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\'That \'90s Show\' star Ashley Aufderheide
\'That \'90s Show\' star Ashley Aufderheide
Photo by Victoria Stevens
Culture > Entertainment

Ashley Aufderheide Teases ‘A Lot Of Drama’ For Part 2 Of ‘That ‘90s Show’

To me, the perfect TV character has three things: a great personality, interesting backstory, and a fun group of friends who help them grow as a person. While not every television persona possesses these qualities, Ashley Aufderheide’s That ‘90s Show character, Gwen, sure does.  With her spunky personality and no-nonsense attitude, Gwen is the definition of ‘90s girl power. But her magnetic charm and unfiltered honesty wouldn’t be possible without the talent of Aufderheide, a star who brings her own refreshing authenticity to the screen. 

Aufderheide, 19, has worked on many projects throughout her career — like the 2016 film Infinitely Polar Bear starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana — but unlike past characters she’s played, the actress aspires to be more like Gwen in real life. “There’s nothing negative that I can say about Gwen, and I mean that in a genuine sense,” she tells Her Campus in an exclusive interview. “Gwen is emblematic of so many things that I aspire to be in my life. She’s really confident in herself, self-assured, speaks her mind, and is such a loyal and amazing friend to Leia.”  

Conversely, Aufderheide has also seemingly started incorporating parts of herself into her That ‘90s Show character, especially her sense of style. “Gwen’s costume is really iconic and I feel like her style is a bit more boho this season. And my style as Ashley is very boho, so I feel like they kind of took a little bit of my style and implemented it into the character,” she says. 

To fully embrace the ‘90s vibe, Aufderheide took a fun approach to prepare for her role as Gwen. Not only did she make a playlist called “Gwen” that featured songs from the ‘90s, the actress also learned a lot being on set as it allowed her to be “with people that were alive in the ‘90s … I watched That ‘70s Show too so I got to see how it worked and understand the vibe of that show.”

As Gwen’s character continues to evolve in That ’90s Show Part 2  — which premiered on June 27 — Aufderheide has started to see a lot of parallels between her own personal growth and that of Gwen’s. “I do feel like I’m growing up with [Gwen] in a sense because the way that [she] evolves feels very natural, genuine, and realistic,” she says. 

Having moved to California on her own to film the series, this change marked a significant period of growth for Aufderheide. “I had never lived by myself before, so I feel like I’m growing in a lot of ways at this point in my life,” she says. “Gwen grew a lot with her family [and] her friends. It’s kind of cool to see that my character is growing like I am.”

When it comes to That ‘90s Show’s Part 2 and 3’s releases — on June 27 and October 24, respectively — Aufderheide says fans can expect “a lot of drama” following that Part 1 cliffhanger, which saw Leia Forman almost kissing her next-door neighbor Nate while on a break from her boyfriend Jay. 

“All the characters are involved in what comes from this cliffhanger, which was very fun to shoot and I love the way that it turned out,” she shares. “For Gwen, she has one episode where there’s a bit of a scandal. I don’t know how much I can talk about it, but there’s definitely development with all characters and we understand why the characters are the way they are and how they react to the drama from Season 1.”

Thankfully, that on-screen drama doesn’t extend to the show’s set. “Debra Jo Rupp (Kitty Forman) and Kurtwood Smith (Red Foreman) from That ‘70s Show definitely set the stage for all of us. They made everyone feel really comfortable and welcome,” Aufderheide says. 

When it comes to her fellow young co-stars, Aufderheide says they’re all “really hilarious” and “get along so well.” In fact, the cast has grown so close that they even have their very own tradition before each show. “​​All of us — Debra Jo and Kurtwood and all of the kids — go in a circle and we all put our hands in the middle and we scream out our favorite line from the show.” she says. “Then we all say ‘have a great show’ to one another and give each other hugs and that’s always been memorable to me.”

While fans have been anticipated the new season following that shocking cliffhanger,  Aufderheide says the one thing viewers can look forward to seeing more of in Part 2 and 3 That ‘90s Show is the characters’ relatability and its universal themes of friendship and growth, which are just as meaningful to teenagers today.

That ‘90s Show is really good at reflecting [all different kinds of] relationships. For Gwen, she has a brother, she has a best friend that’s a girl, and she has a best friend that’s a guy,” she says. “I think that’s emblematic of how true friendships [and] relationships are in real life, [which is] really special.”

Milan Parker

Agnes Scott '24

Milan Parker is an Entertainment and Culture writer for Her Campus national, where she covers the latest news in pop culture. She is a recent graduate of Agnes Scott College. She is also a member of Her Campus's Election Team, interviewing 2024 Electoral Candidates running for the House of Representatives and Congress. Outside of writing for Her Campus, Milan spends her time writing poetry, some which have been published in Alloy Magazine at Emory University. Currently, she plans to release a written mini-series of her favorite 2000s childhood memories, titled "Confessions of a Y2K Kid". When she is not on the lookout for the next big story, Milan enjoys online shopping, cozying up in libraries, discovering new music, spending time in nature, and taking to the streets on her inline skates. To this day, she's still perfecting the perfect skate routine.