While Ashley Newbrough’s holiday movie “A Merry Christmas Match” premiered BEFORE Halloween, the Rhode Island native starts her own festive celebrating after the trick-or-treaters have all removed their masks and collected their candy.
“I don’t start putting up Christmas decorations until November – I like to give each holiday their moment, Christmas being the grand finale,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.
We recently sat down with Newbrough to discuss Hallmark’s seasonal success, peanut butter cup cravings, and seaside stress relief.
TrunkSpace: Your most recent project, “A Merry Christmas Match,” kicked off Hallmark’s Miracles of Christmas event. What is it like being the unofficial ambassador of the holidays season!?
Newbrough: I’m a huge Christmas fan, I was happy to kick off the season.
TrunkSpace: What’s amazing about the premiere is that it actually took place BEFORE Halloween. What are your thoughts on getting our Christmas on before our pumpkin-shaped peanut butter cups have even been fully devoured?
Newbrough: Now I’m craving peanut butter cups! While Christmas is my favorite holiday, autumn is my favorite season. I don’t start putting up Christmas decorations until November – I like to give each holiday their moment, Christmas being the grand finale.
TrunkSpace: We’re suckers for Hallmark holiday movies here, and the popularity around the Miracles of Christmas event continues to grow. In your opinion, what is it about movies like “A Merry Christmas Match” that continues to draw such big audiences for the network?
Newbrough: Hallmark knows how to create the ultimate Christmas and they deliver it right into your living room wrapped in a red bow. Their films set the tone for the holidays and the heart they put into every story serves as a reminder of what the true meaning of the season is all about. It’s a safe place for people to relax and enjoy. It’s like an escape into a snow globe from the stresses of every day life.
TrunkSpace: So much of what makes a movie like “A Merry Christmas Match” work is the chemistry between its leads. In your case, that was Kyle Dean Massey. How much time did you two have together prior to arriving on set to play with that chemistry and see what worked/what didn’t?
Newbrough: We didn’t get any time to do anything prior to be being on set. The first time I met him was right before we shot the last scene of the movie. I got so lucky with Kyle Dean – he’s an absolute dream to work with. During the first week we both ended up at one of the diners in Idyllwild so we had breakfast together with my mom, who was in town visiting. My mom loved him instantly. I was won over after he filled me in on the fact that he was a part of “The Book of Moron” workshops! He’s very humble, so I thought I’d throw that one out there… needless to say, I adore him and we became friends immediately.
TrunkSpace: From what we understand, Hallmark movies shoot at an incredible pace. When you’re shooting so many pages in a single day, does it require a different preparation for the material than you would normally take?
Newbrough: You really have no choice but to dive in and hope they like what you’re doing. Thankfully I work well under pressure. It’s very much a team effort.
TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “A Merry Christmas Match” that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Newbrough: I will take the cast with me. After getting to know them I made the mental note of keeping them in my life long after we wrapped, whether they liked it or not. I love Idyllwild too – it’s beautiful and the town mayor is a golden retriever named Max!
TrunkSpace: You were extremely interactive with fans on Twitter while “A Merry Christmas Match” was airing for the first time. How does that real time interaction with viewers change the acting experience for you when it comes to television? Does social media allow for a more – almost theater-like experience given the ability to hear from people as the performance/piece is being seen?
Newbrough: Live tweeting is an exceptional experience. It can be overwhelming but it feels like you’re in it together with the viewers. Hearing their thoughts scene by scene offers a fresh perspective and makes it more fun to watch. Their support is always appreciated too.
TrunkSpace: You’re originally from Rhode Island. What is something that is undeniably New England about you that you can’t shake no matter how long you’re away from the Ocean State? (And as a bonus question… can you tell those who aren’t from Rhode Island what coffee milk is?!?)
Newbrough: I moved from Rhode Island when I was three so I didn’t get a chance to develop any New England tendencies or learn what coffee milk is! Now I have to look that up. I find walking along the beach – being close to the ocean – is one of the best stress relievers. It can work some serious magic… I like to think being born of the Ocean State has something to do with that. Plus, New England is famous for their vibrant falls (which is my favorite season). LA doesn’t get fall and it breaks my heart to miss it.
TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Newbrough: All of the opportunities I’ve been grateful to experience have added up to a many highlights. One that stands out would be when I was cast in ‘Privileged’ alongside Lucy Hale and JoAnna Garcia Swisher. It was the role that got me to move to Los Angeles – it changed my life. Getting to work with legends like Rod Taylor and Barry Bostwick are also big stand out moments for me.
TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Newbrough: And ruin all the surprises??? I wouldn’t dare.
“A Merry Christmas Match” will air throughout the holiday season on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.