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Sophomore Becomes Part of Modern Family

Published: November 17, 2010
 Ashley Lay ’13 put on the headphones, held the script in her hands and listened to the dialogue as the cast and crew of ABC’s Modern Family filmed an episode of the television comedy on location at a Hollywood mall.

Moments later, Lay became part of the show as an extra and will make her television debut tonight when the show airs “Manny Get Your Gun” at 9 p.m. Lay walks into the scene right behind Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell Pritchett), Eric Stonestreet (Cameron Tucker) and Norman Lloyd (who has worked with Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles). The scene includes a flash mob dance with Jesse Tyler Ferguson at the mall.

“It was a really neat experience,” said Lay, of Tampa. “I can’t wait to see it. The dialogue is really funny.”

It all started with jaw surgery. This summer Lay was stuck at home after the surgery, eating with a syringe. She said her dad felt bad for her, especially since her younger sister, Kelsey, an National Hot Rod Association competitive drag racer, was out racing all summer. So her dad went online to, bid on and won an experience he thought Ashley would not only enjoy, but benefit from.

Lay is a film and media arts major who wants to eventually move to California to pursue a career in film. She wants to experience it all, from directing to producing to writing to acting.

“I’d like to be the next Ron Howard,” she said.

Since the Lay family is a huge Modern Family fan, the Charitybuzz experience was a perfect fit. Ashley flew with her parents to Hollywood in mid-October for four days of meeting the actors, touring the sets and becoming part of the action.

“The experience definitely helped me both in terms of academics and my career,” Lay said. “It showed me how they do it in the real world and how everything comes together. It’s just amazing.”

Lay met production assistant Rachael Field, a recent Northwestern graduate, who was able to relate to Lay as a mentor. She encouraged the UT sophomore to study abroad and look into an internship with a production company. By the end of the trip, Lay was inspired.

“It motivates me to learn more and do more and get to Los Angeles to work,” Lay said.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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