Australia’s Ashleigh Brewer became a soap success down under on the long running series Neighbours playing heroine Kate Ramsay for five years. She left the show with this statement to her legions of fans: “I really feel like I’ve done my character justice and the time is right to close this chapter and open the next exciting one.” And a new chapter certainly began for Brewer, as she next landed a primo role on the hit U.S and international smash soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful!
Nowadays, Ashleigh plays the role of the alluring Ivy Forrester, one of the newest members to the leading familial clans of the series on the CBS Daytime drama. In story, Ivy seems to have her heart set on Liam Spencer played by Scott Clifton. But, can Ivy truly steal Liam’s heart away from his long time love Hope (Kim Matula), even though Hope is now married and pregnant with child to Liam’s brother, Wyatt (Scott Clifton)? Oh, the tangled web of relationships B&B executive producer and head writer Brad Bell weaves within his highly successful formula of young love triangles and quadrangles.
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with the Ashleigh to find out how she came to the attention of B&B, what she thinks of the recent Amsterdam and Paris remote storylines and the emotional fallout for the characters involved, the departure of Kim Matula, and if a dark turn may be in the works for Ivy! One thing is for certain, the sky is the limit for this beautiful young star as Ivy becomes positioned to become a force to be reckoned with amidst the backdrop of the high fashion industry!
What did you think of the story in Amsterdam that had Wyatt (Darin Brooks) manipulating Liam (Scott Clifton) and Ivy together?
ASHLEIGH: I thought it was a great way to show where everyone stood within the love square, as it is. I always think it’s exciting to be a part of a story that is set in such a beautiful aesthetic setting that is so far away!
There was quite a little catty moment, or pseudo cat-fight, between Ivy and Hope (Kim Matula) during the Amsterdam episodes. What did you think about it … and how it came about?
ASHLEIGH: I think the storyline was good, because it forced people to sort of be in confined spaces. I It forced the four characters to be so close together in that amount of time, and so it was sort of interesting to watch play out. As for the girls, it was about the competition. For Ivy, it was the alpha-male kind of thing where she was testing the waters to have a bit of fun between the two characters, but also to see who stood where.
Does Ivy see Hope as a nuisance now … and in her way of being with Liam?
ASHLEIGH: I don’t think she has ever thought of her like, because Ivy has always been respectful of Liam’s feelings towards Hope, and vice-versa. Ivy gets frustrated with it as she looks at the view, and that Liam is so tightly-wound around Hope’s finger. I think her feelings are deep enough for Liam to allow him time, and she is willing to wait. Ivy has more patience than I ever would!
Do you see Ivy becoming in cahoots with Wyatt to keep Hope and Liam apart in the future?
ASHLEIGH: Yeah, I think that would be awesome, and I could totally see that happening. Down the road, I do hope Darin Brooks and I can work more together.
Does Ivy think after Amsterdam that she has her hooks into Liam now and things are going her way?
ASHLEIGH: I think it’s kind of an unexplainable thing. When you have a history with someone for so long, I think understands that, and people can hold other people back. Ultimately, she is working on trying to get Liam out of that situation.
In Amsterdam, I heard you got very sick. I know you discussed it during your appearance on The Talk, and as well, Scott and Darin mentioned it when they were guests on our recent broadcast of Soap Nation Live! What exactly happened?
ASHLEIGH: I got an injury on my leg that got badly infected that was brought on by the plane ride to Amsterdam. My leg swelled up and it cut open by a doctor. It just didn’t go away, and I couldn’t walk on it any more. After the incision was made, it wasn’t really cared for properly, and so then I was taken to emergency, and the rest is history. I was on some strong pain pills for the last 48 hours we were there, so that was a crazy way to work. It was the best couple of hours of my life! (Laughs) But then I needed some more to get me through the afternoon, and then I started to get really sick. I don’t even take an Advil if I have a bad headache, or something. These strong painkillers reacted with my stomach while we were shooting on the boat. I spent the whole afternoon so nauseous and it was horrendous! I still look back on the whole thing though and think, “That was a great trip!” (Laughs) However, I will have a scar on my leg for the rest of my life from that trip.
What was it like being in Amsterdam, where B&B has such a huge following?
ASHLEIGH: In Europe, The Bold and the Beautiful has such a huge following. What fascinated more so is that I am not even on air there for like another two years and they already know who I am!
Kim Matula decided to leave the show. What are your thoughts on her departure and your time working with her?
ASHLEIGH: Obviously, I have not been on the show for very long, but she is such a gem. Kim really helped this show for so long, and did such an incredible job. Whoever steps into the role will have big shoes to fill. I have such great respect for her.
Scott and Darin mentioned on Soap Nation Live! that it was emotional last day for everyone when Kim wrapped at B&B. Were you there?
ASHLEIGH: I was there, and with her in the last scene she taped. It was extremely emotional as in anything that ends, but Kim is going to go on and do great things.
It seems like every actor or actress here in L.A from Australia has been on Aussie soaps, Home and Away or Neighbours!
ASHLEIGH: Yes! (Laughs) Every other person I see here in Los Angeles has either done Home and Away or Neighbours, or either knows someone who once had a quick guest role on it. So somehow, I do feel like everybody is connected to it!
Tell me about your journey on Neighbours and the part you played?
ASHLEIGH: I finished Neighbours in December of 2013, and I played Kate Ramsay and I was on the series from the beginning of 2009. Kate was a good girl. Sometimes she would get a little crazy, and it didn’t bother me to play the good girl, because Neighbours is a very wholesome show.
Because you had been on Neighbours for five years as Kate Ramsay, did people stop you everywhere you went, like they often do to soap stars here in the U.S. when they are out and about?
ASHLEIGH: It would depend on where you were. I lived in Melbourne, and if you go to a big shopping mall or something like that, people would come to meet and call me “Kate”. Having played Kate for five years, I can’t imagine what it must be like for somebody like Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke, B&B) who has played her role for 27 years! Even now if I heard “Kate” I would turn around. You get used to a director calling you “Kate” or “Ash”. I have never been an “Ashleigh” … or called it as much as “Ash”.
So, how did this all end up happening that you landed the role of Ivy Forrester on B&B? It was a brilliant move to cast an international-based actress on the international smash soap opera, and one that is hugely popular in Australia.
ASHLEIGH: It is cool! Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) expressed an interest in me even before I left Neighbours. I feel like maybe he had heard somewhere along the line that I was leaving, and I have a considerable fan following, and I think for someone young, he knew I had experience in this “soap” setting. I think that did spark some interest and it kind of went from there. I ended up having a meeting with Brad, and B&B producer Ed Scott, and a few others from the show, and it went so well. I also met Darin Brooks (Wyatt). When I met everyone I really thought it was just going to be a general meet and greet. Next, they wanted me to do a chemistry read with Darin! I was so surprised, as I thought I was just going to shake some hands and then they would say, “Thanks. We’ll remember you.” (Laughs) I ended up joining B&B in May of 2014. They wrote the character of Ivy specifically for me. How lucky am I?
What did you first think of Darin Brooks when you initially met him?
ASHLEIGH: I thought he was so nice and cute, who wouldn’t? So, we did that chemistry read, and apparently that didn’t go to well, because we are not love interests on the show right now! (Laughs) Speaking of “love interests”, I am still trying to figure out how to make Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) not a blood relative of Ivy’s! (Laughs)
Guess what? Actually, Ivy and Ridge are not blood relatives! So, maybe there is a chance for a “love connection” down the road! We are sure many gals in the B&B cast would like Thorsten as their love interest, too! (Laughs)
ASHLEIGH: Oh, that is good news. You just made my day! He is the hottie, I mean seriously! I mean, Ridge was hanging all over Caroline (Linsey Godfrey) recently, and so maybe he is working his way down the age ladder! (Laughs)
What did you know of the character of Ivy when you first came on to B&B?
ASHLEIGH: I did not know a single thing. Originally, Ivy was supposed to be American, so I knew I would have to put on an accent.
Do you have an American accent that you can easily put on when doing a character?
ASHLEIGH: It used to be so good, because I was working so hard on it, but now I am a little bit lazy. But since I don’t hear a lot of Australian accents any more, and if I have a long day, I will say words funny.
Funny man, Fred Willard was recently cast as your on-screen father John Forrester. What did you think of Fred being cast as Ivy’s father … and how was it to work with such a talented man?
ASHLEIGH: I loved it! We worked very well together, in fact, our producer Ed Scott came up to us after we did about five or six scenes and said, “Are you two really related?” (Laughs) The scenes were so seamless, and they just seemed so nice and easy. Ivy loves her father, and they have a nice relationship. She strikes me as a “daddy’s girl”, but I am like that in real life, so maybe it’s me that is coming out through her, in that regard.
In the big episodes that had Ivy in Paris with the rest of the younger set, Ivy inadvertently helped wreck Liam (Scott Clifton) and Hope’s (Kim Matula) relationship! Were the fans “hating” on you?
ASHLEIGH: I have not seen anything negative at all; I think the fans thought that Liam (Scott Clifton) and Hope (Kim Matula) have gone on for so long that any change was going to be a welcomed change. That is not to say the storyline isn’t still thriving, but I think to bring in something else, no one is yelling at me, “We hate you for coming between them!” (Laughs)
How would you recap what happened in Paris?
ASHLEIGH: Ivy was sitting on the bridge and she was taking a photo of Hope and Liam. Then Quinn (Rena Sofer) comes along and sabotages the whole event for Liam, by pushing Ivy into the river. So now Liam is torn whether to save Ivy’s life or making it to the love of his life on time. Ivy was not in cahoots with Quinn! Nor is she on “Team Quinn”, nor will she be ever, because she loves Liam!
What does Ivy think of Hope’s pregnancy with Wyatt as her baby daddy … and what that means for her burgeoning relationship with Liam?
ASHLEIGH: I think it’s a bad reminder of the love that could have been between Hope and Liam, and I think Hope is reminded of the same thing. I feel Hope gets away with things so easily. She gets away with murder!
What it has been like working with Daytime Emmy winner Scott Clifton?
ASHLEIGH: I didn’t know that he was an Emmy winner! He is a hard working, and easy to work with on set. We kind of gel! You are easily in synch with another actor, or you’re not. He is great. Scott also does a terrific Australian accent!
Where can you see Ivy headed within the company framework of Forrester Creations?
ASHLEIGH: Professionally, I think I have been noticing she is good on the business end, not just on the designing end of things. People listen to her, and Eric Forrester (John McCook) seems to listen to her. I could see her getting more involved with PR for Forrester Creations.
I love how every one of the Forresters has no initial drawing talent or design background … and all of a sudden they are a high-fashion designer!
ASHLEIGH: Exactly! (Laughs) Ivy is young, but she knows what she is doing!
What would you like to see happen for Ivy, if you could foresee the future, or have a hand in writing the show?
ASHLEIGH: I would like to see her flip around and become evil! Why not? (Laughs)
Fans of B&B have mentioned since Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) is no longer on the canvas, Ivy is going to take her place as that type of character within the younger set!
ASHLEIGH: I know! That is all I hear! I think there is still potential for that. I think she is still green and in a new country. I think some things would need to, or could happen, to propel her do be bad. It would be really fun. It would be kind of interesting actually if Hope lost the baby, and then Ivy and Liam ended up having a baby! However, what I am seeing right now is Ivy has quite a strong backbone. If she gets even a hint of something not going quite right or her way, and I don’t mean in a vindictive type way, she never backs down or hides away, and she speaks what’s on her mind. There is a strength coming through in her that I am really appreciating. Originally, I thought perhaps they would map Ivy out as a wimp, but she has turned out to be anything but! She is a lot of fun to play right now.
What do you think are Ivy’s true goals at this point? Does she want to nab Liam as her man … or does she want a major career in the fashion industry more?
ASHLEIGH: She is focused on Liam, and she is focused on her career. In the storyline, when Ivy finds out she is going to Amsterdam, because of her jewelry line, it’s huge for her! The first thing she did was to run off and invite Liam, and I get that it is a part of the storyline. However, a part of me was like, “Oh, girl! Just go do your work for four or five days and go back home!” So therefore, I feel like she is a little more focused on Liam then she is letting on.
Do you think Ivy’s interest in Liam is going to turn into some sort of obsession, down the line?
ASHLEIGH: Maybe, but I don’t think Liam is helping that. I don’t think this is completely one-sided. We shall see. I feel she is more in love at the moment than Liam right now, because she has to split his attention away from Hope!
So, are you hoping that Ivy ultimately wins the heart of Liam Spencer? Do you want Ivy to become more of an evil bitch? Now that Kim Matula had left the series, and fans will see how the story plays out in the coming weeks, what do think that means for the character of Ivy> What did you think of what Ashleigh shared in our interview? Comment below!