Home arrow Interviews arrow Interviews arrow ASHLEY HOLLIDAY TALKS ABOUT HER NEW SERIES HUGE!

(All Photos Courtesy of ABC Family)

By: Bessie Sorge

Ashley Holliday has one huge thing in common with her co-stars of the new ABC Family series Huge.  Like Zander Eckhouse and Haley Hasselhoff, she too grew up with one of her parents working in the entertainment industry. In fact, when she was around two years old she appeared as a baby on the TV series Miami Vice. It wasn't until several years later that Ashley really took a liking to being an entertainer. "I think it actually hit when I was around eight," she told us in a recent interview. "I decided that I couldn’t do nothing else other than sing, dance or act."

Ashley studied several techniques while attending the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, taking away a deep love for the Meisner technique. "I was taught by Robert Carnegie, who is the king of Meisner," she explained. "It changed my acting completely and it made me want to be a better actress."

The cast of ABC Family's HUGE

The training and background Ashley received helped her land a role in the new ABC Family series Huge. "It was like a month and a half of waiting to hear if I’m testing or not for the show," she explained of the audition process. "I wanted it so badly that I think I just put in my mind that I was going to test because I couldn’t possibly think it was going to be any other way."

When Ashley first auditioned for a part on the show, she read for the role of Amber, which ended up in the hands of Haley Hasselhoff. Instead, Ashley was gifted with a more complex character, Chloe. "I was actually up for a different part at the beginning of it and ended up getting Chloe," she gushed. "I can’t even tell you how happy I am. She is the best character."


Throughout the season viewers have seen Chloe struggle with several issues after returning for her second year at the camp. She lost a lot of weight and was feeling super confident about her return and wanted to finally become the popular girl. Things didn't necessarily go as planned and many secrets were brought out in the process, with the biggest secret being that her fraternal twin brother was attending the camp too.

Keep reading to see what Ashley had to say about her character, her co-stars and much more!

Which part did you originally go out for?

I was originally testing for Amber. Hayley is amazing at it. I love the way she does it. We did it two different ways. I really, really love the way she handled Amber and what she brings to it. It’s vulnerable and sweet and so amazingly endearing. She’s so good. I couldn’t be happier for her.


Can you talk about a little about the show and how your character kind of fits into it all?

“Huge” is the show is about six kids at weight loss camp. My character was at camp last year and lost weight, quite a bit of weight. Going from being heavily over-weight to being curvier - that’s the process Chloe’s gone through - so within all that, she’s decided she’s going to be somebody else. She lost this weight and doesn’t want to be who she was last year. She doesn’t want to be the dorky girl that wears glasses and hangs out with the dorky kids. She really, really wants to be the cool kid because she’s never gotten to be the cool kid. She never had that opportunity and this is her chance to do that. It just means so much to her and it means that she is horribly mean to her brother and stuff like that. That’s how much it means to her, that she needs to push away every single thing that reminds her of what she was, and Alistair is like the biggest part of that. He reminds her in every way of what she was, the summer before and years before that. So she comes back to camp this year and it’s just queen bee, queen bee, queen bee of camp and then Amber comes and kind of takes over a little and she’s not sure what to do, and then Dixie comes back, so everything’s fine.

At first Amber like the rival within the camp for Chloe and yet she becomes best friends with her.

I don’t particularly love Amber in the first couple of episodes, but Kaitlin leaves and I think from Chloe’s perspective it was like, "Oh, my God, I don’t have anybody. What am I going to do?" And the closest thing I have, and it sounds terrible, but the closest thing I have to another cool girl at this camp (is Amber). It’s like a sacrifice. I just had to hang out with Amber. And then we had become really good friends, and understood each other. When Chloe really softens up and takes somebody in and trusts them, she can be a really good friend and really trustworthy, and she sticks up for the people she cares about.


Wwas there any pressure taking on the controversial "weight" subject in the form of a television series? Because, you know, Hollywood has been all about looks for who know how long.


Yeah, forever. Were you ever pressured taking on this show or is it something that you really wanted to shed light on?

I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. It was like a couple of weeks before we started filming. I had a couple weeks to think about the role and think about the part and think about the show and my gut and everything I felt like was this show is going to, even if it’s a small number of people, it’s going to change a lot people and it’s going to make them see that just because you don’t have Megan Fox’ body, even though that is beautiful, you’re not not just as beautiful as she is. And that would kind of get into my head and I was really hoping that that’s what would come off of it, rather than people being like, "Oh, my God, it’s a show about fat kids." You know what I mean? I think that the reception has been that, it has been what I hoped for; that people are saying that this show is good for kids, that this show is good for America in general because it’s so hard to see people everyday in the media, you know, celebrities that are 102 pounds, it’s not realistic for a lot of people. And at this point realistic is what we’re starting to get to. It’s more like what people actually look like rather than creations of people that who work really, really hard to maintain that body weight and that’s totally great and beautiful and more power to them, but you're not realistic for a lot of people and it’s really hard to see that everyday. I did it. I grew up that way and seeing really, really thin women being the people you put on the pedestal. It’s hard to grow up that way and I’m really grateful and glad that the show has people like Hayley and Raven and Nikki and me to show young girls you don’t have to be like that. It is not what you have to be like to be beautiful.

I think the biggest misconception going into a show that has the title “Huge” is that people think that that’s what it’s going to be about, but it’s really not. Can you talk a little bit about some of the underlying factors that really take precedence of the show?

The show was written by Winnie Holzman, who did “My So Called Life”, which is my favorite show of all times. To do a show by Winnie Holzman is just a dream and her daughter, Savannah Dooley. I agree with you. Of course, when you first hear about the show, you think it’s going to be about the weight loss, it’s going to be about these getting to a certain weight, a goal or something like that, but once the show starts it’s like, oh, this is about people dealing with who they are, who they want to be or don’t want to be, who they want to hang out with or don’t want to hang out with. My favorite part - because I have such a hard time with this growing up - is people finding out who they are. I love that there are no right answers. None of these people are necessarily good or bad. They’re people and they’re just trying to figure out who they are. It's a journey. I think that’s what we’re going through at this point is all these characters are half way through their journey at the end of this first season and are still really trying to figure out what they want and who they are, and if the things they’re doing is good or bad, especially Chloe.


What are some of your favorite qualities and some of your least favorite qualities in your character?

I love Chloe’s confidence. I love her ability to, because I’m not really like this, her ability to really shut somebody up when she wants to. I’m not good at that, just being very blunt. She will stand up for her friends and is really loyal, horribly loyal and I love that. I love that in a character. I think the worst (quality in) Chloe, which I definitely have tons in me, is just not being confident enough to accept who you really are and trying to blend in with what you think is appropriate. I have done that a lot. Of course, everybody has in life and it’s hard to do because I’ve seen so much of it in myself. I think that’s why I connect so much to Chloe. She’s going the not to be that nice to people route. It’s really sad to me and it’s hard to do sometimes, especially when I have a scene with Harvey and he’s crying and I feel like I’m just the worst person in the world, but it’s realistic. It’s what people are like.

Have there been any funny moments behind the scenes on the show?

Oh, yes. It’s constant on that set. We have a really amazing crew and cast, we just all really, really love each other and we have a lot of fun when we’re not working. Ari and Jacob are the pranksters. Where we shoot sometimes, there are snakes in the pit. So one day, I don’t know where they got this, but they found a rubber snake and went up to Nikki when she was just in a moment of concentration and not paying attention. Ari just puts it in her face and I’ve never heard somebody scream so loudly. It was so amazing. I forgot what she said, but she was just furious. She had no idea what it was. She thought it was an actual snake and it was just a beautiful, beautiful moment. Everybody on the crew just stopped and watched what happened, like she was going to attack Ari and then she started laughing. It’s like that all the time on set, all the time.

Is anybody capturing this on film because that would have been a hysterical blooper reel?

Harvey, I don’t think he caught that, but he has a bunch of videos that he took of just behind the scenes stuff of us being insane and crazy. I think it’s supposed to be on the ABC Family Website, but I haven’t seen them anywhere.


What was it like meeting the parents of each of the characters?

It's parent’s visiting day. The most interesting thing to read this script and actually see some of the actors that we’re getting playing our parents. We’re all like, oh, my God, who’s going to be our mom, who’s going to be our dad? It’s seeing where these kids come from, you know, you’ve been with these kids for eight episodes and you see them developing, but you don’t really know where they’ve come from. You don’t know their home life. To see Trent’s dad and Chloe and Alistair’s parents and especially Amber’s mom, that’s probably the biggest one for me, that resonates the most with me, and just really feel where they come from and why they are the way they are. It’s really, really interesting. There’s so many funny moments that happen because of how they feel around their parents and the people they have to be around their parents, it’s so interesting and the dynamics get so amazing. I love my mom and my dad. I love Leandro Cana, who played my dad. We hit it off right away. It was immediate. I don’t know why, but I automatically had that father/daughter thing with him and we’ve seen each since at a barbeque. All of us had that. We all had an amazing camaraderie with our parents. We all really got along with our parents.

Do you feel you know your character kind of a little bit better now seeing where she came from?

Absolutely! We don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen from week to week when we’re shooting, so it was interesting to open up this script and read about our parents and see how they react to us and what they say about us and stuff like that. It's great to see the base of the person and I think you really, really see that. You really see that there’s a definite difference in the relationship with our parents. He’s more of a momma’s boy and I’m more of a daddy’s girl, and it's very delineated. It just gives you a lot of information about your characters.


Now what’s some of the feedback that you’ve received from the fans so far?

I got a Facebook message the other night from a woman. It was like 11:30 at night and I was reading it on my phone and I couldn’t stop. She was saying that her twelve year old daughter didn’t want to audition for a school play because she was Mexican and she felt like she wasn’t going to fit in with the rest of the cast. She was watching the birthday episode and told her mom, “Mom I’m actually going to audition for the play because Chloe is Mexican and she’s on the “Huge” show.” And she said that she didn’t think that Chloe was a bad person, that she just had a really big heart and couldn’t express herself the way she wanted to. The mother was saying how much the show means to her and her daughter. and how it affected her daughter and her daughter’s life and how the daughter now feels like she can do what she wants to do. And that’s happened before, you know, girls saying that they’ve always been overweight and made fun of for it and now they feel like they can start seeing that confidence. That’s the most gratifying thing I can think of and I’ve gotten many like that. I mean, girls from Alaska and Michigan, it’s an amazing thing. I cry every time I read one.

If the show gets picked up, where would you like to see your character go from here?

I don’t think she’s ready to be what people want her to be, the girl who accepts her brother, accepts Becka. I think that she’s got a long way to go, but I would like to see her start to really figure out that the things she’s doing are wrong and start to have to grapple with that and decide who she wants to be. And I would like to see that throughout that last half (of the season). Also, her relationship with Trent. I’ve heard a couple of steaming things that they kind of ready to go maybe for the second half of the season with Trent and they’re really good. So, I cannot wait to see how that really progresses.

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JUNE 6-9, 2013

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