OITNB season 6: Young Carol AKA Ashley Jordyn shares how "playing someone who isn't that nice is a lot more fun"
'Orange Is the New Black' is Ashley's biggest role to date, though she did appear in an episode of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' in 2017.
Any normal fan of 'Orange Is The New Black' knows that most of the inmates have troubled backgrounds that landed them behind bars, but few character backstories have been as disturbing as waitresses-turned-prison rivals Barbara and Carol Denning.
Taking on the role of young sociopath Carol Denning is Ashley Jordyn, a newcomer who has been in a number of short films and even wrote and produced her own called 'The Session', which won first prize at the Montreal World Film Festival. 'Orange Is the New Black' is Ashley's biggest role to date, though she did appear in an episode of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' in 2017. Up next, she'll be in another short called 'Obsidian' and she'll have a role in a thriller called 'Exit 0' that's set to be released later this year, as per reports.
Meaww landed the opportunity to chat with this talented actress, and we couldn't help but ask her all about the character - young Carol Denning. Take a look at the conversation we had.
What was the best thing about playing Carol? What was the information you had about your character while auditioning for the role? What attracted you to it?
The best thing about playing Carol was that I got to have a lot of fun with the character, and I think that playing someone who isn' that nice is a lot more fun than playing someone who's nice; it gets a lot more interesting in a way.
Sure, you get a breakdown before going into an audition, and the same happened with my role in OITNB. I had a little description of the character before going in, so I knew what sort of a role I would be playing. I had the first scene in the library, so that was all I knew about the character: that it was happening in a maximum security prison, so she's (Carol) done something pretty horrible. I also had the information that she was considered to be childish, vicious, threatening, and someone who could possibly lash out.
What is your assessment of Carol's mental health? What is your analogy of her and Barbara's relationship as an actor and as a fan of the show?
Ohh I would never assume to diagnose Carol's mental health! I would really never even assume to know because I am not trained in anything like that, or try to find out why she is the way she is. My main concern was to have fun with the storyline, and how that particular storyline intersects the already established characters to make their life more difficult or interesting.
Carol and Barbara were sisters, and I think that sisters love each other, and even though sisters tend to fight viciously at times, they still make-up and love each other just the same. Because OITNB is a comedic drama, it's almost farcical as to what Carol and Barbara are doing on the show. With sisters, you mostly expect two people who will love each other and have each other's backs, but sometimes you also have sisters like Carol and Barbara in the mix!
If you could change the ending for Carol and Barb in any way, what would you choose to do with them?
I don't think I would have changed anything! I think that it's sad what happens to them, but what has been already set up on the show is that they're stuck in a loop which they can't get out of, and sometimes, you know, stories don't end nicely. For me, I think that Carol and Barb's part ended as poetically as it could have, where something that is quite stupid becomes the end of them!
If not Carol, which character would you have liked to play on the show OITNB?
Out of all the seasons? Oh man, that's a hard question! I like so many characters, and I know I wouldn't have been right for so many of them, like Red. I love Red, but I'm too young to play her.
They're all good characters in their own way, and I think that's what makes them all the more interesting. This season, I really enjoyed Taystee's storyline, but unfortunately, I could never play that character because I'm not a woman of color. So yeah, it's very difficult for me to decide what character I would play.
Who was the cast member you loved being around while on set? Did you make any lasting friendships on the show?
I was only ever around very few people on the sets of the show, so I was mostly hanging out with young Freida, played by Ashley Bacon, and young Barb (Lauren Kelston). We had fun the whole time, and Lauren and I obviously were with each other on all the three episodes, so from the very first day, we hit it off and really enjoyed working together, especially since we were both so excited!
So as you can see, my options were quite limited so if I had to pick one person, I would pick Lauren.
Personally, which is the character from OITNB that you love watching the most?
In the whole show? I mean, I love Red, I think Kate Mulgrew makes that character so much fun! I think she's extremely multi-dimensional, and she's tough and hard, but she's also motherly, kind and compassionate. But at the end of the day, I think all the characters on the show are pretty interesting and it is always difficult to choose.
Is there a possibility for young Carol to come back in flashbacks and memories in season 7?
That's always a possibility, but I don't know anything. Haha! That's not up to me, it's up to the writers, so if they call me and say 'Hey! Would you like to do an episode?', I would totally be on board. But the way that they write is not like they have seven episodes already written; they sort of are mostly writing while the shooting is on.
So I don't think that even the writers would know if they're going to use young Carol yet. They haven't gotten that far yet; they just started shooting in fact.
Did you always want to be an actor?
I think that I always wanted to be an actor, but I didn't start doing it until about six years ago. It wasn't until after my high school years that I started to think about pursuing acting while in New York, and it mostly started with me taking different kinds of classes.
And then, one day, I decided that I want to do this (acting) for real, and I started auditioning for roles, and I actually started applying all the stuff that I had learned during those classes. At first, it seemed like a very large prospect and a huge deal at the time, and I was afraid to admit that because it was kind of scary!
What is your career bucket list like?
Well, I really like films, such as indie films, and I would really like to do that if I get the opportunity. Also, I think there are a lot of excellent television shows that are on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO, etc. that do really amazing work, especially in places where they work like a cinema but have the time span of a TV show, which I think is really really interesting and something that I would love to be a part of more and more in the future.