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Erica Ash’s passion for acting leads to TV success

Stars in “Survivor’s Remorse”, “Real Husbands of Hollywood” and upcoming “Shades of Blue”

Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein has been a contributing arts & entertainment writer for the Banner since 2009. VIEW BIO
Erica Ash’s passion for acting leads to TV success
Erica Ash (Photo: Photo courtesy of Starz)

If there was a competition for the hardest-working actress in Hollywood, Erica Ash would certainly qualify. With two television series under her belt this year and a third debuting in 2016, the former pre-med student is certain to become a household name.

The actress is back this month as Bridgette Hart, Kevin Hart’s ex-wife on BET’s faux-reality comedy the “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” She also appears as the outspoken Mary Charles a.k.a. ‘M-Chuck’ Calloway on the Starz series “Survivor’s Remorse.” And in early 2016, she is set to appear in her third television series, NBC’s legal crime drama “Shades of Blue,” starring Jennifer Lopez.

On a recent promotional tour for “Survivor’s Remorse,” Erica Ash discusses trusting her instincts, loving her work and what’s in store for M-Chuck on the second season.

Congratulations on the success of both the “Real Husbands of Hollywood” and “Survivor’s Remorse.” How does it feel being on two hit shows?

Erica Ash: Well, actually, it’s three now, and it feels amazing. It’s very validating, especially for me, because this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. I went to school at Emory [University] and I was pre-med, and that was the track that I was on — there was no question about it. My parents just knew that I was going to be a doctor. I was very adept at the whole mathematics and science field, but I was not as interested as I probably should have been in order to pursue a career in medicine. I just wasn’t that sure it was for me. Being in this field now, and having made this switch in secret actually — because I did it and didn’t tell my parents until I had sort of been in it for about year — it validates my choice, it validates me being true to myself and what I felt was right for me, which completely went against their plans. It feels amazing, and I think it goes to show you that you can follow your passion, that you can be true to yourself and that you can be successful.

You mentioned that you’re on “Shades of Blue” this fall. How did that come about and how are you balancing all of these shows?

EA: Thanks to baby Jesus for timing. [Laughs] Honestly, it just boils down to timing. The shows don’t shoot at the same time, and that’s how I was able to win with this. “Real Husbands” shot from October to January. And then from March to June was “Survivor’s Remorse,” and then from July through October is “Shades of Blue.” See how slowly I had to tell you that? I’m telling you that slowly because in my head I’m calculating. It just worked out because of timing. And then when it doesn’t, I have wonderful people in place to deal with that. My agents and my lawyers roll up their sleeves and figure out how to make everybody happy, me included. I enjoy my job so much I don’t mind working year-round. It’s not something that I loathe doing. Unfortunately, that happens to be the story for many people, not just Americans, but around the world. You end up working to just make your life work and you don’t like what you do. I love what I do, so it’s not a problem.

I’ve watched the show [Survivor’s Remorse] since the first episode. The chemistry just jumps right out at you and it feels that you guys are really a family and it feels truly genuine and authentic. Did you spend time together or is it something that happened organically?

EA: I think a bit of both. Kim Coleman, the casting director for this project, did a phenomenal job of choosing not only the people who were right for the characters, but personalities that were right for the chemistry that they wanted this family to have. From day one, everybody in the cast clicked. It just happened and that’s not something that happens all the time. I’ve been in several casts even before these three shows, and it’s hit or miss. It really is. The job of the casting director is [not only] choosing the best person for the role, but to go above and beyond and be able to magically find cast members that are great for the role but are actually really great for each other — that’s a different level of casting. We did not have to work at this. However, the more we work together the tighter our bonds become. On camera, off camera, while we’re shooting, we always have a blast.

One of the great things about the show is your role as M-Chuck. I love her character. She has no fear. She’s aggressive. She’s smart. She’s funny and protective of her family. Also, I started to see a lot more vulnerability in her during the season. What can we expect from M-Chuck in season two?

EA: I think you’ll see a lot more of that. I think you’ll see a lot more of M-Chuck’s vulnerable side. You’ll see a little bit more girlie action for M-Chuck. She’s going to cause a few issues and she’s going to put herself in some situations. M-Chuck is going to be M-Chuck whether it’s season one or season 20. I feel that M-Chuck is always going to bring the fire. She’s going to cause a raucous, or four or five, and you’ll watch her deal with that and watch the family deal with her, and with that. And, you’ll see how our family takes care of each other. You’ll see how our family gets through money situations and makes sure that everybody gets out of the fire.

You’re able do this range of characters. Have you been able to think about what’s next or are you just in the moment?

EA: I do like to stay in the moment as much as possible, but there’s always this subconscious part of me that is the businesswoman, so you kind of have to stay a couple of steps ahead. I’m definitely interested in courting more film roles. I’m open to receiving different film scripts and I have been receiving several film scripts and reading through, and I think that may be my next thing. I don’t think there’s room in my schedule. [Laughs] I feel like with film I can kind of go in and out. There’s a break between the shows. I can do them. My thing is to just work. I love the expression of my work. I love the creativity of my work. I love being able to put a little bit of me into each of my characters and allowing the characters to draw a little out of me each time. I feel like I can be a kick-ass action-figure. I feel like I can be a Marvel girl or a ‘Kill Bill’ or a Charlie’s Angel chick. I can be an ingénue in a film. I’m so open to that, but I’m very, very much interested in trying my hand more in the film industry now, along with my TV career.