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Ashley Judd - A Shining Hollywood Star and Humanitarian

Updated on June 19, 2013

Ashley Judd was destined to become a national country singer - to follow in the footsteps of her mother and sister. Instead, she chose the road to acting and soon became one of the world's leading actresses of today. She's best known for her sultry voice, big brown eyes and no-nonsense roles in films that include; Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy and Twisted.

I was first introduced to Ashley Judd onscreen while watching Kiss the Girls. She played a resident Doctor who fought back and refused to play the female victim after being kidnapped, and starred alongside Morgan Freeman. Even back then, it was clear that this was no ordinary or run of the mill actress. She had a spark, a certain kind of charm, and unbelievable talent.

Since her breakthrough onto the big screen, she has starred in over 30 movies, and a handful of TV series, including her latest show - Missing.

Not only is Ashley Judd one of the most recognizable actresses today, but she is also extremely active in both humanitarian projects and political campaigns.

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Introducing Ashley Judd...

  • Full name: Ashley Tyler Ciminella
  • Known as: Ashley Judd
  • Nicknames: Ash or Sweet Pea
  • Was named after Ashland, Kentucky
  • Born on 19 April 1968
  • From Granada Hills in California
  • 5.7 feet tall
  • Married to Dario Franchitti
  • Her mother and sister are famous country singers - Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd

The Road to Fame...

  • In 12 years, she attended 13 different schools before college
  • She majored in French and minored in art history, theater, women's studies and cultural anthropology at the University of Kentucky
  • In 1990, she drove cross-country from Memphis to California to purse her acting career
  • In May 2007 she graduated and finished her studies at the University of Kentucky
  • While studying the Sanford Meisner technique of acting at Playhouse West in Los Angeles, she worked as a waitress at the trendy 'Ivy' restaurant
  • Her first role was playing Ensign Robin Lefler in Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1991

With Natalie Portman in Where the Heart Is
With Natalie Portman in Where the Heart Is | Source
Opposite Morgan Freeman in High Crimes
Opposite Morgan Freeman in High Crimes | Source
  • She replaced Jodie Foster as the lead in Double Jeopardy in 1999
  • Her scenes from Natural Born Killers were deleted
  • In The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Ashley plays both a teenager and a 30-year old woman
  • She was once considered for the female lead in Million Dollar Baby
  • She turned down the role of Catwoman in 2004

Famous Movie Roles

Year
Movie
Role
1995
Heat
Charlene Shiherlis
1996
A Time to Kill
Carla Brigance
1996
Norma Jean & Marilyn
Norma Jean
1997
Kiss the Girls
Dr. Kate McTiernan
1998
Simon Birch
Rebecca Wenteworth
1999
Double Jeopardy
Elizabeth "Libby" Parsons
2000
Where the Heart Is
Lexie Coop
2001
Someone Like You
Jane Goodale
2002
Frida
Tina Modotti
2002
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Younger Vivi Abbott Walker
2002
High Crimes
Claire Kubik
2004
De-Lovely
Linda Porter
2004
Twisted
Jessica Shepard
2006
Come Early Morning
Lucy
2009
Crossing Over
Denise Frankel
2010
Tooth Fairy
Carly
2011
Flypaper
Kaitlin
Alongside Hugh Jackman in Someone Like You
Alongside Hugh Jackman in Someone Like You | Source

Behind the Actress...

  • Some of her hobbies include yoga, cooking, gardening, running and mountain climbing
  • When she's stressed, she bakes chocolate chip cookies
  • Is a self proclaimed feminist
  • In 1996, 2000 and 2002 she was named as one of "The 50 Most Beautful People In The World" by People Magazine
  • In 1997 she became a vegetarian after a friend told her that she was "eating the animal's fear"
  • Her dog's name is Buttermilk, and her cat is named Buttercup
  • Salma Hayek is a good friend
  • In 2006 she entered a 47-day rehab program at a Texas Rehab center for depression
  • She is married to Indy car racer, Dario Franchitti
  • Was named #77 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women of the World 2006" spread

Ashley Judd is her husband's biggest supporter
Ashley Judd is her husband's biggest supporter | Source

Charities and Foundations Ashley Supports

  • Children's Medical Research Institute
  • Creative Coalition
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Eracism Foundation
  • Five & Alive
  • Jeans for Genes
  • International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
  • Listen Campaign
  • Malaria No More
  • Population Services International
  • SixDegrees.org
  • YouthAIDS
  • Women for Women International
  • Equality Now
  • San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center

Humanitarian Work

  • She is a Worldwide Spokesperson for Youth AIDS International
  • She visited Guatemala with Salma Hayek in May 2006 as part of a Youth/AIDS campaign
  • Her travels have brought her to Cambodia, Kenya and Rwanda to help spread the awareness of AIDS among the youth
  • She has met with both religious and political leaders in order to convey the message to those in power, who are able to bring about social and political change
  • In 2011, she joined the Leadership Council of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
  • She has filmed three award-winning documentaries for YouthAIDS which aired on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and VH1

Ashley helping to promote HIV awareness in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Ashley helping to promote HIV awareness in the Democratic Republic of Congo | Source

Political Involvement

  • Ashley was a large supporter for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008
  • In 2009, she publicly condemned Sarah Palin for supporting aerial wolf hunting
  • She signed the Animal Legal Defense Fund's petition in 2010, to urge Governor Steve Beshear to protect Kentucky's homeless animals through tough enforcement of the state's Humane Shelter Law
  • In 2009, she was honored as the recipient of the fourth annual USA TODAY Hollywood Hero, awarded for her work with PSI (Population Services International)
  • Ashley travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in an effort to raise awareness about how conflict minerals fuel sexual violence in Congo
  • She visited hospitals for victims of sexual violence, camps for displaced persons, mines and civil society organizations during her trip
  • On September 30, 2010, CNN.com published an Op-ed titled "Ashley Judd: Electronics fuel unspeakable violence" by Ashley Judd
  • Read her article - "Costs of Convenience"

A Defender of Wildlife

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    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I didn't know that was Ashley's full name! I've always known of her as Ashley Judd. I also first saw her in Kiss The Girls. She was AWESOME as was Morgan Freeman. She's my favorite of the Judd women. Superb tribute Melchi!:)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Sunshine! I'm also a huge fan of Morgan Freeman's work. The two of them together in High Crimes was such a treat - they make a great on-screen pair. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed the hub :)

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I've also always like Ashley Judd she is an amazing actress. We watch the T.V. series I think it was called Missing where she was searching for her son, it was very good and I'm hoping she will do another series on T.V.

      Voted up and interesting, Joyce.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi writer20 - Yes, the series is Missing and it was brilliant. I was hooked on it, but have learned that they've recently cancelled the show after only one season. I also hope she brings out another TV show soon, it was refreshing to see her in a series. Thanks for reading, and for the vote! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You picked a good one to write about. I have always admired her work but I wasn't aware she was so busy in humanitarian activities. Now I'm a huge fan! Well done my friend and love your new profile picture.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Bill! I knew she was involved in one or two projects - but not in so many. Amazing work she is doing, and beautiful on the inside and out. Her website is very inspirational. Thanks for stopping by and commenting - much appreciated, enjoy the rest of your upcoming Sunday :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Stopped by again to say hello to you and Ashley :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Always good to see your friendly face Sunshine! :)

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