Born on May 4, 1992 in Sarasota, Ashley Nicole Rickards is an American actress probably best known for her role as Jenna Hamilton on MTV’s “Awkward.” She may also be familiar for her role as Mandy, an autistic girl, in the indie film “Fly Away.”
Ashley graduated with honors from high school at age 15 and is a member of MENSA. While in high school, she took Polish as a language. She is also a former competitive equestrian. She said, “I have no idea what a high school party looks like. I was just with my friend and we were walking down Venice and there was this gathering of people playing Bongo drums, and so…we sat down with them…that’s the closest I’ve gotten to a high school experience, meeting strangers and just hanging out with them.”
Ashley added, “In elementary school I was unpopular and picked on brutally so I can relate to any of that stuff that happens on our show. In middle school I was popular and then in high school I was so focused on academics that I didn’t have time for anything.”
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Ashley Rickards is on the board of directors for Project Futures Somaly Mam Foundation, which aims to prevent and end human trafficking.
Her other television appearances include “Everybody Hates Chris,” “CSI: NY,” “Ugly Betty,” “One Tree Hill” and “American Horror Story,” among others.
Ashley said, “In my personal life, I become my characters. After ‘One Tree Hill,’ I started dressing in Converse and ripped jeans and hoodies. On ‘Awkward,’ it manifests in how I speak. I’m still getting out of it right now.”
In her spare time, Ashley Rickards likes to write poetry, scripts and short stories. She has dated musician Tom Cole, and tweeted PDA pictures of her and Tom in bed kissing.
She said the most surprising part of being in Awkward is the amount of fan response. She also joked that she would love to play a female superhero. “I want to be in a leather cat suit at some point in my career. Who doesn’t? With a shirtless male co-star. I’m just sayin’.”
In 2012, she was seen at the VMAs looking markedly thinner, with blonde hair, which caused speculation she may have an eating disorder.
Ashley Rickards lives in Los Angeles, CA.