2021 may be the year for actress and producer Ashley Atwood—she has been submitted for a Daytime Emmy® Actress nomination for her lead role as Annika Marshall in the independent movie, Rekindling Christmas, a Hallmark-style movie, with a twist.
The story follows Marshall and Jesse Winchester – the perfect college couple. But a week after becoming engaged, Jesse is drafted into the NFL, he ghosts the relationship and never comes back. Years later, Jesse is back with a blown-out knee and only one goal in sight: to live a simple life and win Annika back. But Annika’s walls are high and her pain deep, it will take the help of Annika’s son TJ, every play in Jesse’s book, and just a pinch of Christmas Magic to gain her forgiveness and her heart.
This submission for a Daytime Emmy® Actress has come after years of work and some diverse roles for Ashley. Last year, she worked on Wild Wild Yogis, where she starred as Sage, a free spirited, bisexual woman struggling to find her inner strength. The streaming short form comedy, distributed by Brandon TV, is a love-hate letter to social media.
Yogis tells the tale about millennials chasing insta-fame rather than facing their demons. Sage and her wife Rosa own a spiritual retreat where they created fame in order to attain wealth for themselves using social media influencers, instead of achieving actual spiritual enlightenment.
The role of Sage is in stark contrast to her role as Jesse Winston in the 2019 Lionsgate film called Hell on the Border. This historical drama is based on the true story of Bass Reeves (David Gyasi), the first African American Marshall west of the Mississippi River. Jessie Winston, a trail blazer in her own right, is the assistant to the new Judge Parker (Manu Intirayme). Her influence and advice to the Judge breaks him out of his comfort zone and creates history.
We asked Ashley to speak to her about her submission as Daytime Emmy® Actress nomination, this new digital age, and what it is like to be a woman Producer and Actor in Hollywood.
How does it feel to be submitted for a Daytime Emmy®?
I am incredibly excited and honored. Not only was Rekindling Christmas filmed in my hometown of Bryan, Texas, but I also had a very deep connection to the story. Christmas was my mother’s favorite holiday which she filled with traditions, memories, and light for her family. When we lost her to a rare autoimmune disease, I too, lost my own light. The holidays turned bitter, especially knowing my son Cole would grow up without knowing his amazing grandmother. It wasn’t until my current partner came into my life and embraced my scars that I felt encouraged to make new, happy memories in honor of my mother. That was the year I read the script. I immediately connected with Annika’s story of loss and her journey of healing to find the light in her heart again. Making this movie was my own journey of healing and I am forever grateful.
How does it feel to be an actress in the digital age?
The digital age has given us an opportunity to create material and content that we wouldn’t have had access to before. Everything from cameras, editing software, to streaming distribution has opened the doors for more creators to tell their stories. This has turned filmmaking on its heels, and while it comes with the challenge of over-saturation, I am always excited to learn more.
Where does your passion come from?
As far as producing, I enjoy putting the puzzle together, finding the locations, cast, crew, catering etc. Acting has always come very naturally to me. It began by telling stories through dance and it’s always been the only place I feel truly myself. I love finding my character’s voice and point of view through my own life’s experience. When everything comes together, and the movie magic happens, I’m always filled with a sense of pride.
What is it like being a female actress/producer working in Hollywood?
As most now feel – I’ve always just wanted to be treated as an equal. The more I work in the business, the more I actually feel the difference. I want to talk to and work with people that are smarter and more experienced than I am. I want to learn and grow in my life’s career. I love how amazingly collaborative women in the industry are. There’s so much hunger, that the community is creating their own projects and telling our own stories in a supportive atmosphere. I now can say that I love being a woman in this industry.
What is your goal as an actress?
“I would love to be on a TV drama series! Historical, political, or legal dramas are my favorite. Perry Mason, Bridgerton, Yellowstone, The West Wing, or Mrs. America are right up my alley as strong fierce parts. During Covid, I was happy to be able to continue acting in any capacity – yet, when I was presented a timely, heartfelt role like Annika Marshall in Rekindling Christmas it allowed me to be able to tell my own story through a motion picture, which felt so healing.”
Connect below to keep up with Ashley’s adventures in acting and producing:
IMDb: Ashley Atwood