Dear White People's Ashley Blaine Featherson-Jenkins recently sat down with S&A Managing Editor Trey Mangum for Shadow and Act's Opening Act podcast to talk about the fourth and final season of Netflix's Dear White People. She also opened up about her career, including her first co-starring role and what it's been like to play Joelle Brooks on Dear White People.
Featherson-Jenkins talked about her first co-starring role on Raven-Symone's State of Georgia, which aired on Freeform (then called ABC Family). She said that the role was like a birthday gift to her and changed her life in many ways, including the life lesson she learned.
"What I would take away from that experience is you just never know who's watching. There are still people to this day who were part of the casting process for that who remember me…for my work ethic, the type of energy I even brought to set that day," she said. "I think sometimes actor think [if] you're not a series regular, you're just coming in and you're just doing what to you feels like a small job. But you never know who's watching. You never know who you might impact…who's day you might make. You never know what other actor is looking at you, hoping that they can do what you're doing hopefully one day…I just always remember [to] always never forget whose watching and because of that, to always be your best."
She also talked about the impact playing Joelle has had on her, saying that there is part of her in the character.
"As an actor, if there's not a piece of you in every character you've played, then you've done something wrong," she said. "There's so much of me in Joelle and now there's so much of Joelle in me…We so often talk about how much of an indelible mark the actors leave on the characters, but the characters leave indelible marks on the actors as well."
Dear White People comes back to Netflix Sept. 22. The series will be a musical set in a post-pandemic world. According to the official description:
"Set against the backdrop of senior year at Winchester as well as a not-so-distant, post-pandemic future, Dear White People Vol. 4 finds our characters looking back at the most formative (and theatrical) year of their lives. Both an Afro-futuristic and 90s-inspired musical event, Dear White People Vol. 4 is a can't-miss, farewell experience with one pitch-perfect promise: sometimes the only way to move forward is to throw it back."
Listen to the episode below: