What if the Salem Witch trials never took predicament? OK, now here’s a belief: What if, instead, the United States militia recruited other folks that notice witchcraft to give protection to the country? That’s the replacement actuality depicted within the Freeform series Motherland: Fort Salem, where great ladies are on the forefront of The United States’s defense and younger witches enlist to give protection to their fellow electorate from damage.

One such practitioner is Abigail Bellweather, a younger witch who hails from a protracted line of great enchantresses. Alongside fellow magic customers Raelle Collar (Taylor Hickson) and Tally Craven (Jessica Sutton), Abigail is enrolled on the titular Fort Salem, a boot camp where she’ll sharpen her mystical abilities in hopes of one day serving on the entrance lines.

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For 21-year-mature actress Ashley Nicole Williams, coming into Abigail’s fight boots is bask in standing in entrance of a mediate. Each Williams and her alter-ego are bold to a fault, and gradually ready to pass forward. Though the designate has apt a number of episodes below its belt, the witches indulge in already begun taking over fingers in opposition to rogue terrorist neighborhood, the Spree, who’re guilty for some in particular hideous acts, bask in hypnotizing a total bunch of other folks to jump off of ledges at a local mall to their deaths. But week after week, Williams is on the forefront because the assured younger witch who refuses to fail.

MTV News spoke with Williams, who equipped some insight on the burgeoning cultural have an effect on of Motherland, her character’s great lineage, and the roles she has her eyes on next.

MTV News: Motherland is your first on-cloak cloak characteristic. Congrats! Did you largely know you wanted to be an actor? 

Ashley Nicole Williams: I started acting when I modified into five, and it modified into extra or less apt one thing I regularly knew that I wished to fabricate. In my soul I modified into bask in, I desire to be a huge title. I modified into in an afterschool program and so that they indulge in things from gymnastics to bounce and so that they also had acting lessons. I took predicament to be taking lessons with Catherine Sullivan in Texas, and she’s the last Disney Channel acting coach. She’s labored with Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. The total lot extra or less fell into predicament. Then I purchased my first agent in Dallas after which Los Angeles. That modified into my runt course. My toddle is no longer accomplished, here is apt the origin, as I defend telling myself.

MTV News: What within the origin drew you to Motherland

Williams: On the total, when I even indulge in an audition, my supervisor or my agents will send [the script] over to me. I purchased the script and within the origin I modified into bask in, „I’m able to indulge in to be a portion of this.“ I ran to my mom and I modified into bask in, „Right here is so freaking frigid.“ I told her to be taught it. On the total, I don’t bask in scripts that I be taught, so the truth that I told my mom to be taught it modified into crazy. But I cherished the empowerment of women and the truth that every fundamental characteristic modified into a woman. It be spooky, but no longer spooky within the witchy Halloween approach. We’re reimagining the witch. There’s so grand kicking ass and taking names, and I freaking cherished it.

MTV News: What fabricate you judge a few of the misconceptions are surrounding the portrayal of a Wiccan standard of living or witches by approach of fiction? How is Motherland altering that belief?

Williams: We’re reimagining fairly bit in current. There are no brooms and cauldrons and  dark cats. They do no longer take care of Satan. We’re no longer allowing society to demonize the witch anymore. Our magic, or our “work” as we call it, is we’re attempting to help other folks and support the enviornment. It’s apt all about taking one fable and flipping it, and I mediate we’re altering the fable. That’s one thing that I in actuality applaud our designate on, because of we’re doing it in extra than one diversified programs, from the witch to gender characteristic reversals and addressing diversified poisonous traits in our society and in our tradition, which I mediate is in total aesthetic.

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MTV News: What cultural aspects of Motherland fabricate you feel the designate does a huge job of exploring?

Williams: With my character, poisonous masculinity is extra or less what we’re relating, but within the characteristic-reversal approach. Abigail has a very tricky persona and she locations that on because of she doesn’t desire somebody to peep that she’s panicked or she’s inclined. From here on out after Episode 5, you’ll peep her utter that vulnerability and allow diversified layers of herself to initiate up. We also contact on gender characteristic-reversal. The males in our designate make a choice care of the kids, they fabricate our weapons. So it is apt exhibiting that we are, as ladies, extra than apt housewives. It be in actuality frigid to flip the fable and designate that we would possibly possibly even be guilty too. You guys can fabricate the total things we fabricate on the abet of the scenes.

MTV News: Abigail’s a Bellweather, so she has all this self assurance and energy that we don’t regularly peep in her companions Raelle and Tally. How has that aided her at some stage in her maintain toddle? Enact you judge it would indulge in hindered her in many programs?

Williams: Correct being a Bellweather comes with self assurance.  So being the first to make a choice a gape at and be taught one thing in current coaching, that is where it helps Abigail — where she has so grand self assurance there with the military and studying contemporary things. It truly hinders her; she has a very titanic ego because of she is a Bellweather, and she in actuality thinks of herself rather than others within the origin.

It be extra or less that facet of there may be no longer any I in crew that she hasn’t in actuality mastered yet. So the self assurance can get in her approach in that facet. She desires to be a frontrunner, but I in actuality feel bask in you cannot be a frontrunner without acknowledging others and accepting the support from others, which is one thing that she desires to be taught.

MTV News: Abigail’s mother has regularly been a constant provide of stress for her daughter. Enact you judge that is been detrimental or supportive to her enhance total and how fabricate you judge that would trade within the atomize?

Williams: I fabricate mediate that the stress helps defend Abigail heading within the trusty route. That’s essentially the most productive approach I’d voice it is no longer detrimental. But Abigail desperately apt wants her mom to, I do no longer know, give her a hug. She desperately desires to be cherished. But her mom will voice, „Oh, I’m pleased with you, if you happen to get to this level.“ That’s even a possibly. Her mom’s apt bask in, „You may possibly presumably no longer fail. While you happen to fail, the Bellweather title fails and in addition you’re going to be the first one to indulge in us fail.“ So I do no longer know, I mediate it builds character, but that is definitely where most of her insecurities lie and it stems from her mom and all of that stress.

MTV News: Enact you judge you’ve gotten any similarities with Abigail or are you fairly diversified from every other?

Williams: I’m truly Abigail by and by. She’s such a queen bee, correct? I don’t mediate I’m that titanic of a queen bee, but she locations a number of stress on herself. We talked about stress coming from her mom, but Abigail locations stress on herself and I, as Ashley, fabricate as successfully. Neither of us desire to fail. We’re both perfectionists and we strive to be the ideal. Whereas I modified into portraying Abigail for six months and Abigail modified into studying about herself, I modified into also studying about myself, which modified into extra or less frigid. It be a stress thing and no longer attempting to fail and let other folks down, but in addition letting yourself down. I mediate that is the largest similarity.

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MTV News: It be a very physical efficiency as successfully. How grand coaching went into the characteristic?

Williams: We did stunt coaching for 3 weeks. The rope coaching — rope lag is what it is called — modified into intense. I did no longer know declare a rope lag. We’re shooting at some stage within the week, but on the weekends if we indulge in a fight scene, I will desire to be taught the fights. We had a titanic dance quantity in Episode 4, so there modified into truly a number of coaching going into it, which I preferred, because of we desire to be as legitimate as we are able to in these roles.

MTV News: Did you’ve gotten quick chemistry with Taylor and Jessica if you happen to started working collectively or did that apt extra or less grow naturally at some stage in filming?

Williams: It modified into quick. I may possibly no longer indulge in requested for a better vibe between us three. We apt straight away meshed from the origin, which I modified into fairly smitten by, because of I did no longer know the intention it modified into going to be and this modified into my first time on a designate. I hear some horrific reports about actors no longer getting on the side of their castmates. I’m bask in, „I am hoping we get alongside.“ But we did. We’re actually handiest pals and sisters, which is so cliche to relate. But we talk every day, even though Jessica’s in South Africa, [and] there may be a time distinction, but we’ll WhatsApp every other. I seek advice from Taylor the total time. We can no longer steer clear of every other. That’s how tight-knit we are. Which I’m so grateful for, because of I do no longer know the intention it’d be if we weren’t.

MTV News: There’s absolutely a extra or less energy in having so many ladies eager in Motherland’s production. So what modified into your journey bask in working with all of those diversified ladies directors who brought their very maintain vision to the designate?

Williams: It modified into so frigid. I modified into so grateful that Eliot [Laurence] had the premise to lift female directors in, because of they’re female, so that they indulge in our female vision as successfully. Correct being led by one other lady modified into apt improbable. I modified into apt so in grief that Eliot no longer most productive wrote this all-ladies solid, but in addition he is bask in, „No, I desire female directors, I desire all the things to be various.“ He’s flipping the fable, truly, in every facet. We had a number of fluctuate within the crew as successfully, which I modified into in actuality grateful for.

Photographed by Lindsey Byrnes

MTV News: Within the spirit of women uplifting other ladies, who is someone within the bogus that you just love?

Williams: My all-time favorite actress is Taraji P. Henson. If I’m able to ever work with her, that would possibly possibly apt be a dream reach simply. Being in a predicament to no longer most productive work with her, but apt soak in all the things she has to relate bask in a sponge, to be round her for a conversation, would possibly possibly be improbable. I would no longer even desire to work with her, apt to be a sponge round her. I in actuality feel bask in she can apt embody any character and freaking execute it. So certain, Taraji P. Henson.

MTV News: You talked about here is the origin of your toddle, no longer the pinnacle. The do fabricate you peep yourself in five years?

Williams: I am hoping Motherland is peaceable coming into into five years, apt to peep where we are. I also desire to enterprise into motion photos. When the movie theaters initiate abet up, I’d even bask in to seem in a titanic field predicament of job movie. I’ve regularly wanted to fabricate a Pixar movie. I’m a Disney nerd. Within the event that they ever did a are living-motion The Princess and the Frog, I would possibly want to be Princess Tiana. The checklist goes on and on. So in five years, I am hoping to be writing as successfully, no longer apt acting. I’ll get my bachelor’s diploma in film and digital media in Also can simply. If I’d write one thing. I’d bask in to write a movie and possibly solid myself in it!

Motherland: Fort Salem airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Freeform. You may trip it on Hulu.

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