Teen entertainment sensation Asia Monet Ray talks American Crime Story, fashion line at Target, and StarPower Dance competition
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Birdie Thompson
- Los Angeles, California
Teen entertainment sensation Asia Monet Ray talks about playing Sydney Simpson in American Crime Story, and teaming up with Gen Z Kids for fashion line at Target. Also Asia tell us about winning the StarPower National Championship dance competition.
Congratulations, on your successes as a Quadruple Threat! You recently played Sydney Simpson in the critically acclaimed and award-winning American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Did you research a lot about the case and how did you prepare to portray the young daughter of the infamous football star turned murder suspect? Did you get to meet the real Sydney?
Thank you! When I booked the role of Sydney Simpson I was really excited to be a part of such an amazing cast and crew, and happy to be under Mr. Ryan Murphy's watch. Right away, since I am always on my computer, I started researching what I could about the case and of course Googled as much as I could about Sydney.
The information I found focused a lot on her current years and not much on when she was 9 years old. That being said, I just focused on making sure I portrayed the role in a natural way that a daughter at Sydney’s age would feel. My body language in the scenes as well as facial expressions should say it all without speaking a word.
You made history when you won the StarPower National Championship dance competition as a 5 year old. Tell us your ice skating and gymnastics start and journey and how it segued into a dancing, singing and actor career to make you a Quaduple Threat.
Wow, it's been awhile since I've been on a StarPower stage, but so many great memories. I just loved competition weekends and I remember begging my mom to have a solo to compete with when I was 5 years old and promising my parents that I'd work hard. I never imagined that from that moment on, I would receive several national titles at that age and start my crazy journey from the competition stage, to reality TV, to being cast on two major series and recording original music. I am so grateful for so many opportunities and to have support from family and friends. I couldn’t do all this without them.
You’ve worked with two of the biggest TV producers/writers, Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, and have worked with star-studded casts. What have you learned from working with such seasoned professionals and what advice would you give to aspiring actors?
Well, being 11 years old I have so much to learn and with everything I do. I believe you can never stop learning and becoming better at your craft. When I'm on set with season professionals I stay focused, and watch and learn. When I take the time to just watch and observe I feel I learn and appreciate how amazing these actors are. Acting is not easy, but so rewarding when you continue to grow. My advice would be to put in the time to learn the craft of acting and enjoy the process.
Tell us about your clothing line at Target where you teamed up with Gen Z Kids “Art Class.” What was the creative process behind creating your clothing line and how did you get into clothing design? Do you have future plans for more clothing lines and can you give us some sneak peeks into what your dreams are for them?
Yes! Such a great experience with Target. Art Class 2017 was a success and I was so excited to be able to collaborate with their design team this year. I have been sketching fashion designs on my free time or when I'm in the car for a while now, so when they asked for me to be a part of this cool campaign I was ready to show them my sketch book. The whole process was amazing. Hopefully in the future there will be more clothing line opportunities with purses, shoes and accessories. I love fashion.
What charities are you involved with and can you share with us about how you personally are working to help make a difference in them?
Throughout the years, I have supported many charities. Personally, I think it is so important to give back when I have the time. I support several cancer awareness foundations as well as support many animal charities. Recently, I loved working with the ''In A Perfect World'' non- profit foundation, which is doing great work helping and empowering youth in need around the world. I think there is always more we can do to make a difference in this world.
You are incredibly busy. How do you balance all those opportunities with school, friends and family life? What special tips can you give other entertainers about how to achieve goals and maintain a good balance?
I get asked this question a lot. It is definitely a challenge but I have 24hrs a day to work it out. My mom since day one has kept me straight and always keeps everything balanced and makes sure school, and schedule down time is a priority. You always need your rest to be at your best!
What advice can you give to aspiring actors, dancers, singers, performers?
My advice is no matter what your passion is, always stay focused, believe in yourself, work hard, accept that it's not going to be easy and never lose the love for your dreams by comparing yourself to someone else’s success.