Twenty-seven-year-old Asha Bromfield is a Canadian actress, singer, and writer of Afro-Jamaican descent. She was born in 1994 in Toronto, Ontario, and has been a key member of the Riverdale cast since 2017, playing the part of Melody Jones, drummer for Josie and the Pussycats. The star is also well known for her role as Zadie Wells in the popular Netflix show Locke and Key.
Acting and performing come naturally to Bromfield, who took to the stage at the age of five, and before 10, she had won a number of singing competitions.
She’s a proud member of the Dove Self-Esteem Project, which is a mission created by the beauty brand to help young people all around the world build positive body confidence and self-esteem.
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Asha is also now an author, having released her highly praised debut novel, Hurricane Summer, last year. Booklist gave it a starred review, stating, “Bromfield may have made a name for herself for her role in Riverdale, but with this debut, about a volatile father-daughter relationship and discovering the ugly truths hidden beneath even the most beautiful facades, she is establishing herself as a promising writer… this is a must.”
We caught up with Bromfield through email, where she communicated from her home in Toronto. She’s currently pursuing a degree in Communications there, and in her spare time she enjoys things like studying astrology, wearing crystals, baking vegan desserts, and taking walks to the park with her adorable dog, Luca.
Congratulations on your debut novel, Hurricane Summer. Could you tell us a bit about it?
Thank you so much! Hurricane Summer is a coming-of-age novel about a girl named Tilla who goes to Jamaica to visit her estranged father during the summer of one of the worst hurricanes the island has ever seen. The title of the book is really a metaphor for what becomes of her time there when family secrets are revealed, and she is forced to see beyond the veil of paradise. Tilla also finds herself in a love triangle and grapples with her own moral code.
At its core, Hurricane Summer explores the sexual power and policing of women’s bodies. It’s a story about a young woman reclaiming her agency over what she believes about herself, her sexuality and her life. It also tackles colourism, and the highs and lows of the journey into womanhood.
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You recently posted on Instagram, letting your audience know that when you first submitted a book for consideration, it was rejected by over 100 agents. You never gave up, and Hurricane Summer has recently been named as one of the Best Young Adult Books of the Year by Indigo.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers out there?
Believe in your creativity. Believe in your voice and your creation expression. Be prepared to stand by your voice, ideas, and vision and keep the faith when submitting to agents. They don’t know everything—no one does. So trust your creative process and the ideas, pictures, words, sound, voices that come to you. Being an artist can really be such an uncomfortable process, because it’s a process of learning to trust your own mind. It’s about learning how to become one with the self and trust the vision inside of your heart. Vision is such a special gift from Spirit/God/The Creator because it’s given to us so individually and specifically.
The magic is literally put inside of us, and it’s our job to believe it, and pull it out. Not everyone is going to see your vision, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. Follow your truth. I think it’s really important to become your own friend in the creative process. Learn to be kind and gentle with your mind. Champion your own vision and trust that it’s a gift in the first place. My advice, no matter what you’re doing, is to just believe, believe, believe. Even when you doubt. Believe too. And have fun… play. That’s the whole point 🙂
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One of the themes in Hurricane Summer is colourism. You recently told Teen Vogue that you “want Black girls to take away that they have power over themselves, over their bodies, their perception, and who they are in the world and not let anybody paint them in their own weird perceptions.”
With it being Black History Month, do you ever feel pressure as a public figure to campaign for other Black women?
I would never feel pressure. I feel honour. It’s a divine privilege to be able to represent for so many Black women out there. We deserve to be seen, held, recognized and, above all, loved. Because we are Love. We are worthy and so valuable. We are mystical and deeply magical. There are so many goddesses out there just waiting to wake up to their power. To come home to their ancestral truths. I feel so blessed to contribute to that narrative through my work. My only goal is to continue to create work that honours that and celebrates the divinity of Black and brown women all over the world. I also get so excited about more Caribbean representation because there is so much medicine/healing in the islands.
You’re well known for your role as Melody Jones, drummer for Josie and the Pussycats in Riverdale. Did you always know you wanted to be an actress? What’s the most challenging part of your job working as a Black female actress in the entertainment industry today?
I’ve always wanted to be an actress since I was a child. I grew up performing around my house all the time—and I come from a Jamaican family of mystical storytellers. Kwanzaa is held every year, and in my family, it’s a celebration of the ancestors and the children. My cousins and I would come together and write scripts, put on plays, perform, sing and dance for the entire family and extended friends. We were just kids, but it made us feel so important. We would spend a week together beforehand just working on dance routines and learning lines—it was like making the band! We had so much fun just being free to create and explore Black African culture, purpose and identity. I like to think that’s where I got my start on the stage—performing at Kwanzaa. The adults always made us feel we could do anything—and we did.
As far as what’s challenging about my journey, it’s no secret that racism is insidious in the industry. But I think it’s important to highlight that I really, really love being a Black woman. It takes so much softness and deep compassion to move through the world the way we do—and that’s what Black women represent to me: Love. We are resilient but still so soft, loving and deserving. I take so much pride and joy in that. It’s such a privilege for me to be a Black, Afro-Caribbean woman in this incarnation and I celebrate that so deeply. I think a lot of us do, and that’s important to highlight. It’s a blessing to be a Black woman and I give thanks every day! I’m excited by the changes that are happening in the industry, and I look forward to changing the narrative around the truth of who we are, and our capacity to feel and heal ourselves.
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You were born and raised in Toronto. What’s an ideal day in the city look like for you?
I’m actually more of a homebody than you might think. An ideal day for me involves walking my dog, being one with nature, drinking tea, dancing around my room, watching my favourite shows (Girlfriends on repeat!!), creating something new, making music, writing, crying, processing my feelings (big Scorpio energy!!), spending time with myself and my friends and family. I also love spending time cuddled up somewhere cute and cozy… with incense burning. I think it’s my Taurus rising. I’m all about a good, comfy vibe—especially when I’m writing/creating.
Just for fun because we know you love to bake. If you could host a dinner party with three personalities, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Oprah, Maya Angelou and Beyoncé. Pretty self-explanatory, but the wisdom would be so beautiful to experience. So much love in one room. I would love to hear their journeys of resilience and soak in all of their advice on staying true to your heart and your vision.