( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Foushlee Joined The Kids In The Spotlight NonProfit
ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya
Actress Ashlei Foushee you may have seen on the TV screens or theater. She is an LA Based writer and producer, who was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri. Her passion for art knows no bounds and has transpired her career in film and TV. A few of her accomplishments in the entertainment industry include her appearance in A Little White Lie with Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, and Kate Hudson, and the SXSW award-winning films Jinn (2018), and B*\ Ass** (2022). Her TV opportunities include HBO’s Ballers (2019) and CBS’s SWAT (2020) and was cast as a semi-professional dancer in an episode of Jane The Virgin!
Currently, Foushee is acting alongside Peter Facinelli, Asher Angel, and Lance Henriksen in “On Fire”, a real-life story of the Paradise fires. The film premiered in 700 theaters AMC on September 29th. “On Fire” highlights a family trying to survive the wildfire in the woods and the firefighters’ struggle and bravery to protect them.
Foushee received her BFA in Theater Performance from Chapman University and a BA in Screenwriting from Dodge College of Film and Media Studies. She became a Latin Honor graduate and O.L. Halsell Scholar. Her talent stems from her training in classical ballet, performing professionally with the Moscow Ballet Theatre. Worked for the St. Louis International Film Festival and was a counselor for Washington University’s Diversity Arts Program- arts edu for unprivileged youth. Later down the road in her acting career, her mentor Academy Award-winning producer Cathy Schulman guided her to stardom.
Ashlei Foushee will be discussing life in St. Louis, her interest in film and TV, her mentorship with Cathy Schulman, dancing for the Moscow Ballet Theatre, her acting career and productions, and more!
Tell us about your life in St. Louis, when did you start gaining interest in TV and Film?
St. Louis is a small-town vibe. I grew up with a great sense of community and I appreciate it more now that I’ve been away for so long. I started being interested in TV and Film from my first video tapes. I loved all the Mary Kate and Ashley movies and I was obsessed with the 1980’s Annie with Bernadette Peters and Carol Burnett. I just wanted to be in the orphanage singing and dancing along to It’s a Hard Knock Life. I knew that’s where I belonged. My parents noticed that passion and put me in dance class. I’m forever grateful.
Tell us about your mentorship with Cathy Schulman, and how her assistance has helped your career.
Cathy is such an inspiring woman. Her passion and her eye for impactful stories are something I deeply admire. I would say her advice on how to take control and have agency as a woman in this industry will always be invaluable to me.
How was dancing at the Moscow Ballet Theatre, did this inspire you to learn other types of dancing?
I think being cast in the Moscow Ballet killed my imposter syndrome. I learned early on that I do belong and I am good enough to be a part of things that maybe previously I felt I wasn’t. The work that goes into dance, especially ballet, is rigorous and requires so much focus and dedication. I use everything I learned from dancing and apply that to acting. And yes! I also do a little hip hop as well, nothing crazy but I’m just starting to get back into it!
What productions have you written and what was their impact on you and viewers?
I actually majored in Screenwriting in college. I’ve got so many scripts sitting around screaming out to be produced. I’m just finishing up a feature script that I’m going to focus on producing in 2024.
Go over your acting journey, and what were the highs and lows you had to learn in the entertainment industry?
It’s an almost impossible industry so too many highs and lows to count. I will say I’ve gotten very good at handling rejection. A couple of highs would honestly boil down to the great projects I’ve been blessed to be a part of. My first feature Jinn, will always be my favorite job I’ve ever worked because of how beautiful the story is and the real-life relationships I made during the filming. Also, being a part of HBO’s Ballers in the 6th season was a dream come true. It’s one of my favorite shows so when I learned I was going to be recurring on its last season, I had to pinch myself!
What are some ways you self-care and prep for performances?
I definitely value my alone time. Before I start work on a job, I need a couple of days to just read, study, and sit with myself and my emotions. That way I can be fully present and prepared when I get to set.
Explain to us how you got the role in “On Fire” and what audiences can prepare to see and feel when watching it.
I had a meeting with the director and he vibed with my approach to the character, the rest was history! The one thing I would love for audiences to take away would be awareness. Our film deals with the harsh realities of forest fires and the effects of natural disasters. I think the more people know the more we can do in the future to minimize the fallout of these tragic events.
What are some myths people have about TV sets and Film production? What actually happens?
I think a lot of people think Hollywood is all glitz and glamour. It is not. It’s passion, hard work, sweat, tears, and more tears! I love what I do though, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Any tips or tricks in acting to bring out the best performance?
Tap into the truth. The best performers always find themselves in the character, that way it can be genuine. When you’re “acting” people can tell!
Foushee joined the nonprofit, Kids In The Spotlight, a program that provides film and arts education for foster children in LA. She also spends her time volunteering at soup kitchens and catering for Habit Against Humanity. For more information on Ashlei Foushee go visit her site. To view the trailer for “On Fire” click below. Follow her Instagram for more updated news on her acting and productions.