Many actors can consider themselves part of the Star Wars universe, but it’s doubtful many enjoy it as much as Ashley Eckstein. The Star Wars: The Clone Wars actress, who is in her fifth season giving voice to Anakin Skywalker’s feisty Padawan Ahsoka Tano, says she’s a lifelong fan of George Lucas’ seminal space saga, and her job on the Cartoon Network series is one she considers a privilege and a great responsibility. She’s parlayed her relationship with Lucasfilm into a clothing company aimed specifically at the underserved female sci fi fan. Her Universe has licenses for Star Wars, Star Trek and, most recently, Doctor Who. Eckstein, who is married to former World Series MVP David Eckstein, took some time to answer our “7 Questions”:
You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?
I would choose some sort of cooking magazine. I’m not going to say a specific title, because it depends on what they’re featuring on the cover. If it’s mac and cheese or cupcakes, it’s a safe bet I’ll buy it. People magazine. I’m sorry, I know it’s cheesy. But I have an obsession with Kate Middleton, and that’s where I get a lot of my Kate Middleton information. Then usually I end up getting Sports Illustrated, because usually my husband is with me and I feel bad so I try to give him a magazine to read.
Your DVR can only carry three shows. Other than Clone Wars, of course, which ones would you want?
Doctor Who, I’m obsessed right now. Sometimes I’m so excited that I even watch it live, before I can record it on the DVR! I am also really into Warehouse 13 on Syfy, and then right now my husband and I love The X Factor.
What’s been your strangest fan encounter?
What I am constantly amazed by is that fans give me some of the coolest gifts, and they’re handmade. I’m just so thankful, because usually they spend hours on making me these gifts, and I’m just blown away by the generosity. Can I change the word to “strange-awesome”? One guy took a piece of wood and he burned the image of Ahsoka out of the piece of wood, and it’s incredible. Absolutely incredible. It is one of the coolest things, and it is up in my family room on my mantle. I guess I think it’s strange someone would spend hours doing that for me. I’m humbled.
Tell me about a time when you were starstruck.
I used to do a show called Blue Collar TV, and I got to film a scene with Brad Pitt. I was definitely starstruck with that. But, relating to Clone Wars, Dave Filoni usually doesn’t tell us if we have a famous guest star that we’re going to be recording with, and I still go back to — I think it was in the first season — I got to do an episode with Michael York. He’s done so many amazing things, but I fell in love with him from Romeo & Juliet. And here I was standing next to Michael York recording an episode.
What are three things you must have in your fridge or pantry?
Chocolate, water and Cheez-Its.
Your clothing line, Her Universe, dedicated to female sci-fi fans, recently acquired the licensing rights to Doctor Who. Is there one sci-fi property you would say is your ultimate dream to make clothing for?
I have my top ones right now, and I’m so scared — I don’t want to mess them up. To have Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who. They’re such big responsibilities. I definitely want to do right by them. I’m also a big Battlestar Galactica, and the fact that I get to do that merchandise, too, I’m so excited. The other one, as a fan that I hope we get to do, is Firefly. Of course, if I ever got to do anything Disney, I would die happy. I am the biggest Disney nut.
You probably were exposed to a lot of intense baseball fandom through your husband, David Eckstein. So who’s crazier, sci-fi or sports fans?
I’ve goto to go with Star Wars fans, because they have my back day in and day out. They support me on days when I’m down, days when I’m frustrated and days when we have something exciting to share. Having that army of people, I’m forever grateful that they’re there for me.
Bonus Question: I’ve always found it interesting that there’s such a distinction made between people who dress up for sci-fi conventions and people who wear jerseys and paint their faces for sporting events. What’s your take on that?
In 8 years, I’ve gone to close to a thousand baseball games, and I would see the same thing. I would see sports fans dressed as mascots, and in 40-degree weather without their shirt on with their chest painted. To me, it’s the same thing. How is that any different than a person who shows up to a sci-fi convention? It’s a shame that people view it differently, and that according to them, in sports it’s accepted, but with sci-fi conventions it’s not always accepted, because I just don’t see the difference. I think both should be accepted. You should be able to do that if you’re passionate about something.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 on Cartoon Network.
Photo: © 2012 Lucasfilm Ltd.