Ashley Blaine Featherson: “My Career Is a Love Letter to Black Women”

And then, of course, there is the ’90s fashion. We are currently seeing a resurgence of ’90s and early aughts fashion. Do you have any favorite trends/looks from that time period? Anything you would still wear today?  

Well tie-dye. I love tie-dye. Overalls. Love overalls. Live for overalls. Overalls are always going to be cute. I don’t care. And I like oversize stuff. I’m a girl who loves oversize clothes, and the ’90s is very much oversize fashion. I love a cute pleated skirt, like plaid Clueless vibes. 

Let’s talk about Joelle’s style. What were the early conversations for her look, and how did her style evolve over the four seasons?

I think her style is really cool. She is really bold in her fashion choices. Even outside of the ’90s stuff, all four seasons, she’s worn really cool oversize stuff, big jackets and coats and sweaters. She always wears a lot of jewelry, which I think is… My godmother always wears a lot of jewelry. She has rings on every finger and bracelets that go [up the arm], and I think that’s so royal. It reminds me of African queens. So I would say Joelle wears a lot of jewelry, which I think is amazing. She likes to do a lot of things with her hair, so she wears hair wraps and things like that. In this final season, she’s not wearing braids, which I’m sure people are going to be like, “Whoa.” Joelle switched it up on everybody really quickly. She also likes a good logo and will definitely do a good logo tee. She’s expressive in her clothing. Her clothing always feels intentional. She wakes up with the intent to get dressed and be cool. 

Do you like to be involved with the wardrobe piece of it?

Oh my gosh, our costume designers, Ceci and Michelle, they are amazing. They are so good. I love them so much. To be completely honest, I’m very trusting of the process. So we do fittings and stuff like that, but I don’t think I’ve ever been like, “Nah, I don’t want to wear that.” They are so good and so distinct. We all dress very differently. What Sam wears, Joelle would never wear. What Joelle wears, Sam would never wear. What Coco wears, Joelle would never wear and vice versa. And I think that is so cool. They ask me, but I’m always just like, “I love this. Let’s do it.” As long as it fits, I’m like, “Great.” 

One of my favorite parts of the show has always been Joelle and Sam’s friendship. What do you love about working with Logan Browning, and does that friendship carry over IRL?  

Honestly, it’s so funny. It’s rare what happened with Logan and I. Tabloids have been reporting on this for years, you know, about actors who play best friends on a show but actually hate each other. And the truth is that is the complete opposite of my and Logan’s relationship. Logan has become one of my nearest and dearest friends. She was with me on my bachelorette. We really translated our friendship on the show into real life. She is a lifelong friend and one of the parts of the show that I will miss the most. Now, I’m getting emotional. Playing her best friend on Dear White People has been… I don’t know what the journey holds and where I’ll land next, and prayerfully, I’ll have a very long career, but playing her best friend has, for sure, been my favorite role to date. It’s been one of my favorite experiences to date, and I know it will be in my lifetime. She is so generous, so talented, so funny, and the truth is Logan is just a good friend. She is a good person. It’s so funny. Sam is so flawed in the friendship area in so many ways, and Logan is not. Logan is really playing a character, okay? I honestly don’t have enough good things to say about Logan, and I’m just so grateful that she has become a lifelong sister and friend.

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