FreeForm’s upcoming drama series Motherland: Fort Salem is days away from making their premiere. Motherland is highly anticipated and the premise of the series involves a good blend of women who are training in the military while they are using magic. It is also set in the future and I recently got the chance to interview one of the stars of the series and she is Ashley Nicole Williams. We talk about her upbringing, how she got the chance to be on Motherland, her favorite memories in Vancoover from where the show was shot, and much more in this exclusive interview.
What was it like for you when you grew up in Dallas, TX?
Ashley: “Dallas is definitely home. Even though I consider myself an L.A. girl now, I absolutely love Texas. So I was born and raised in Dallas. It’s not country, but it’s also like you have that Southern hospitality a little bit.”
You have been acting since you were younger and you also have brothers and a sister. How did they feel once you started to pursue a career in acting?
Ashley: “I have two older brothers and one older sister and I’ve been acting since I was 5. It’s been a long time coming for a really, really big role. But they were all just over the limit for me because, they know how hard I worked. And they’d been there throughout the journey and throughout the rejections. It was just exciting for everyone, the whole family. And of course, my parents, because they’ve been part of my journey in my whole life.”
How has your life been within the last few years while you are going back and forth between acting and modeling?
Ashley: “I modeled I’d say a little bit. But I’m also in college. I go to Baylor, I modeled before I went to Baylor and then a little bit throughout my freshman year. But it kind of got hard to do both school and modeling. So then I did school at Baylor up until my first semester of sophomore year. And then I moved to L.A and I then continued online classes. So I am going to be graduating in May on time, which is amazing. But I moved out to L.A. I lived here for a while and then we filmed in Vancouver and then I went right back to school. It was like my last week of filming overlapped with my first week of school. So I was thrown right back into it. But I’m getting the degree and getting it done and that’s really cool that I can do both.”
You are playing as Abigail on Motherland. Tell me more of who Abagial is and what can we expect from Abigail
Ashley: “Abigail is a very alpha-female driven queen bee intelligent. She comes from a very high power in the military families and she also comes from a long lineage of lieutenants and generals and she has a lot to prove and has a lot to live up to. Abigail is thinking “Hey, I’m the best. I trained my whole life in this way” and she needs to realize that she has to work with other people that she thinks is in her way to get to where she ultimately needs to be. Literally, when I read the script and the pilot they sent me over, I ran to my mom and told her that ‘I have to be part of this because this is so fraking cool’. I had an instant shock to it and I cannot wait for everyone to see what Abigail will do on Motherland.”
Since Demetria is playing as a Anacostia, who is the sergent, will we see both of your characters in a power struggle since she is a high ranking member of that military?
Ashley: “Abigail definitely challenges Anacostia. I think they just dropped something else right now on the Motherland page. I saw it on Facebook, but it literally shows a sneak peek of one of our little towers. It’s about Anacostia. And you can see me charging at her with the the spear. Yeah, it’s definitely Abigail. She’s like, I am about whether I came for this. I know what I’m doing. Abigail is like ‘I know what I’m doing and why are you trying to tell me what to do?’ There definitely will be a power struggle during this season.”
Can you run down some of the stunt work you and the cast have done while you were all acting our your scenes?
Ashley: “We definitely had a stunt coordinator who we trained with, and so prior to filming the pilot, we trained for three weeks. As you see in some of the trailers with whips in our hands, that becomes our first weapon, which is called the surge. So definitely we had to train and learn how to use that. It’s freaking awesome and it was also hard because sometimes you hit yourself in the face and that’s not fun. But we definitely train and we have a lot of fight scenes during the week and on the weekends, we have a little break. We also learned the choreography, fight scenes and stuff later. So we did some training. And I hope it shows because that that was some fun!”
While you were in Vancouver, did you had time to explore the area when you were not on set?
Ashley: “Yes. So I went to Squamish, which is almost an hour away from Vancouver. Basically, it’s just like all these beautiful mountains and they have a gondola there too. You see all the water, the snow, and the beautiful landscapes and stuff like that. It blew me away and I am a sucker for beautiful views.”
What are some challengers and obstacles will we see Abigail go through during the season?
Ashley: “She has her inner struggles as well as her outter struggles with her mom. And her mom, of course, puts that pressure on her in a sense. She keeps letting Abigail know that she cannot fail this family. If she failed the family, she’ll be the first to know that she will feel like a failure about how has to live up to her name. And I think also, that put a lot of pressure on Abigail herself, because if she fails, she also fails in herself. And I think that is kind of a perfectionist way of how she thinks. She put so much pressure on herself to be the best and I don’t think she necessarily believes that she is the best because she has a lot of experience, which is kind of where that persona and the big ego get put out there to the field because she’s still so unsure.”
What are some goals you would like to accomplish within the next few years?
Ashley: “I definitely hope Motherland goes like a kajillion seasons if we could. I hope we go really far and I hope the world loves it as much as we do. And I also want to venture out into the movies and things of that nature. Maybe some drama and stuff like that. I love a good drama. I love the good cry being a good person. And in the meantime,when i’m just honing in on my craft and really working at it so I can get to where I want to be ultimately.”
Julian: “That’s really good because I hope I can see you within the next few years especially on the red carpet.”
Ashley: “Oh yes, that would be awesome. Then we’ll look at each other. We’ll be like, ‘you remember a few years ago when we did our first interview for Motherland season one?” (Laughs)