For the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series - where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way - we’re posing some of the big questions to actor ASHLEY WALTERS.
Ashley is one of the stars of the new series of ‘Drunk History’, a show which faithfully tells you all those bits you missed in history class, as told by drunk comedians.
He first made his mark as a rapper going by the name of Asher D, and as a member of the So Solid Crew.
Following childhood roles in ‘Grange Hill’ and other TV shows, more recently, he has turned full-time to acting, with roles in ‘Bullet Boy’, ‘Top Boy’ and ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
For his latest gig, Ashley sat down with HuffPostUK this week to share some of his hardest lessons, his hilarious guilty pleasure, and what keeps his feet firmly on the ground...
What do you do to completely switch off?
I sit down on my sofa and I turn on ‘Judge Judy’. That’s my guilty pleasure. I could do a whole day of that.
How do you deal with any negativity that comes your way?
I try to tell myself that, in every negative, there is a positive. I’m not a fan of social media, to be honest. I do have accounts, but I decided over the New Year that I would give myself a year off, because I felt that it took away some of my creativity. When you’re watching a lot of other people, it seeps into your own creativity and starts to dilute it.
When and where are you at your happiest?
Definitely when I’m with my kids. I have a lovely baby boy, he’s just turned five months, and he’s my pride and joy.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Fake it until you make it. My step-dad told me that, when he started managing me about ten years ago. I was financially in a really bad place, and we had to go to meetings talking about prospective new projects. I used to ask, “Can we afford this?” And sometimes we would blag it. But it paid off.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
This game is full of rejection. As an actor, you are being told “No” an awful lot of the time. You have to keep getting up and carrying on to get to where you want to go. It’s hard, though.
What would you like to be able to tell your 13-year-old self?
I would say, “Chase money and not women.”
What are the three things at the top of your to-do list?
I’d love to fly a plane; I’d love to go to Thailand, never been; And I’d love to sky-dive.
What do you think happens when we die?
Go to a better place, where all wars and challenges, where pain of love and loss is gone, a place of resolution.
When or where do you feel in the presence of something larger than ourselves?
My father passed away in 2005, and day after, I sat in my flat in Woolwich on my bed, and I feel that I saw him. I feel that he touched him. And it was a very comforting experience, and I became relaxed. Before that point, I would have thought I’d get up and run, but I didn’t, I embraced it, and I was so fortunate.
What is the quality you most prize in your relationships?
Trust. I know it’s cliché, but without it, nothing else works.
What keeps you grounded?
My kids. I have eight children, my eldest is 17 and my youngest is 5 months, and I’m just dad to them. There’s no nonsense.
What was the most recent act of kindness you received?
Yesterday, when I was allowed to do a 3-pt-turn on a really busy street. In my area, you aren’t normally afforded that courtesy, and I was on the nursery run where every moment is critical, so it meant a lot.
‘Drunk History’ tells true stories from history, as told by blind drunk comedians, on Wednesdays at 10pm on Comedy Central UK. Ashley stars as Charles I with Judi Love on drinking duty on 26 April.