Ashley Monique Clark of 'The Hughleys' Reveals Her Favorite Thing about Working with Late Bernie Mac
“The Hughleys” alum Ashley Monique Clark, who has worked with two of the “Original Kings of Comedy” so far, realized during the pandemic that being “super busy” didn’t always mean being productive.
As the years went by, she kept landing parts in famous TV shows like “ER” and “Sons of Anarchy,” and although the pandemic made her slow down, it also made her reevaluate her life and career.
In this exclusive interview with AmoMama, Ashley Monique Clark shares some of the challenges and lessons she learned during the pandemic, her thoughts on working with DL Hughley and Bernie Mac, and the impact that social media has had on her career.
Working on set and going to school got so difficult that I ended up being homeschooled.
AmoMama (AM): Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. How are you? How’s 2021 going for you so far?
Ashley Monique Clark (AC): Hi AmoMama! Thank you so much for chatting with me. I love the article you did on me a few years back. It made me smile when a friend sent it to me. I am doing really well, and 2021 is off to a good start despite everything going on at the moment.
(AM): First of all, we hope that you and your family are doing okay in the middle of this pandemic. What has been the biggest challenge for you during these times?
(AC): The biggest challenge during these times has been not being able to gather with groups of people and slow down work. Thankfully, things are starting to pick back up slowly but surely and safely.
(AM): What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?
(AC): To SLOW DOWN. I like being busy, so being forced to stay home actually allowed me to stop and think about things long enough to reevaluate my life and career and actually make some necessary changes. I’ve learned that being super busy does not always mean you are being productive.
(AM): Let’s talk about your career now. You’ve been working as an actress since you were a child. Do you remember your first acting gig ever?
(AC): Yes, I do! I started as a commercial actress, and it was a Zest soap commercial lol My first theatrical role was on “Chicago Hope.”
(AM): Was it hard to balance school with your career?
(AC): It was very hard. Working on set and going to school got so difficult that I ended up being homeschooled the second half of 7th grade until I graduated at 16.
(AM): Also, did you always want to work as an actress? What do you like the most about this job?
(AC): I did! I started when I was five and remember LOVING being on set early on, and I knew this was the career for me. I love what acting teaches me about myself. You have to take risks, make choices, be real, so I feel like, when I'm acting, I can't really hide my true self if that makes any sense.
I guess it's the openness you have to have with the other person or the camera that has always pushed me to be more open and authentic in my personal life. Things show up on camera that you can’t hide.
(AM): While you’re still young, you’ve been involved in the entertainment industry for over two decades. Has your perception of it changed over the years?
(AC): Thanks for making me feel old, AmoMama [laughs]. Yes, I’ve been around for a while, and I have absolutely seen a shift in the industry, some changes I have not loved, and others I think have been really great.
As with anything else, I’ve learned to take what I like and what I don't and weigh the pros and cons, and there are so many more pros to the entertainment industry that, even with the changes, I continue to love it.
(AM): One of your biggest roles so far has been Sydney Hughley in “The Hughleys.” What’s your favorite memory about working next to one of the Original Kings of Comedy, DL Hughley?
(AC): One of my favorite memories working alongside DL was that he worked hard to try to make “The Hughleys” set a family environment.
(AM): Shortly after “The Hughleys,” you were cast as Teri on “The Bernie Mac Show.” The late Bernie Mac was also a King of Comedy. Did DL Hughley sort of recommend you for the role? Or you had to audition for it like everybody else.
(AC): No, he did not. Any role I have ever booked has been because I had to work really hard, just like everybody else. At the end of the day, it can feel more rewarding that way, though, because I know that it was me and all the work I put in and not someone pulling strings.
(AM): What’s your favorite memory of your time working with Bernie Mac?
(AC): Oh, I loved Bernie sooo much! “The Hughleys” and “Bernie Mac” shot on the same lot the last year of our show, and so I wanted friends my age, and there were other kids on that show. So, on my lunch breaks, I would walk over to the “Bernie Mac Show” and hang out.
Bernie would always greet and chat with me like I was one of his family members. He was so humble, kind, and genuinely cared about people. I can't say enough great things about Bernie.
I have been writing for years and am in the process of creating my own projects.
In between takes, he was always making me laugh so hard I could barely keep it together. My favorite memory of my time working with Bernie was how he took the time to really talk to people and listen and, of course, his jokes.
(AM): One of your first acting gigs as an adult actress was “Sons of Anarchy.” Was it hard to be in a drama after working in many sitcoms?
(AC): Actually, my first adult acting job was a “Jif Peanut Butter” commercial that aired forever, which was a huge blessing. My first adult theatrical job was an episode I did on “ER” and then “Sons of Anarchy.”
It was not hard at all. I have always actually loved doing drama more than comedy; I just seem to book more comedic roles.
(AM): So far, what has been the most challenging role of your career and why?
(AC): Most challenging role would be “The Hughleys.” Things were very fast-paced, we taped in front of a live audience, so there's not much room for error. Also, there are lots of last-minute script revisions, so you have to learn new lines the day of.
Sitcoms are fast-paced, so honestly, everything after that has seemed a lot more relaxed, but we will see about that when I get on another show [laughs].
(AM): Are you interested in doing something related to the filming industry apart from acting? Like writing, directing, or producing.
(AC): Oh, yes! I want to do it all! I have been writing for years and am in the process of creating my own projects and would love to direct and produce in the near future.
(AC): I'm back on social media and am having a blast! I feel like social media is a great tool that can be used for my career, and I love that it has allowed people to see who I am as a person and not just a character, so in that sense, I do like it.
So, here’s the story with my social media profiles: I got married and changed my last name, which resulted in people not being able to find me, so I think that THAT could have had a negative impact on my career because lots of people could not keep up with me.
Last year, I changed it back, and people have started finding me again, and it has been so nice reconnecting with fans and people I’ve worked with.
Nowadays, Ashley Monique Clark is quite busy. Apart from writing a book about her life story and working hard to create her own material, she is also part of a project that is currently in pre-production. She will share more details about it soon, and we cannot wait for it! Way to go!
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