If you follow the brightest, fresh new faces in the modeling world, you’ve heard of model/actress Ashley Jermaine. Raised near Boston, Ashley’s look is gorgeous and natural, and she is incredibly down-to-earth. Modeling since she was nine years old helped earn Ashley representation with Click Models in Los Angeles, Boston, Philly, and NYC. Most recently, the Christian, faith-based short movie So In Love finished shooting, and the movie is slated for a 2014 release date.

Ashley has a buzz around her as a new talent to watch, and she was very generous to offer an interview with me via email to help promote the movie. As Ashley has many upcoming projects, So In Love is the beginning of a long journey to rising stardom. In the upcoming year, Ashley appears in the movie Labor Day (due out in 2014) and is profiled on the cover of Fashion Industry Magazine, with a March 2014 premiere issue.

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Theresa Pickett (TP): Your modeling resume is impressive. You’ve modeled for designer Vera Wang for Teen VogueSeventeen Magazine and CoverGirl, and had your photo published in InStyle Magazine. What advice can you give for young girls who are starting in the modeling/acting industry?

Ashley Jermaine (AJ): The advice I would give to young girls aspiring to model would be, if you love modeling, prepare to work for it. Get as much experience as you can. See if there is a photography school in your area or local photographers that also want to build their portfolio. Be sure you stay true to you. Do not model anything you’re not comfortable doing. Always have a guardian accompany you. And remember, nothing can replace experience; it’s how you will get to know your body, your lines, where the light is, how to pose, how to look comfortable in front of the camera. Aside from experience, you will also come away with photos for your book. In addition, always bring a guardian! My mom is with me for every show and shoot.

TP: Your parents must be very supportive of your endeavors. Do you have any advice for the parents of child actors/models? How can parents help preserve the virtue children have while getting into the entertainment industry?

AJ: Be there for them. They can’t do this without you. My parents are very supportive of my work, and without my mom, I wouldn’t have been able to get as far as I have. Also, remember you are their guardian, their confidant, their cheerleader. This is your child’s dream, not yours. My mom and I have seen some pretty crazy ”stage” moms, and each time we give each other that look with silent communication — yikes… so glad we’re not like that! My advise to preserve the virtue… Do not have them work on something they or you are not comfortable with. I have had times when a role has been sent to me, and the part is something I or my mom is uncomfortable with. We have an agreement, if one of us says no, then it’s no. With modeling, remember to keep your child’s pictures true to who they are. Digitals are just that, digitals. An agency wants to see what your child looks like without makeup, to see their true beauty. If you’re 12, you don’t want to look 16. Young and fresh is always best!

TP: As you’ve studied acting under Patrick Baca, Jennifer Salvucci, and Kate Kelly, you’ve developed a unique perspective of how to best prepare for an acting role. Do you use a specific acting technique, and if so, why?

AJ: I do, I put myself into the role. With the film So In Love, the audition clip could have been anything. I wasn’t given the script, just the synopsis of the film. I knew Sara got pregnant, and I was her best friend. The audition clip we sent was the first take. My mom held the camera, and said, “Okay, your best friend just told you she’s pregnant and scared. What would you say?” Then we shot the clip. You need to become the character, believe you’re the character. If you can do this, it shows on film.

TP: You recently finished shooting Christian faith-based movie So In Love, which is anticipating the release of the trailer on its Facebook page. You play the supporting role Janelle. Can you tell us more about your character? What was your objective as an actor in playing that role? Can you tell us about your backstory?

AJ: Everyone has that best friend, the friend they can talk to about anything. That’s what Sara and Janelle are to each other. Janelle, in a very subtle way, asks Sara about her relationship with her boyfriend, she speaks from her heart, she listens, she cares and Sara knows that Janelle is there for her. There isn’t a lot of dialogue, but the scene doesn’t need a lot, the relationship is there, it’s captured and understood. Girls will be able to relate to Sara and Janelle. I auditioned for this role because it’s an important film. It enforces the importance of friendships and open communication.

TP: Teen pregnancy is publicized a lot in the media today. As you’ve collaborated on a lot of meaningful campaigns, including anti-bullying campaigns, do you personally have any advice for teens regarding the issue of teen pregnancy?

AJ: No, I don’t have personal advice for teens regarding teen pregnancy. I feel this is an individual choice, but I do know that if one of my best friends would find themselves in a difficult situation, like my character Janelle, I would be there for them.

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Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

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