Born in Dallas, Texas, Ashley Zamora auditioned and booked her first role on the FOX series Gang Related, now she is taking on comedy as George Lopez’s daughter Erica on TV Land’s new hit show Lopez, which was recently renewed for a Season 2. Ashley talked with TNWU about how she landed the role of Erica, what George Lopez is like offset, and her predictions about what will happen to Erica in Season 2.
Congrats on getting a Season 2 for Lopez! What was your reaction to the news?
(laughs). I was actually at home. I was sleeping in because I had been out of town for a while and thinking, “Oh my God, I need a day to catch up on sleep and stuff,” and actually Hayley Huntley who plays Olly on the show texted me saying “Congratulations” or “Felicidades.” I thought “that’s weird.” (laughs). Then I started scrolling through Twitter and saw the news. I was like, “Oh!! That’s what she was congratulating me about.”
How did you land the role of Erica?
It happened so fast! It was a whirlwind from getting cast, to signing the contracts, to shooting, and then airing the first season and talking about the second season. For me, it was a very normal audition process. I loved the character from the get-go. Erica is such a quirky, fun character that I think she is really relatable for parents and teenagers.
She deals with school, friends, her dad embarrassing her sometimes and trying to keep him under control, while he’s trying to keep her under control. (laughs). I think she is really relatable and I think that’s why a lot of people like Erica and the relationship between her and her dad.
One of my favorite episodes is the Sweet 16 episode, where Erica wants something simple and nothing too extravagant. I was rooting for George to get you a bigger party in the end.
I’m not even going to lie, I wish we could’ve had a really cool Sweet 16 scene as well (laughs). However, I did like the take that we decided to go with. It showed her maturity. Even though she goes to a posh school, lives in Beverly Hills, has a celebrity for a dad… She realizes that you can’t have everything and that it’s better to spend time with family and close friends instead of having this huge extravagant party.
The back and forth banter between you as Erica and George on the show is one of my favorite parts to watch, are you two the same off camera?
(laughs) I mean at the end of the day we are there to work, and we are there to make a show, but everyone in this cast is really nice and chill. We are all friendly with each other. Overall, it is a really friendly set with the directors, the writers, producers, etc. Everybody was there to make a good show and everybody worked with each other. That includes George too. He is part of the cast just like everybody else. Everyone got to know each other really well. George makes jokes, we make jokes, it’s always a good time. He really is as nice of a guy as you imagine him to be.
It is also great to have a show where you have a very diverse set of actors/characters in the world of Hollywood. Lopez brings that to the screen.
Yeah, it is! We have a really diverse cast and I think that is really important to show. I also like how they have different types of Hispanics as well. We have some whiter Hispanics, some darker Hispanics, white people, and African-Americans, so it’s nice to show all sides of Hollywood.
Being Latina and Hispanic, I think it is really great to be on this show. A show that’s getting great viewer response and that is different from a lot of the other shows out there.
If you were to jump ahead and write a storyline for Erica in Season 2, what would she be doing?
(laughs) Oh gosh, well she is in high school… So I would love to see her come in with different friends all the time. That was something that was really fun to play with throughout the show. To see her come in with new friends and have her own storyline/own thing going on would be great. I’d love to see more of her own world.
I feel like George is trying to keep up with her and it’s really fun to see her go on adventures and do what sixteen and seventeen-year-olds do. That’s having fun and being high schoolers, but also having your father look after you. I’m also excited for Erica to get her license and see what happens after that. (laughs).
It would be funny if she just drove to college in the sunset as the series finale scene!
(laughs) Then Erica would have her own show!
Yes, a spinoff! (laughs) You were also on a show called Gang Related. how was that experience for you as an actress?
That experience was super cool because it was my first time in L.A. I was raised in Dallas, Texas and I was going to a school that supports kids who work professionally. We had a lot of gymnasts and tennis players, etc. Everything was done electronically through iPads, so I talked to my school and told them that I wanted to go to L.A. to see if I could book any roles.
I just jetted out to LA with my mom for a month to see what would happen. I waited two weeks and nothing happened. I was starting to get discouraged. I didn’t even have an audition I was so bummed.
Then my manager came through with one audition and I booked it! It was my first time in L.A., first time giving it a shot, first audition ever, and I landed the role! How crazy is that?
The role was a girl from Jalisco, Mexico, and she had become a victim of human trafficking. She tried to run away while in L.A. but she got caught. As punishment, they amputated her leg and took her baby. She was seventeen years old but in the end, she does get her baby back.
It was a very cool experience! I loved the makeup. I had blonde hair and they made a hole in the bed that I stuck my leg through. That’s how they made my leg look amputated. It was great too, because it was a FOX series so I got to go to the FOX Studio and get my costumes and hair done.
We shot the scene in two or three days. I had some friends who had seen the show and when my episode aired they asked if that character was me. I told them “yes,” so it was really exciting!
What qualities do find in roles that you are interested in and want to pursue?
I love all types of roles. I always make sure that I’m able to be very diverse and flexible. I would love to jump on the big screen and maybe do some movies in the future. Or do different types of TV shows. I always make sure that I’m well-rounded and diverse.
What are some career challenges you’ve faced so far and how did you overcome it?
I haven’t experienced someone telling me, “You can’t do this because this…” but there are always character breakdowns and certain roles call for certain types of people. If you don’t fit that role you just aren’t that character. I think that is a really important part of being an actor. You have to put yourself out there honestly. At the end of the day, everyone puts something different on the table and it’s really important to look at that. If you are not right for the role, that’s okay.
Is there a specific role that you want to play that has inspired you?
One of my all time favorite movies is Glenn Close’s “Fatal Attraction.” I think the Alex Forrest character is so interesting. To be able to put together a role like that takes a lot of thinking, and not overdoing it or underdoing it. That is a very thoughtful role where the character shares many layers. Or a character who has a mental illness because you have to put a lot of thought into it and a lot of research. So along those lines, I would love to do a role like that.
Do you have any life lessons that you keep with you in your career?
Yeah, definitely! My parents always taught me to be humble, appreciative and grateful for everything that you have. Be grateful for everything that you have been given, and everything that you have worked very hard for. They also taught me to work smart.
One of the most important things I have learned from my family was to not get on a cloud. Don’t forget where you came from. Don’t forget all the hard work you put into something. Especially something like the craft of acting. It is very, very difficult to get into the industry because there are a lot of people who work day and night and they just don’t get that opportunity.
I am so grateful that I did get the opportunity, and I have an amazing team behind me, pushing me. My friends and family are always pushing me and uplifting me and telling me to work hard and not forget where I came from.
Do you have any other projects coming up?
Right now I’m just waiting for “Lopez” to start filming again!
Since we are TNWU and love all things nerdy, what are you into that is “nerdy”?
My thing right now is riding horses. I love horses and animals in general so that is what I have been doing in my free time. Horseback riding and riding in the country is what I’m “nerdy” over. I mean, there’s only so much country in L.A. but there are a couple of places to go.
Lopez airs Wednesdays on TV Land.
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