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Ashley Aufderheide Brings 90s Magic to Netflix

The 18 year-old actress stars as the loyal, rebellious Gwen Runck in the follow-up series to "That 70's Show."

18-year-old actress Ashley Aufderheide plays Gwen Runck in "That 90's Show" the Netflix follow-up series to the hit show, "That 70's Show." MUD sat down to interview Ashley about her similarities with her character Gwen, acting with the legacy cast, and the best laughs from her time on the set.
Photo: Victoria Stevens

I started watching “That 90’s Show” last night and it’s absolutely hilarious. I’m so curious about the journey from auditioning to getting the role to now seeing it on Netflix?


I love this question. I auditioned in October, sending in a video of myself. Then in November, I did an Actor's Access, which is essentially like a zoom. The director and executive producers and all of that were in it. I also did one chemistry read with someone auditioning for Leia. So maybe it was three auditions, and then that was it for me. I was actually the first one cast, which is crazy to me, but then I had to do a bunch of other chemistry reads with other actors that were auditioning for their roles. So I did one with Callie, with Max, with Ren, and with other people, which was a fun experience.


When I got the role, I flew out to the West Coast, and we just started the show. It’s been a surreal experience that I cannot believe has happened. And we just had the premiere, and here I am now.


I gotta say, the scene where we first meet Gwen is incredible. It's just such a funny interaction and leaves an impression with the character. Are you two similar in any way?


Gwen is very bold. She's confident, she's a leader, and an extrovert. I'm also very bold, and I feel like if I'm thinking something, I say it. Gwen's the same, like we're both outgoing people. It's actually crazy because Gwen was originally, in her character description, she was a petite powerhouse with pink hair. And once I auditioned for it, they sort of changed who Gwen is as a character to match my vibe, which was pretty cool.


We get to see characters from the original show return for this follow-up series. Were yo a fan of "That 70's Show?"


I hadn't seen the show until I got the audition, so I had to do my research. I watched an episode and immediately fell in love with it. And even if I hadn't gotten the role, I would be binge watching, that's for sure. Every week I got to work with members of the legacy cast, Deborah Joe and Kurt Wood. They were amazing. I mean, everyone in the legacy cast – their timing, their delivery. It's incredible. They're very professional and funny as people as well. A piece of advice that I got from them was definitely to stay authentic to who I am and just have fun. I mean, it's a comedy after all. We're in front of an audience. I wanted to just embrace the moment because I'm so fortunate to be in that position.


Wow, so the show is actually filmed in front of a live audience?


Yes.


Is it the first time you work in a live set?


I'd never done it before. Never really done a comedy before, actually. And I cried after the first live show – I was just so overwhelmed with happiness. It's a lot of pressure, but it's good pressure because you want to make everyone laugh. Their laughs are real. I mean, it literally sounds fake, but it's real, I swear. Before I went to California, I was asking my friends if there was going to be a laughter track? Like, what would happen if I say the line and it's not funny. And I was just overthinking the whole thing. But people actually laugh in between every single joke. And if the laugh isn't as big as it should be, then the writers just change the line and you get the big laugh, which is incredible.


18-year-old actress Ashley Aufderheide plays Gwen Runck in "That 90's Show" the Netflix follow-up series to the hit show, "That 70's Show." MUD sat down to interview Ashley about her similarities with her character Gwen, acting with the legacy cast, and the best laughs from her time on the set.
Photo: Victoria Stevens

Were there any funny behind-the-scenes moments that you remember from filming?


We were laughing a lot of the time, so it's sort of hard to pick one. But there was one scene when Max and Mace are choking on Raisin Brand, and I literally couldn't keep it together. You can actually tell in the episode. It's hard to notice right away, but I noticed it because I remember laughing so hard during that scene because the noises and gestures that they make are so funny. We sort of just made it into a joke because once I started laughing, then Callie started laughing and then Sam, and then suddenly everyone's trying to hold back their laughter. And the director was like, "Ashley, come on." But the writing is just so good and so funny. There's always something to laugh about onset. I mean, these people are holy.


I know exactly what episode you're talking about. It's hilarious.


If you watch it back, you can see I'm trying to hold back.


So the show is set in the 90s. It feels very suburban American show, and all the details are so deliberate and accurate. Are there any things from the 90s that you became obsessed with, like trends or phrases or anything?


Well, Gwen's wardrobe is insane. I mean, my fashion sense was and it's sort of upping itself a little bit, but literally the way that I felt in Gwen's clothes was crazy. I love doing all the costume fittings. I remember I put on her Green Day t-shirt and thought to myself, "it's perfect." Even her nose ring and the music she listens to. She has a Veruca Salt poster in her room, so I started listening to 90s music, more like Backstreet Boys, things like that. The vibes from that time are just overall so cool. I heard that 90 fashion is coming back, and I think that we need to do everything in our power to make that happen.

 

Watch Ashley Aufderheide on "That 90's Show" only on Netflix. Make sure to follow MUD on Instagram for the best conversations with your favorite TV show stars.

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