini backpack.
Prune: Time to pop culture prune. What current fashion-beauty-lifestyle trend would you like to eliminate?
Ally- Saying "yaasssss" to everything. I say it more than anyone I know. Might have to retire it soon.