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  • Writer's pictureCesar Guerrero Isaias

Interview with Ashley "Cherry" Allen

Ashley Allen (@goddess.of.galaxies), also known as “Cherry” from Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor or “La La Loopsy” from Knotts Scary Farm, is a very well known scare actor who rapidly gained popularity for her time at KSF and the hilarious interactions posted of her on Tiktok! At the actual haunt, she is as entertaining as she seems, always energetic and causing very funny interactions with the horrified guests. In an interview with Ashley, The Windjammer has been able to get insight on how a haunt is through the eyes of a scare actor, both on and off a haunt’s Streets.

Ashley has been able to share some of her experiences with The Windjammer about her time scaring and sliding for both Dark Harbor and Scary Farm with the QMS (Queen Mary Sliders) Team! Slider of 5 years, Ashley has gone through many interesting interactions and incredible experiences. Unlike most of the other scare actors, she got into scaring in a very unexpected way after her and her brother gained interest a year before auditioning, but they were too late to audition that year. Ashley comments, “In almost like a ‘fate’ kinda way, I met some friends, and um, they were a part of the Queen (Mary) Sliding Team, and I kinda just got to know everybody, and they pointed me in the right direction, the rest is history.” She recalls that her inspiration wasn’t anything specific, but more of something that looked entertaining to her. Although she was mostly oblivious to the passion she was getting herself into, Ashley ended up loving the job and scaring as a whole.

Ashley tells The Windjammer that she does wish  to continue scaring in the future, however, she mentions that, “It's definitely a passion project, so [she has] to prioritize [her] real life, but I really love it a lot.” Asked to elaborate on how Ashley personally balances her work with her daily life, she states,"Specifically for me, what has helped is finding work that is flexible within time and location. So I can make my routine whatever I need at that time… the ability to kind of go day-by-day really helps with that, so I can keep myself in check and also still follow my passions.” She later elaborates on her passion and what she loves most about scaring. “There's so many avenues to express yourself; you can express yourself in the design [actions, and background] of the character,… and it all leads up to this moment of just not caring about anything else and letting things happen. It feels so good to be there and the coolest moments can just pop out of nowhere because you are just free to be whatever you want to be right then and there.”

On her journey, Ashley recalls the preparation and process to becoming both a scare actor and slider. She explains how a lot of the process can be very strategic and, "There are certain drills we do to make sure we have safety and control, which especially helps when we're around guests. Just going to the gym and making sure you're healthy and strong helps with agility in general, but the other half of it is very experimental and kind of finding what works and feels best for you.” She explains that understanding the basics of sliding and scaring are the most important, but also knowing how to feel and how you feel while sliding is also incredibly important. “I would say this shows in 2 areas. So number 1 is like the physical, you want to understand your spacing and your control… and also the emotional aspect of it all. You want to do everything that you can to get a good scare out of them, but once you recognize that they might actually be panicking… you need to pull back and give them space and that very much comes with practice.” 

The Windjammer asks Ashley about her 2 main characters: Cherry and La La Loopsy. She explains how she feels as if she’s still Cherry despite being the new character. “At the end of the day, I'd really say that I still am and always will be Cherry. La La Loopsy is more like a different font of the same energy,” She explains that both characters have factors incorporated by the things she likes outside of the haunt world: masquerade masks, bubbly movements she enjoys and personality-wise, the ability to be very sweet with quick changes to aggression. “What really keeps things authentic and original is taking things that I like, ways that I like to scare, and certain things that inspire me and my own energy and then kinda shooting that through different filters.” She further elaborates how these ‘filters’ can be the type of character, the environment, and how she can direct how the character is supposed to look while remaining within the boundaries and limits given to her by the character itself. Cherry for example is a character she very much planned herself to an incredible extent, but La La Loopsy however, “...came to be out of the experiences that I had while at Knotts, and the character built itself naturally, in a kind of a way that's how they're different.” she says.

When asked to give specific insights on being a scare actor, Ashley comments, “Getting in and out of the headspace of that character; because when you get into the headspace, you have to really be in the moment, especially with scare acting. Everything is happening in that moment; it's not a rehearsed situation.” she says. “You might have certain tricks up your sleeve, but at the end of the day, every moment is very different from the next one. Then getting out of it, you have to make sure you don't over-identify with certain aspects of the character, and remember to be a normal human being.” She elaborates how every moment and person varies, so there's many possibilities and avenues to adjust to when it comes to a situation such as scarring. “You can look at their body language, you can pay attention to how old they are, you can pay attention to how they're acting and what they're doing, and how they're interacting with other characters. However, the most important thing is you really just have to feel their vibe and their energy, and know how to make correct split-second decisions.” 

Advice she gives regarding the career of scaring is simply: have fun. “It's a fun thing, there's a lot that you have to put up with, but if you're having fun, you'll have a good time and so will the guests. Specifically what helps anyone become very successful as a scare actor is to observe and watch what other scare actors are doing…If you can go to other haunts and just sit down and watch people in the streets, or watch videos of people who are in the moment and doing their job, that's a really great way to learn and figure out what’s best for you.” She adds that being in the moment, letting loose, and having life simply surprise you during situations like Haunt is incredibly freeing to her. Being able to express yourself through design, acting, background, and more just simply leads up to a remarkable experience. “Have fun, create friends, and really use it as a way to express yourself. There are a lot of fun things you'll find out about yourself that you may have never known, and as long as you are passionate and enjoy the experience, you will learn as things come and that's honestly the best way to do it. So always be passionate and enjoy yourself.”

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