Ashley Kay is an SVSU alumna from Detroit, Michigan. She has been pursuing her entertainment career since graduation and has made a splash in Detroit and worldwide with the success of her short film “Forgive Us Not.” When asked what her favorite part was about her career, Ashley said, “Being able to express who I am and to show people that it’s okay to be who you are and who God made you.”
Ashley knew that she wanted to be an actress since she was in a production of The Wiz in 8th grade. She loved the experience so much that she learned multiple character lines, not just her own! After that, she knew that they had to have a good theater program wherever she went to college.
She toured SVSU in high school and fell in love with the campus. If they had a good theater program, then she was all in. She applied and got accepted, and began her journey as a Cardinal!
While at SVSU, Ashley was involved in many extra circular activities, most involving performing. She was in Alpha Psi Omega, the theater fraternity, an improv group called Work in Progress, and the Valley Voices Gospel Choir.
What she remembers most fondly about her time at SVSU were the productions that she was in. Her top two productions that she was in were her first production, “The Crucible,” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Ashley won her first acting award, Best Actress in a Minor Role, for her role as Unice in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
Acting was Ashley’s primary focus at SVSU, though she also minored in Creative Writing. Ashley says this gave her the skills and confidence to take her writing endeavors more seriously and consider a career in writing and acting. Before this, she had only considered writing a hobby, but with the help of the program and her professors, she began to consider writing as something that could be a potential career option. It also helped her to gain confidence in her writing skills.
Ashley jumped right into auditioning for roles once she graduated. She had initial success, but things started to slow down for her acting-wise after a bit. Feeling discouraged, Ashley decided she would try her hand at writing a short film instead of being in front of the camera. Once she completed her short film, she found success, which made her feel appreciated! This experience encouraged her to branch out of solely being an actor; she would now try her hand at multiple fronts in the entertainment industry, with writing and acting being her top 2.
Ashley wrote a play called “Forgive Us Not” in 2019 and was able to produce it and perform in Detroit. With the success of the play production, Ashley envisioned “Forgive Us Not” would go worldwide. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut most things down in Detroit, Ashley could not pursue acting, so she turned back to primarily writing. She began to dabble in new genres that she had not tried before. Ashley does not want to hold herself back in her writing, so she tries to push herself and write in different genres. She has written comedies, dramas, horror, romance, and even a soap opera.
While writing, she decided that turning “Forgive Us Not” into something known worldwide might mean it is not a play. So she took the script and turned it into a short film. When the world opened up, Ashley got a small production team to shoot “Forgive Us Not,” and she started submitting it to film festivals. At first, all she heard were no’s, and she began to get discouraged. But based on advice from a friend, she began to manifest and say affirmations every day that the short film would be a success, and soon a film festival in Los Angeles picked up the film! “Forgive Us Not” won several awards at that festival as well! With the festival’s success in LA, other film festivals also started reaching out, wanting to feature “Forgive Us Not.” The short film has been presented in 10 festivals worldwide and won 6 awards!
The experience with “Forgive Us Not” has been very validating for Ashley. She is currently in a comedy group in Detroit, acting in two different projects for streaming services, and still has her short film, “Forgive Us Not,” being shown at film festivals worldwide!
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