PHOTOGRAPHY BY RIE RASMUSSEN
INTERVIEW BY KATINA GOULKAOS
Imagista talks with the Londoner Ashley Madekwe. Ashley plays Detective Eudora Patch on the Netflix hit series, “The Umbrella Academy” that’s streaming now. The series, based on the acclaimed Dark Horse comic series, has an incredible cast and is drawing rave reviews from fans and critics alike.
Imagista: Where are you from?
Ashley Madekwe: I grew up in South East London
Imagista: Where are you currently based?
Ashley Madekwe: I have lived in Los Angeles for about eight years now.
Imagista: How did you get your start in acting?
Ashley Madekwe: I’ve been acting for years, I started when I was about thirteen or fourteen but my professional career began at age sixteen with the film, “Storm Damage”
Imagista: Was is something your family was supportive of?
Ashley Madekwe: It’s not that my family wasn’t supportive it is just that they didn’t want me to work professionally at such a young age. They wanted me to wait and to be honest, I am happy they did.
Imagista: Are they supportive of your career now?
Ashley Madekwe: They are very supportive they just wanted me to focus on school and being a kid. When you are a child actor you need to have your parents on set with you and for my parents that wasn’t an option. It made getting my first gig that much more special, I was really excited.
Imagista: You’ve been in some pretty popular television series such as Revenge and Salem as well as having lead roles in Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Bedlam. Can you tell me about what you learned from each of these projects?
Ashley Madekwe: Every role I have ever had has taught me something new. Every set I have been on has given me more and more experience. For me, what excites me about playing new characters is the research. When I was on Secret Diary of a Call Girl I had to interview various call girls and get into their minds and truly understand them.
Playing a role well is often times credited to your ability to do good research. Every actor has their way of getting into character and mine is with research and costume.
Imagista: Is it hard to separate your work life from your real life?
Ashley Madekwe: That is something I am still working on, I don’t really separate the two. I guess its a closure thing, I really enjoy being in character and giving each character my all.
Imagista: You have also done some film work, can you tell me what the difference between film and television is?
Ashley Madekwe: Both are creatively fulfilling for me. The main difference used to be time. Films typically shoot fewer pages in a day than TV. But I think that’s changed now. TV budgets have increased and shows often are shot just as dynamically as movies. The way I approach a role in either TV or film is the same. I always give 100%.
Imagista: You play Detective Patch in “The Umbrella Academy”. What was that experience like for you?
Ashley Madekwe: The show is really a lot of fun, it is whacky and completely off the wall. There is already a big following because of the comic books and I think a lot of fans are looking forward to seeing how we bring it to life.
The life on set has been amazing, there is really a wonderful cast and a lot of strong female roles, which I think our viewers will enjoy. There are a lot of great scenes with Mary J. Blige. She is awesome, she is so down to earth and funny, it was truly an honor to have been able to work with her.
Imagista: Can you tell me a little bit more about Detective Patch?
Ashley Madekwe: Eudora, which is her first name is pretty awesome. She is very driven, she is feisty and arrogant, however, her cockiness is not without reason. She is the smartest person in the room and worked hard to get to where she is.
Imagista: Do you feel like you have any similarities to your character?
Ashley Madekwe: Yes, Eudora is Type A, she does things by the book and I can relate to that!
Imagista: As someone who has successfully broken into this industry, what advice do you have for young women looking to follow in your footsteps?
Ashley Madekwe: That’s a good question. I would say my best piece of advice is to focus on the work and to pay attention to the material. So much that happens in this industry is based on luck which is why you shouldn’t get down on yourself when you don’t book a job. People need to understand that in this business you will hear no a lot more than you will hear yes.
Imagista: I am sure a lot of people look at you and your career and think that you have never been rejected. Have you gotten rejected throughout your career?
Ashley Madekwe: Yes, almost every day. I myself need to be reminded of that advice. It is easy to think that you suck when you are not the one in control. People need to understand that it does not have to do with anything besides not fitting someone else’s vision of who should be playing that certain role. If you do your job, prepare of the audition and focus on the work, you are doing everything you can be doing.
Imagista: We live in a world that is centered around social media, do you find people put a little too much pressure on themselves to look a certain way online?
Ashley Madekwe: Absolutely, I think it links to what we were talking about young girls seeing me and thinking I have never gotten any “no’s” when that is far from the truth.
Honestly, I have taken a step back from social media and when I do use it I try to use it in a positive way and try to engage with my followers but not engage too much in the negative comments, but I am only human and sometimes those comments get the best of me.
I really enjoy the message feature on Instagram and try to respond to my fans as much as possible. I have had some of my greatest debates on Instagram. I am happy when someone challenges me and I can engage in an intelligent and respectful debate, I think it is very refreshing.
Imagista: I always like to end my interviews with a fun fact about our subjects, can you tell us one thing that we can’t find about you on google?
Ashley Madekwe: I LOVE Karaoke. People may not know this about me but I am a really talented rapper, well actually, I am really talented at rapping other peoples rhymes. My go-to karaoke rap is “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice or “One More Chance” by The Notorious B.I.G. I also love doing the rap verse in Waterfalls but someone needs to do the other parts!