Erica Ash is a multi-talented singer, model, comedian, actor and dancer best known for her time on MadTV and on the Broadway stage in Lion King. She displayed her comedic range on MadTV, impersonating people from Naomi Campbell to Michelle Obama and Whoopi Goldberg. Ash currently plays a leading role in the STARZ “Survivor’s Remorse“ original series.
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Read the interview highlights below, or listen to SCP Radio’s full-length podcast:
Erica Ash: I actually didn’t grow up in Florida. I was born in Florida, born in Tallahassee, but my family was a military family. My father was in the ARMY. He was an officer and we traveled every six months to three years since I was nine months old. So, I am all about travel!
My hometown’s, plural, were pretty much where I hung my hat. I was a bit of a rolling stone as a kid. In the cleanest way you could possibly be a rolling stone. We great up traveling up the East Coast. We lived in Germany. Then we moved back and settled in Atlanta. If any place has to be my hometown, hometown, it would have it was Atlanta, because it was it was the first place I remember, and the last place we settled.
CR: Out of all of those places, which one would you say was your favorite?
EA: Germany – hands down, no contest. I’ve always said to myself, “If I buy a place over seas it will be in Germany.” It was perfect because it was right in the middle of everyplace that everybody talks about wanting to be. So, for instance, people go to Italy and they go to Paris for vacation. But, Germany doesn’t get the credit that it’s due. It’s so beautiful. The castles are gorgeous. The energy there is just so nice, and it’s not over run, because it’s not one of those super-popularized cities in terms of, you know, fashion and cuisines.
CR: Did you have a favorite place to dine when you were there?
EA: You know what? Oddly, because I was a kid, and kids have a very different palate than adults do, there was this little food truck that was outside of our school. I would go there every, single day after school. They would make fresh French fries and schnitzel. I would always get that, because I always thought it was so fascinating that they ate their fries with mayonnaise. The fries were just so yummy to me.
CR: So, fast-forwarding a bit. Was becoming an actress something you’ve always wanted to do? Or was it a gradual thing over time going from place-to-place?
EA: Well actually, becoming an actor was something that I ever though could be possible to do. So it wasn’t something that I wanted to do, just because it wasn’t in my skull. My parents sort of set everything up so that I would be a doctor. Everything was centered around academics since I was in Montessori school. I was, you know, the math club, science club kid. Then I went to Emory University, I was pre-med and I graduated. So that was always the plan.
This just sort of happened when I decided to take a break between going to college and medical school. Just because I thought at the start of medical school, that that’s like a whole another six-to-eight years that I’ve got to go to school for. While I was on a break I actually ended up traveling. I went to Japan, and I was just going to teach English and just sort of “exist” there. Just to kind of clear my head. But, I discovered there was this background-singing gig that I ended up falling into. I discovered that wow, this is kind of where my heart is.
CR: You’re well cultured, well traveled. What destinations do you think of when you hear the word “vacation”? Why?
EA: I actually really like Indonesian countries, because I feel like they’re just a more relaxed culture. Anywhere that’s Indonesian and anywhere that’s an island. They just have a much more laid back sensibility. I just really like them.
CR: So, taken from that, would you say you’re more of a laid-back vacationer? Or do you like to get out and see the sights?
EA: No, I’m a laid-back vacationer. For sure, because my life is always run, run, run, run. So, I need to be able to relax even when I’m moving around. I find that with the Indonesian countries, and the islands countries, that they’re not pressed for time, because they say they’ll meet you at three and they’ll show up at four thirty. Or, if you’re late it’s no big deal. They’ll just circle back around and [get you] on the next trip. I like drinks with umbrellas. Call me cheesy, but that’s my thing.
EA: It’s the thing to do before you go out and party. It’s actually perfect because by the time the theater lets out, you go from the theater, go have a nice dinner, then it’s like right in the middle of club time. It actually flows perfectly if you can kind of get in the flow of the whole going out timeline. That’s the first step of it right there. If going out in New York is a prefixed dinner, going to a show is the appetizer.
CR: What about outside of the set, are there any destinations that you haven’t performed in that you would like to?
EA: Whether it’s my singing, my modeling, my acting, my dancing, I’ve performed in India, Korea, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, obviously all around the United States. I toured with the Lion King for two years. So, we hit up a good half of the US of A. Places that I never thought I’d even travel to, or have any reason to. I found some really gorgeous states in the midst of that that I would never of even given a chance.
CR: Any state in particular that stands out, as far as “wow factor”?
EA: I really liked Minnesota. I never would have ever thought to of gone there, but Minneapolis was pretty awesome. That’s one of the states that really sticks out in my head. It was gorgeous there. We were there in the fall. It was nice and crisp, cool but not too cold. I can’t vouch for it in the wintertime, I just don’t know. It was just so picturesque.
CR: This may be a silly questions, considering how well traveled you are, but is there any destination on your bucket list that you haven’t been to yet that you want to go?
EA: Oh yeah, most definitely! Australia is a big one on my bucket list. I want to go to Spain. Australia and Antarctica are on my bucket list, because I want to be able to honestly say I’ve been to all seven of the continents. Those are the only two I’ve not been to.
CR: We have a lot of artists and people say that Australia is the place they want to go.
EA: Yeah! I’m actually thinking about going in January if I can swing it, because my good friend Kevin Hart is going there. You know, he always travels with a big group and it’s nice to go when you have people that you know there. It makes the experience so much more fun.
CR: Lastly, when’s the next big trip and what’s if for?
EA: The next big trip … well hopefully the next big trip is Australia and it will be for vacation. I try to go to two places I’ve never been every year and that will be at the top of next year.
CR: Do you have anything in particular that you want to do there?
EA: I really, really want to go and see around the aboriginal people. I just want to go to a proper aboriginal village and kind of learn about them first hand. I also hear about these really amazing caves they have there, with these awesome stalagmites and stalactites. Then just kind of see the sights, go to the beach and eat some food from Down Under.