For Ashley Dyke, helping detectives find a wanted suspect, hiding from a murder at a halfway house and starring on a mock reality TV show, were all a matter of learning her scripts. Dyke, a Fairfax native, is an actress who is starring in theater productions, television shows and films in Los Angeles.
She recently costarred as a police aid in the sixth season finale of CBS’ crime drama, "CSI: NY," which aired on May 26.
"That was so exciting," said Dyke. "When it came down to getting that role, it was a great experience."
Dyke’s mother and father notified friends and family of her "CSI" role, and they gathered around to watch the episode air.
"We obviously recorded it so we could watch it back and we kept playing it back, and playing it back, and stopping it, and catching her getting her emotions and her reactions, which I thought were terrific," said her father, James W. Dyke Jr., chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. "Given the role she was playing, the emotions she exhibited were right on."
Describing herself as a shy child, Ashley Dyke said she found her passion for acting appearing in her elementary school plays.
"When I was really little, I got a little bit of the acting bug," she said. "I remember it kind of being the first time that I had an easier time expressing myself."
Growing up in Fairfax, Ashley Dyke and her two sisters and brother liked to put on performances for their friends and family at their home.
"Sometimes friends would come over and they would put on a little play," said James Dyke. "At one point, they got a book on sign language and learned to use sign language and in fact, did one little play using sign language. So they were pretty creative in entertaining one another and us."
Dyke attended Fairfax High School, where she was Senior Class President, Homecoming Queen and involved in the theater program.
"I remember sitting in her living room in high school," said Kristen Lester, who met Dyke in the seventh grade. "I can remember her saying to us a couple of times, she’d say, ‘That’s going to be me. I’m going to be on the big screen. You guys wait.’ You know, from day one that was her dream, and she always talked about it and we believed her." Lester lives in Fairfax with her husband and three children. She still keeps in touch with Ashley Dyke and visits her in California.
After graduating in 1999, Ashley Dyke decided to study theater at the University of Virginia. She also spent a semester at New York University to learn film acting. While in college, she played a fake reality TV star in UVA’s Whoo Television Series "Stratagem." She also did a variety of theater productions at UVA, including a lead role in "The Vagina Monologues."
After graduating from college, Ashley Dyke moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. She has since had several appearances in big and small screen productions including FX Network’s "FXcellent," "The TV Set" and The CW’s "90210."
"I like playing all different kinds of roles," she said. "I find my personality in so many different characters."
Ashley Dyke has leading roles in the upcoming films, "Bud’z House" and "New Hope Manner." In "Bud’z House," she plays the main love interest Gigi. In "New Hope Manner," she plays the role of Kris, a young woman living in a halfway home that is invaded by a killer. She said it was exciting to have had the opportunity to act in a physical comedy and a thriller, which were performances she had never done before.
"It gives you goose bumps, to be honest with you, to see our little girl up there doing her thing," said James Dyke. "You just feel so very proud."