Actress Ashley Olivia Talks About Her New Drama The System Now Streaming on KweliTV
The System is a 30-minute drama that showcases Black and Brown teens navigating police officers who racially profile them. The drama is meant to allow viewers, especially parents a way to navigate the conversation about race and police brutality to their growing teens. Instead of using inner-city settings, the drama focuses more on suburban areas and compares minority teens to white teens and how the police handle them differently. Meet Ashely Olivia, who stars in The System as a teen who is stopped by the police. She talked exclusively to Fabulize about her career, being racially profiled and attending the famous LaGuardia High School in New York City.
Fabulize: You attended LaGuardia High School which is known for producing great creatives. How did your high school experience prepare you for the TV and film industry?
AO: LaGuardia High School was a major vessel for my foundation in acting. Its curriculum was intense and exposed students to some forms of how the industry works. We rehearsed for long periods after school, ran shows for a certain about of time, and still had to audition for certain productions. It brought that rigor and core
sense of what we would expect if you wanted to really pursue the career.
Fabulize: How did you get booked to star in The System?
AO: My booking for the role was the same as any other. My manager at the time notified me of the audition. I went in for the role of Alicia and got a callback for the lead role Donna. The day after callbacks I got a call from my reps saying I booked and I was elated!
Fabulize: In our current political climate, were you hesitant to star in a movie about police violence against minorities?
AO: I was actually more intrigued to be apart of a show that depicts what my people go through and have been going through in this country. It’s remarkable and also saddens me that much hasn’t changed.
Fabulize: Have you ever been racially profiled?
AO: I have been racially profiled in Brooklyn, New York. I went to a graduation party and right after I was pulled over for having my tailgate lights out. They approached the car with three vehicles and had high-beamed flashlights all over the car area. They had this demeanor as if they wanted to find something in a full vehicle with young black people in it. The tailgate was a way to see if they could find liquor or any illegal substance in my car, which they did not. It was an alarming night on how everything works in this society.
Fabulize: What do you want viewers to take away from this short film?
AO: I want viewers to simply relate. The main idea for me is to relate and have solutions on what we as people can do moving forward.
Fabulize: Who are three of your favorite actors?
AO: This is such a hard question but in no particular order I would have to say, Tom Hanks, Angela Basset, and Regina King.
Fabulize: What’s your favorite song right now?
AO: I have been listening to some great music lately and I would have to say Jhene Aiko’s “Lightning and Thunder” ft. John Legend.
Fabulize: What’s the best way to explain racially profiling to kids and teens?
AO: For me explaining racial profiling is simply stating how there is still ignorance during these modern times and people feel a threat. There is this notion that minorities are the only ones that need to be targeted. I want teens and children to know it’s not your character they are judging, it’s your color. For that, you have to be wiser, move accordingly, and spread awareness.
Fabulize: What’s next for you?
AO: I have plans to explore more opportunities in different cities other than New York. Atlanta is a city I am gearing up to go to next!
Fabulize: As a busy actress, what three beauty products can you not live without?
AO: I am not a beauty girl. I only wear makeup when I feel it’s necessary. I do always carry a Blistex, or lip gloss. I always need my lips moisturized. I always have perfume because I am big on smell. My favorite is Gucci Bloom right now. I have always been a wash your face every morning and night person and I use Murad for my facial products.