Ashleigh LaThrop Brings The Black Girl Nerd To Amazon’s ‘Utopia’

Ashleigh LaThrop’s bio on Instagram reads “sweet tooth like whoa,” revealing two key things about her personality: she knows what she wants and she has a sense of humor. Scroll down her page a bit and you’ll find yourself laughing at one of her quirky red carpet interviews or a really funny/clever yet sweet caption.

LaThrop brings that same charisma to every role. You may recognize the Chicago-native from her performances in the SAG-nominated comedic drama Kominsky Method or her character “ofMatthew” in the dystopian series The Handmaids Tale. Now, she’s taking her talents to Amazon Video’s highly anticipated new series Utopia (available September 25).

We’d expect nothing less from an actress who earned her acting chops in theater before transitioning into television and film. “The very first play I ever auditioned for, I booked,” the budding starlet explained in a candid exchange.  “So for me that was huge, just that I was able to get my foot in the door! I suppose I felt like I’d made it then.”

The silver screen queen stars in the upcoming drama Utopia in which she embodies the character “Becky,” a Black girl nerd, who she describes as “sweet, smart, hopeful, a self-assured woman.”

“She’s not a big fan of superhero stuff but she really wants to get her hands on the graphic novel Utopia because she believes, hidden in its pages lies the secret to the cure for her terminal illness, Diels, ” she explained.

LaThrop has been fortunate to play such dynamic roles over the course of her career. Such characters have allowed her to portray Black women in various lights, which is what intrigued her about playing “Becky.”

“She’s not someone you see very often in media — a Black girl nerd,” she explained. “I love showing off a different side of what Blackness is. Black girl nerds aren’t rare, I admittedly am one, you just don’t see them as often in movies or TV.”

Prior to “Becky,” was “ofMatthew,” another rare Black character whose melanin captivated our attention on The Handmaids Tale. LaThrop is thankful for such “meaty” roles. “For a long time, Black women on-screen tended to be an archetype: sassy Black friend or maid/warm maternal figure who isn’t actually the mother, were the available roles. So to be able to play dynamic, complex, flawed, unique Black women is the dream.”

The Utopia star has been living the dream these days. She reminisced about taking her mother as her date to the SAG Awards.

“I brought my mother as my plus one last year,” she remembered. “And we were at an after party just sitting and taking a moment from the chaos when this woman plops down next to my mom and says she needs a sec. My mother immediately stiffens, so I look over and realize it’s Angela Bassett! But she was super kind and she and mom had a 15-minute conversation and said goodbye to each other like they were old friends. The whole day is like that: surprising and chaotic and very overwhelming, but fun and dreamlike and unforgettable too.”

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