Actress Mandy Musgrave has made a memorable impression on audiences with her portrayal of rebellious teenager Ashley Davies on The N’s breakout hit show South of Nowhere, but she’s also made TV history. Lesbian teen romances on television rarely last beyond sweeps week, so the fact that the one between Ashley and girlfriend Spencer (co-star Gabrielle Christian) has become such a focal point of the program is remarkable indeed. As a result, the show was nominated for a GLAAD award for Outstanding Drama Series, and has returned this fall for a second season.
AfterEllen.com recently talked to Musgrave about what the new season holds for Ashley and her romance with Spencer, the response of gay viewers to the show, and staging the perfect catfight.
AfterEllen.com: How is your character developing this season?
You still have that whole drama going on between Ashley and Madison all the time, but you get to see a little more about where they came from and how their characters are evolving.
AE: There is such animosity between them that you do wonder about the back story. Was there extreme love that preceded the extreme hate?
AE: How are you and Ashley different?
I have a great relationship with my family and my father. I have a twin sister, and an older sister, so I’m the baby. And I’m not exactly a lesbian in real life–as much as I’d love to be. I like the drama that comes with boys. So I’ve been in a two-year relationship with a guy. I’m not hard core, I am not as high fashion as Ashley, and I wasn’t loaded growing up. My parents are divorced so that’s a similar thing, and her attitude and confidence—I developed that later in life, after I joined drama club, so that’s sort of similar as well.
AE: She is a powerful character.
AE: You hit it off at the casting session, right?
She knew her lines, so she gave me her sides. But then when they started matching us up, they put me up for the character of Ashley. I thought, “I’m so unprofessional, this girl has the part. Why am I here?” But they kept bringing us in together and loving our chemistry and we became lovers at first sight! (laughs)