Interview: Shining the Spotlight On Asia Monet Ray

Breaking out in a big way across television and in the dance world is young actress and performer Asia Monet Ray.  Asia is currently co-starring in FX’s legal drama series AMERICAN CRIME STORY:  THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON as Sydney Simpson and was previously featured in Lifetime’s DANCE MOMS and RAISING ASIA.  Asia is a Hollywood triple-threat in the making as she conquers the world of dance, singing and now acting.  With a tenacious and vivacious spirit, the young pre-teen is embracing everything life has to offer and strives to be a part of all of in the entertainment realm.   She is a joyous force and appears to be unstoppable.  As a rising young star, Asia is already well known and appears to have a golden and remarkable career ahead of her.

In a recent interview, Asia shared her insights into what it takes to be a young performer and where she strives to go from here.

What sparked your interest to cross-over from being a dancer to now being a young actress?
ASIA:  I’ve always wanted to take the leap into acting and see if I liked it. When I finally put in the time and started working, I really loved the challenge of getting into character, studying my lines,  and learning how to bring out the emotion or personalities out of the role.  I thank my acting coach for pushing me to be better everyday.  I appreciate and love everything about the craft of acting. It’s something I think I will continue to grow in and love more and more as I keep learning and maturing.

Are you still pursuing dance as well as acting roles?  Do you have time for both?
ASIA:  Yes, I still manage to continue my training privately when I can. I still go on dance auditions. I will always try my best to keep up with my dancing, there is still a lot of growing in dance for me. Since I’m only 10, I don’t won’t to ever lose my flexibility and my technique.  That’s something I worry about. Fortunately, I fit it in with acting jobs and my vocal training.

What do you most enjoy about being a dancer?
ASIA: I’ve always enjoyed the way it makes me feel to perform or just train. I personally just enjoy it no matter what style it is, but my favorite styles are Jazz and Hip Hop.  I love high energy.

What do you most enjoy about being an actress?
ASIA:  I really love the challenge and the process of studying a character and working with my amazing coach to bring out the character in me. I love being on set in a scene and seeing it all come together. I also love learning and maturing with each job.

What challenges do you face as a young dancer?
ASIA:  Well, right now the challenge of getting in my training in and practice. I know technique can go so fast when you’re young if you don’t push yourself to make the time. Being a young dancer you must stay in the game of auditioning because there are tons of amazing young dancer.  Like my mom always says, ”You’re only as good as your last performance.”

Then what challenges do you face as a young actress?
ASIA:  As an actress, I face the biggest challenge of crossing over from being know as a dancer on TV to going into acting auditions and being looked at as just a dancer. I’ve had to put in the time, I’ve had to work my butt off and I’ve had to prove myself every time I go out to an audition or a job. It hasn’t been easy and there have been many “no’s” that people don’t see, but they made me stronger and stronger each time and I learned from them. I now have been blessed with several roles I never thought I’d get and it feels really good. I thank my acting coach for believing in me and preparing me every time I go out, and I thank my whole supportive team that encourages me everyday.

What do you feel you have learned so far about being an actress from your work on AMERICAN CRIME STORY?
ASIA:  I’ve learned not only from AMERICAN CRIME STORY, but all my acting jobs, that it’s something I really love doing. Every experience large or small I take away something that continues my growth as a young actress. I’m a sponge on set and I want to become better and better with each role.

What do you enjoy the most about working on AMERICAN CRIME STORY?
ASIA:  I enjoyed being part of an amazing cast and working on a Ryan Murphy project. Everyone on this project is so inspiring.

You are also guest-appearing on the show MAJOR CRIMES,” how fun was that?  What did you enjoy most from that experience?
ASIA:  Yes, I was direct booked for MAJOR CRIMES on an episode where I sing ”Amazing Grace”, which I had to learn the night before. I sing with two other girls at a funeral scene. (MAJOR CRIMES airs Monday nights on TNT at 10 p.m.) I loved that I was able to sing on a show, it was a great experience and Patrick Duffy the director was so nice and sociable.

Where do you hope your career as a dancer and actress goes next?  Any dream projects that you would love to do?
ASIA:  I want to continue to grow and I dream of landing a major movie role or series role one day. I would also love to land a voice over role in a animation movie. With dancing and singing, I would love to experience going on tour to see the world — that would be super cool!

What do you think has been the secret to your success in your various careers at this point?
ASIA: I think the number one thing is my strong support team, I really believe without it I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now. I also think that I have always been self-motivated.  I love challenges and do really good under pressure.

What advice would you offer other young dancers and actresses?
ASIA:  I would just say, first, “Be happy with what you’re doing and do it for you. Stay strong in this industry and never give up.  Keep pushing through the rough times. Work hard and put in the time needed to make you better and better everyday. It’s a journey, not a sprint!”

To see more of Asia Monet Ray’s work, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on FX.  Fans may also follow Asia on Twitter @AsiaMonetRay for updates as her dancing, singing and acting career continues.