Pass The Mic with Ashley Ray

May 28, 2024

Meet Ashley Ray, host of the podcast TV, I Say w/ Ashley Ray, which was featured in the New York Times as a “2021 Podcast Worth Checking Out.” In addition to podcasting, Ashley is a comedian, actor, writer, and pop-culture critic. Throughout her comedy career, she has appeared in festivals such as the TNK Fest Chicago and ATX Television Festival, and venues such as The Fly Honey Show Chicago, Dallas Comedy House, Just Come NYC, and so many more. Her freelance writing has been featured in New York Magazine, Elle, Variety, and even on Adult Swim’s, ALABAMA JACKSON. Ashley was selected as one of HBO Max’s “Queer Comics to Watch for 2021” and filmed a digital special for the platform. That same year, she did a sold-out hour at Union Hall in New York and debuted a new hour at The Yard Theater in Los Angeles. Currently, she also hosts High Gear Comedy, a monthly live show with Barbara Gray at The Airliner in Los Angeles. 

Ashley sat down with Sophie Anderson, Associate Director, Sales Marketing, Podcasts, as part of our creator-focused season of Pass the Mic. In her interview, Ashley talked about the battles of being a woman in the media industry, the power of audio, and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Tune in below to hear some highlights we love from her interview.

Don’t be afraid to reach out

Don't be afraid to reach out - Ashley Ray

Highlight: “Just don't be afraid to reach out. Understand that you have a voice. If you have something you want to say, people want to help you say it… There is an audience. There's a niche. There's something for everyone. You can find it, and people want to help you find it. At least I do.” - Ashley Ray 

Audio feels more personal

Audio feels more personal - Ashley Ray

Highlight: “I do a lot on social media. I write, I do some video stuff, and I think there's always this level, when you're a woman, of people [saying] ‘Are you attractive? Is that what you're into? Are you someone who can pull someone with your looks on Instagram—if they see you while they're scrolling, will they stop?’ And with audio, I found that people didn't care about those things. It was the intimacy of them wanting to bring my voice into their home to listen to me as though I'm their friend to give TV recommendations. It just felt so much more personal. And then you see that grow into people following you on other platforms, Instagram, whatever. And I feel like they have a better sense of who you are beyond just like the physical, sort of, shallowness of the social media era.” - Ashley Ray

Beating the pressure to be perfect

Beating the pressure to be perfect - Ashley Ray

Highlight: “Particularly as a woman of color, I think we often carry a burden where we're expected to look perfect. If we don't, it is sort of thrown back at us even harder. Your hair has to be perfect. Your nails have to be done. You have to be snatched. You got to look good, girl. And when I want to look good, when I want to do that, I love it. But sometimes I just want to be in sweatpants, talking into a microphone, telling people that they are missing an incredible season of Reservation Dogs. So, I think audio really has that power.” - Ashley Ray

Want to hear the whole interview with Ashley? Check out her Pass The Mic Podcast episode. And when you’re ready for even more inspo, check out our Pass The Mic page

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