- Full Name Karan Ashley Jackson
- Occupation Actress, Producer, Writer, Singer
- Nationality American
- Birthplace Odessa, TX, U.S.
- Birth Date Sep 28, 1975
- Age 47 Years, 4 Months
Karan Ashley | Biography 2021Former Member of Pop Group K.R.U.S.H
She recalled the Power Rangers audition from the early 1990s with Los Angeles Sentinel in 2015. She said that it was a massive open invite with scouting in Los Angeles, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, and New York. Thousands took part in the audition “Literally, there was a line wrapped around the building,” said Ashley. “From what they told us back then, there were probably about 10,000 people [auditioning] just in Dallas.” She eventually was notified three days later about her selection. She was the replacement of Thuy Trang, the original Yellow Ranger.
Karan Ashley is an American actress credited for her role in the American superhero television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-1996) and action-horror movie Horror Movie Devon’s Ghost: Legend of the Bloody Boy (2005).
She ventured into the entertainment industry in the early 1990s as a member of the girl group K.R.U.S.H and eventually got her hands on acting. Her portrayal as the Yellow Power Ranger in the kid’s show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-1996) turned out to be her big break.
Who is Karan Ashley?
Karan Ashley Jackson is an American actress, producer, writer, and singer. She was born in Odessa, Texas, on 28 September 1975 and later raised in Dallas.
She began her career in the entertainment industry as a member of the girl group K.R.U.S.H., taking over the role of both vocalist and dancer while still in her early teen years. She even choreographed the group’s dance steps with Tina Landon, who is one of the world’s most recognized choreographers.
Later, the group’s first single, ‘Let’s Get Together,’ was featured in Mo Money’s soundtrack.
Ashley also got a chance to work with artists such as Janet Jackson, Johnny Gill, Karen White, Lo-Key, and Mint Condition as a group member.
After the end of the pop group five years later, she decided to plunge into acting and warmed up with her appearance in national ads for Southwest Airlines, TGI Fridays, Chevrolet, and AT&T, among others.
Ashley landed a big break in 1994 with her appearance as Aisha Campbell, the Yellow Power Ranger in the famous kid’s show, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-1996).
In addition, she wrote, produced, and starred in Devon’s Ghost: Legend of the Bloody Boy (2005) and got featured in Nerd Love (2014). In 2014, she also started hosting a Youtube talk show called Uncensored Talk With Karan Ashley.
Early bio and Age
Ashley fixed her sights on the entertainment industry from her early days. She was a singer before getting recognized as an actor.
“I started in the industry as a singer before I was an actress,” Ashley told Los Angeles Sentinel in 2015. “I had been wanting to do it since I was born.” She then further conveyed that she lied about her age to get into the audition of local shows. She was 12 at that time.
“I lied and said I was sixteen years old. I don’t know how I got away with that lie.”
Still, she pulled off the audition, and her progress to Hollywood eventually began after that.
While attending auditions for local plays, Ashley befriended a young lady, and the two attracted the attention of a member of the production crew. Ashley’s first manager was afterward that same production member. He came up with the idea of forming a singing ensemble with the girls.
Subsequently, Ashley was signed to Perspective and A&M Records for five years as a member of the R&B girl group, K.R.U.S.H. (Keep Reaching Up Somehow), alongside the other two members, Angie Smith, and Christy Williams.
The trio later grabbed a hit with the soundtrack, ‘Let’s Get Together’ for the 1992 film Mo’ Money featuring comedian Damon Wayans.
K.R.U.S.H. was eventually set down by the label as their frequent projects hindered them from finishing their album. Although the band disbanded and was dropped from the label, Ashley shared to Los Angeles Sentinel that it was a fantastic experience.
“You can imagine, 13-years old, I’m like sitting in a studio with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, New Edition, Janet Jackson,” she said. “I got to meet everyone I ever idolized in my whole life.” She further added that she wanted to pursue acting next. “When KRUSH ended, I was like, ‘I’m going to be an actress.’”
'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers'
Two months after KRUSH’s disbandment, Ashley shot her chance in acting through an audition for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-1996). She was informed about the audition through an advertisement in the newspaper but was unaware of the show’s hype. However, she attempted for the famous role of the Yellow Ranger, which actress Thuy Trang had lately vacated.
She recalled the Power Rangers audition from the early 1990s with Los Angeles Sentinel in 2015. She said that it was a massive open invite with scouting in Los Angeles, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, and New York. Thousands took part in the audition
“Literally, there was a line wrapped around the building,” said Ashley. “From what they told us back then, there were probably about 10,000 people [auditioning] just in Dallas.”
After a strenuous all-day auditioning session, Ashley received a call three days later that asked her to travel out to Los Angeles to attempt the role for the producers. After another round of auditions, she got another call four days later informing her that she got the part.
“They said, ‘You’re moving to L.A., tell your parents to FedEx your clothes,’” Ashley shared with the same magazine. “My life changed,” she added.
Karan Ashley had her acting debut in the show as the Yellow Ranger. She was the replacement of Thuy Trang, the original Yellow Ranger. Trang and two other primary casts, Austin St.John (original Red Ranger) and Walter Emanual Jones (original Black Ranger) had left the show due to pay disputes.
On Replacing Thuy Trang
In an interview with Adventures in Poor Taste magazine, Trang shared that she was scared that her performance wouldn’t please the audience who were used to seeing Thuy Trang.
“I was very nervous at first,” Ashley stated. “The original three that had left the show were extremely popular and there were huge shoes to fill stepping into their roles. She added, “Once I stepped on set, the excitement of being a working actress took over and any nervousness left. We also had an entire team of super supportive people.”
Ashley appeared on the show for two years, 1994 to 1996. She also appeared in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie in 1995.
Ashley also told AIPT about her favorite moments in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.
“Making the movie! We got to shoot in Sydney, Australia and I think that was really the time we got to know each other. We had so much fun exploring the country and everything was just larger than life. Power Rangers: The Movie had sets that were out of this world. Everything from the costumes to the adventure within the adventure was just so amazing.”
Ashley additionally portrayed Aisha Campbell on the franchise’s short video productions, namely Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Alpha’s Magical Christmas in 1994, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Ninja Quest in 1995, and Power Rangers Zeo: Zeo Quest in 1996.
Exit from 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers'
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995) was a big financial success, and the television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers took its own share of advantage from the movie success. But Ashley ventured a different way. Due to low remuneration and a demanding work schedule, she eventually left the TV show.
“I had gotten to the point where I was really unhappy,” said Ashley. “I loved my cast, I loved being a part of the franchise… [but] I knew the way we should be getting treated. I made the decision to leave”, she told Los Angeles Sentinel in 2015.
On the audio blog Uncensored Radio in 2013, Ashley claimed that the reunion was improperly handled. She alleged that the producers proposed a disparaging amount of money for the Power Ranger’s cameo appearances.
She ranted and raved for about 45 minutes on how badly the 20-year reunion was handled. Her primary lane of dissatisfaction was that her participation would cost her five days off her schedule, but producers only offered to cover for two.
“I’m not trying to help someone make another billion dollars,” she said, “and you’re not even going to pay me for my time? It’s disrespectful. It’s just wrong.”
Later, she made a guest appearance on a different Power Ranger TV series, Power Rangers HyperForce, which aired from 2017 to 2018, portraying the same famous character, Aisha Campbell, the second Yellow Power Ranger.
In addition to her appearance in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers franchise, she also appeared on Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper as Monica Carson in 1995 and Kenan & Kel portraying Melissa Plunkett in 1999. Later, she featured two times on The Steve Harvey Show as Carrie McKnight between 1999 to 2000. Also, in the year 1999, she co-wrote the movie Unto Thee and also starred in it.
She appeared in one episode of The Parkers in 2000 as Bride, Taylor’s Wall in 2001 as Jade, and One on One in 2002, playing the role of Angie. Later, she wrote, produced, and starred as Symphony in the self-created short video Devon’s Ghost: Legend of the Bloody Boy (2005). Subsequently, she appeared in Nerd Love as Karan Ashley in 2014. Two years later, she appeared in the television series Class Dismissed and the movie Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel.
In 2017, she revealed that her short movie The Order was in the pipeline. She was set to appear and produce the short.
GAG Order Films
Similarly, Ashley has worked with several well-known firms, including MTV, BET, ABC, Nickelodeon, Disney, The WB, 20th Century Fox, Asiatic Productions.
She has also founded her own production house, GAG Order Films. Unto Thee, Devon’s Ghost: Legend of the Bloody Boy, and The Order are Gag’s productions.
On Being Black Actress
Despite her massive success in the entertainment industry, she had a long journey to make a name for herself as a Black actor in Hollywood.
“When you go to auditions, every single Black actress is at that audition,” Ashley told Los Angeles Sentinel in 2015. “I can tell you that I’ve auditioned against every single Black actress in this town”, she added in reference to the struggle of every black woman thriving to establish a career in acting.
Ashley married Kimani Ballard in March of 2014. The couple admitted to having dated before marriage. In one of her Instagram posts in 2017, Ashley wrote "Someone gave me this advice before I met my husband and I was so grateful because when he came into my life I was ready to receive the Love I deserved. Stay encouraged LOVERS."
Ballard and Ashley created a half-hour sitcom Grow Up Already in 2011. The sitcom featured personalities such as Wesley Jonathan and Alisa Reyes, including Ashley.
What Happened to Ashley and her husband Ballard?
Since a couple of years following their marriage, Ashley has not mentioned Ballard on her social media. She has even deleted some of her pictures with Ballard from Facebook. This has led to the rise of separation rumors.