Ashley Marie Greiner
I don't think many readers here watch soap operas -- and with good reason. Having said that, the daytime soap As the World Turns deserves a nod for featuring one of the few -- perhaps the only -- plus-size 'tween actresses currently in the public eye.
Her name is Ashley Marie Greiner, and unfortunately, there aren't any good pictures of her online. What little is available shows her as a child. (She's now 11 or 12.) But she is a gifted young performer, and she reminds me of Christina Schmidt during the first season of Degrassi, especially because Faith (the character that Ashley Marie plays) is very similar to Terri -- both pretty girls who are acutely self-conscious about being full-figured.
To its credit, As the World Turns has been making the most of this actress. For months, the show ran a storyline in which Faith's mother became addicted to diet drugs -- and this, in turn, led to Faith developing an eating disorder herself.
It was a powerful storyline, far above the usual soap-opera rubbish, because it effectively dramatized how body-image issues can be passed down from mother to daughter. Faith's mother learned a hard lesson about how harmful an example she was setting for her daughter, with her self-destructive actions. Hopefully, any mothers watching the show (and I'm sure that there were many, considering the target demographic of soap operas) realized the importance of creating a size-positive environment at home, both in words and deeds.
There have been several other favourable moments in the show involving Faith and body image since then, including a wonderful scene in which Faith's quasi-boyfriend makes an offhand comment about finding girls with actual figures more attractive than fashion-magazine toothpicks. But the most important thing is that the show is putting a full-figured 'tween actress in the public eye, and giving her solid storylines. Ashley Marie is doing a fine job in the role.
(Of couse, the only way to watch this show is by TIVOing or recording it, then fast-forwarding through any storylines that don't involve Faith. That way, a whole week of programming can be viewed in a few mintues, with the irrelevant bits ignored.)
Re: Ashley Marie Greiner
Shes a cute girl. Its hard to find any current pictures online, although I came across this thumbnail:
When she appears on the show, she is very pretty.
I remembered her name when I stumbled across the following interesting bit of info the other day. The show on which Ashley appears will be doing a special "Victorian Christmas" episode
Says the article:
Its an intriguing idea. The question is, how authentic will it be? Will it also adopt Victorian standards of behaviour - politeness, gentility, refinement?
Whats interesting is that while the Ashleys character struggles with an eating disorder on the show, in the Victorian era her cherubic looks would have been considered ideally beautiful, especially for a child or young girl. I wonder if the show will acknowledge this?
I might have to tune in, just to see how it turns out. For my money, I think all television shows would be improved if they were permanently set in the Victorian era, and embodied the healthier values of those times, in lieu of the vulgarity of modern pop culture.
Re: Ashley Marie Greiner
I actually watched this episode; perhaps the first and last time in my life I'll ever tune in to a soap opera. It was better than I expected. The premise was clever - a Victorian-style doll's house "comes to life" (like the Nutcracker in Tschaikowsky's ballet), and the characters in the show play the animated dolls, in full Victorian guise, with contemporary manners and sensibilities.
Unfortunately, Faith (Ashley Marie Greiner's character) only appeared in the Victorian segment for a brief moment, but she starred in the framing sequence, and she is indeed very pretty.
What I found especially interesting were the costumes and the sets, which were beautiful and felt surprisingly authentic, considering the constraints of daytime TV. CBS has a "making of" video about the episode that's worth a look:
As I was watching the show today, I couldn't help but think how perfect it would be if plus-size models were to appear in an ad campaign or editorial layout in this style. The "making of" video is very informative in that respect, as it explains the work of the show's crew in making such a period piece come to life.
CBS also offers a couple of "making of" slideshows:
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