If you know Annaleigh Ashford, it’s likely from her Tony-nominated work in the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots.” Aside from a handful of one-off guest appearances on shows like “Law & Order” and “Nurse Jackie,” the actress hasn’t had much of a presence on TV. That, however, is about to change.
As lesbian prostitute Betty DiMello in the new Showtime series “Masters of Sex,” premiering Sunday (Sept. 29), Ashford goes for broke in a daring role, striking a deal with Michael Sheen‘s Dr. Masters — helping move his study into her brothel, if he’ll help her untie her tubes so she can have a baby and settle down for a “normal” life with a man. Do we even need to mention the series takes place in the ’50s?
Ashford strikes such a captivating presence in the series, and for that reason, she is one of Zap2it’s Ones to Watch for the 2013-14 season. Get to know her better with the following Q-and-A:
What’s the current home-screen picture on your phone?
A picture of my husband and I eating ice cream sundaes at a soda bar. We look like we got put in a time machine.
What’s a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?
“Put the Lime in the Coconut.” What does that even mean?
What’s the last item you purchased?
iPhone charger. You can never have enough phone chargers! There is nothing worse than a dead phone.
Do you have any current pop-culture obsessions?
I don’t miss an episode of the “Real Housewives.” I watch every city.
Do you have any nicknames?
Annie. Since I was a little girl.
What’s the worst place you have ever been to?
A gastroenterologist in Chinatown. You don’t want the smell of rotten fish and garbage anywhere near a place of health, especially when you are dealing with your stomach.
What’s your spirit animal?
I don’t know but I hope it is like a unicorn or a koala or something. I hope it’s not a donkey.
Do you have any strange phobias?
It’s a common phobia, but I am very afraid of heights. I played Glinda in “Wicked” on Broadway and had to take Imodium more often than not before being hoisted up in the bubble three stories high.
Air guitar or hairbrush singer?
Hair brush singer. When I was a kid I asked for a karaoke machine in the first grade so I could save the hair brush for brushing hair and use a real microphone!
Who is your last text message from?
My mom. We talk every single day.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be?
I would absolutely be an elementary school art teacher. I would love to encourage children to create art everyday.
Is there a celebrity that you have met and been starstruck by?
I recently met Shirley MacLaine and I was a total weirdo. I just love her so much and I wasn’t expecting to meet her and I was kind of a mess. How could I not have been! It’s Shirley MacLaine people! I have a copy of a club act she did in the late 60’s. I am that kind of fan.
What food can you not resist?
Sour candy. I can’t help it. It is a weakness.
What clique did you belong to in high school?
I didn’t have a specific clique. I roamed freely between all groups.
“Masters of Sex” premieres at 10 p.m. ET Sunday on Showtime.