Ashley Hinshaw Interview -- Meet Miley's On-Screen BFF!
Let us be the first to introduce you to Ashley Hinshaw, the 21-year-old rising star who plays Miley Cyrus‘s best friend in the upcoming comedy LOL: Laughing Out Loud. (You can see pics of them filming at JustJaredJr.com. And here too!)
From Hinshaw‘s stint on Gossip Girl to what it was like working with Miley and Ashley Greene, Hinshaw tells all!
Click inside for Ashley Hinshaw‘s full interview…
JJ: You were on Gossip Girl awhile back. Who did you play?
AH: I actually played myself, coming from the fashion industry side of things. I kind of came in between Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester’s character. I kind of was the wrench that Chuck and Blair threw in their relationship. I gave Chuck somebody to think about but in the end, the joke was on me and the game they were playing. That was something they enjoy doing, so it was kind of funny.
JJ: What was it like working with Leighton?
AH: Leighton and Ed were really, really amazing. They were very down to earth, genuine, and willing to hang. They got to know me and included me in their world. Because that’s their project, so to kind of walk in as an outsider was a little nerve-wrecking. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I felt incredibly welcome right away.
JJ: And what was it like working on [the FOX series] Fringe?
AH: Fringe was really, really fun. I didn’t expect it to be though. It’s kind of a dark show. I hadn’t seen the show before I booked the job, so when I went, I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was fantastic. It was kind of my first experience in kind of the ‘big leagues’ and it was fantastic.
JJ: Did you have to audition for both of those roles?
AH: I did! I remember after I auditioned for Gossip Girl, I thought, “I’m not going to get that one”. So I got on a plane, and flew to LA and as soon as I touched down in LA, I had probably ten messages on my phone and I checked them and they’re like, “Don’t get on the plane! Don’t leave! You’ve got the job” and of course I literally didn’t leave the airport, just got on a flight and turned around and went back to New York.
JJ: Were you acting before Fringe?
AH: I moved to New York at 17 to do some modeling, so I was living between New York and Paris. I traveled all over Europe for about four years and the beginning of last year. It was an amazing experience — I got to travel all over the world and meet all sorts of people but kind of so much as the same. Nothing was really changing and I probably could have done it for many, many more years to come but I was tired of it. I was not as exciting anymore, so I was going to stop and focus. I was going to go to school in the fall but I just happened to meet up with my manager who gave me the summer and said, ‘If nothing happens in the summer, just go out and auditions. We’ll send you out and if not, you can go to school in the fall.” I thought, “No harm, no foul if nothing happens.”
JJ: Where were you born and raised?
AH: I move around quite a bit, but it was all over the Midwest. I spent most of my formative years in Indiana and my parents moved a little bit to Illinois. And then my parents moved to Wisconsin when I went to high school and then in the middle of my junior year of high school, I had the opportunity to New York with a modeling agency. I always knew I was going to leave the Midwest but didn’t really know how the opportunity would present itself. When it happened, I was like, “Yes, okay right now, I’m coming. Goodbye!”
JJ: Why did your parents move around so much?
AH: Both my parents grew up in the Midwest and then when we were in Indiana, neither one of their families weren’t in the towns we lived in, so when we moved to Wisconsin. My mom wanted to be close to her family and my dad was a traveling salesman. So he kind of had to go where it was convenient. It was only a couple of hours within each other.
JJ: So after the Midwest you went to New York to do modeling, what kind of modeling job did you book?
AH: I did a lot of hair and beauty things. I did quite a bit of fashion as well and when I got into Europe it was funny. The Americans don’t like the American look but the Europeans just eat it up. So I worked so much more in Europe than I worked in the States. But it was fantastic; you know I saw so much of the world and traveled so much at such a young age but I would never had the opportunity to do otherwise.
JJ: What was the most notable or memorable modeling gig for you? With a particular brand?
AH: I did two ad campaigns for Galeries Lafayette, which is the Bloomingdales or the really high end department store of France. The photographer was Jean-Paul Goude and he is just amazing, visionary photographer and artist. We did these really incredible artistic pictures that was probably my favorite.
JJ: After the modeling you were thinking about going back to school. Where would you have gone to school and what would you have wanted to study?
AH: Well, I didn’t want to come back to the Midwest, I knew that. I hadn’t really gotten into the ACT application process yet but I was at East Coast schools and I wanted to study something as far as possible away from the entertainment industry. I’ve always been interested in archeology and paleontology. I had some friends who went to NYU that took some of those classes. I crashed some of their big lecture halls a couple of times with them. It would be something that I would really enjoy doing.
JJ: Which area of NY did you grow up in?
AH: When I first moved to New York, I moved all over because I never knew where I would be or if I was going to Europe, so I would sublet apartments. It was miserable because I was constantly moving. When I first moved, I lived in Battery Park and then to Williamsburg, which was not really my scene. I’m not incredibly hipster. I wasn’t cool enough to handle it. Then I went back to Manhattan and lived in the Financial District for a little bit and then finally settled in the West Village which is just really where I love. I had just found the most amazing apartment and the most amazing little area in Greenwich Village and of course I moved to LA.
JJ: Of all the places you’ve lived in New York, LA, Europe, what’s your favorite?
AH: By far, hands down, Paris. I love the city and I’ve only… I’m not saying that as a “Oh Paris is so romantic” because I’ve never been there with anyone. I’ve always been on my own. So I could say legitimately I love the city. But it’s just so amazing. It’s the best city where you can just wander around and not know where you’re going.
JJ: With LOL when did you start shooting? Are you finished and where is that?
AH: Yeah! I auditioned for LOL in April or May… They first said I didn’t fit the part but three weeks later, I got a phone call asking to screen test with Miley the next day. Immediately, it just felt right between us three: Me, Miley, and the other girl who’s the best friend in the trio whose name is Lina Esco. We came to Michigan to start filming about five week ago. And we’ve been here, we’ve got another ten days in Michigan and then we go to Chicago for three days and then we go over to Paris for a week and then we’ll be all finished.
JJ: Can you tell us more about your character?
AH: I play Emily and she’s Miley’s best friend. The movie is a coming of age one, not really a comedy or drama. It has a little of everything in it. Emily is the comedic relief — this high school girl with strict parents that goes crazy on her own. She just wants to explore everything but is feeling kind of repressed from her. She’s really great and funny and I get to work closely with Austin Nichols who plays one of my teachers and Nora Dunn is my mother who is just so fantastic.
JJ: What’s your favorite scene to shoot?
AH: We shot this scene yesterday where the kids take a class trip and of course craziness ensues. Adam Sevani and I are kind of a couple in the movie and there were no parents or chaperone around. So, we go crazy and have fun.
JJ: How does your friendship with Miley on-screen compare off-screen?
AH: I didn’t know Miley before I came onto this project. I was hoping that we’d really have a real connection and we absolutely do. She is so fun to be around it’s easy to forget that she’s 17 sometimes because she’s got this great energy and she’s so dedicated to the project and to making it something new and exciting. We really have gotten to be great, great friends and I think that translates on-screen.
JJ: Do you have a favorite memory off-set between you two?
AH: A couple of days ago in the hair and makeup trailer, we talked for 1.5 hours wondering if there are aliens out in the world. She told me stories of people she knows that think aliens exist. One time, I forgot my line and I looked at her and she brought up the alien comment. It sounded so weird and so out of context but it was so funny.
JJ: What was your first impression of Ashley Greene? Are you in any scenes with her?
AH: Our characters are not friends. She’s kind of the antagonist to Miley and my character. But Ashley is really, really fantastic, really down to earth.
JJ: Is it confusing having two Ashley’s on set?
AH: So confusing! What’s even more confusing is I am Ashley playing Emily and Ashley Greene is Ashley playing Ashley. So it is really confusing. Every time Ashley is called, five different people answer but it’s really funny.
JJ: Have you have any scenes with Tanz Watson?
AH: Yeah! Tanz is one of the group’s young friends and Tanz and I don’t have a lot of interactions between our characters but he’s such a great, great guy and again he’s down to earth. Tanz is this ripped dude and he goes gym three times a day. A little over the necessity level but we’ve been working out together, so I’ve gotten to know him well. He’s very talented I think that he’s got a big career ahead of him.
JJ: Awesome. Do you have a favorite prop from set?
AH: I have a least favorite prop! I have this red purse that is kind of… it’s Emily’s purse and she wears it everywhere and it is just… it’s not that it is just a cute purse, it’s a great bag but it’s so big and so kind of cumbersome and I’m always, always wearing it in almost every scene in the movie and as soon as I hear cut, the bag is dropped to the ground. I cannot, I never want to see that bag again in my entire life.
JJ: Obviously the title is an acronym ‘LOL’ are there like a whole bunch of acronyms used in the movie? Like ‘BRB’…
AH: No, you know, there aren’t. I kind of thought there was going to be and I wasn’t so sure how that would go but no. But Miley’s character’s name is Lola and so her nickname is Lol. So it kind of works for both things so it’s like laughing out loud but it also stands for Miley’s character. So we had to make sure that quite a few times in the movie instead of calling her Lola, we called her Lol so hopefully the audience could put two and two together.
JJ: Thanks so much for speaking with me. And good luck on the rest of your shoot!
AH: Thank you so much.
Synopsis: In a world connected by YouTube, iTunes, and Facebook, Lola (Cyrus) and her friends navigate the peer pressures of high school romance and friendship while dodging their sometimes overbearing and confused parents.