Five-minute interview with…………………………………………….Ashlee Olivia Jones
1. Why choose Eartha Kitt for your story?
I chose Eartha Kitt in the 1st place because at first, I didn’t know who she was, this was in 2007/8/9 I was doing theatre in Chicago and kept being compared to her after my shows. So, me being a college educated actress with a lot of time on my hands waiting for my phone to ring…email to blow up with offers and opportunities upon graduating from the top ranked Theatre School at DePaul university, I decided instead of sitting there idly eating, I would invest my smarts, love of research and talents into seeing who this lady Eartha Kitt was and why I was constantly being compared to her.
To my surprise, I was schooled in more ways than one. I saw the obvious facial resemblance, but when I noticed we had the same body type it was my 1st “aha” moment.
Then I heard her voice and we had a similar uniqueness in tone.
I then delved deeper into her life, watching YouTube clips of interviews and performances, reading her 4 autobiographies and her fitness book. I became obsessed with how exciting she was to watch and how at the core of her I saw ME. Me dealing with not being chosen, me feeling like an outcast, me dealing with men, me at who I believed I really was inside and how much power I had if I just trusted myself. An opportunity to write and perform my own solo show as a part of Mpaact Theater Company’s Solo Jams series in Chicago arose and I took full advantage, feeling like it was a stepping stone to my calling of telling this woman’s story. I believe in signs, I believe that everything happens for a reason and in this fantastical life that I’ve chosen to live, I’ve committed myself to hearing and listening to that little voice, that little idea in my head, in hopes that one day it will unleash itself as a BIG VOICE, A BIG IDEA.
2. Did you uncover anything surprising about her life?
She didn’t learn her real birthdate until she was 71 yrs old.
3. Are there any tidbits you can share about her time as Catwoman on the “Batman” series?
Because she was a black woman and black and white relations were not yet tolerated on-screen at that time, they cut out the love story aspirations for Catwoman and Batman and created the character BATGIRL to take on that end of the storyline, while Catwoman remained enemy #1.
4. What made her such a bad ass?
Eartha Kitt was a bad ass because she turned her differences into trends. She made a legend out of nothing. When America said no, she went to Europe, and kept working. Came home 6 years later to a standing ovation on Broadway in the production of “Timbuktu.” She broke the cycle of “absent mother” and became a statute mother to her daughter whom is a great mother herself to her daughter today, a direct result of the way Eartha flipped her the worst of her circumstances into good. Eartha coupled her sex appeal with her talent and was not afraid to use what God-gave her, resulting in a legend. Eartha prevailed through all the chatter and rumors, living out her truth and millions adored her. Eartha Kitt is a badass because her legacy lives on today and just the mention of her name sends chills up spines.
5. What else do you have coming up and where can you be reached?
Next on the agenda is fundraising for a short film version of my Eartha show to submit to festivals.
I also have aspirations to bring EARTHA to Broadway, hopefully in connection or with the blessing of her daughter Kitt.
IG: @olivia_bad, @earthas_kit