British-born actor Ashleigh Seagar has acted on Kiwi television shows Shortland Street and City Life, although she is probably best remembered for hit film Scarfies, in which she played one of a group of students who hold a man captive in their flat.
Seagar was first seen by Kiwi audiences in 1994, when she joined the cast of the third season of soap Shortland Street. Seagar played Ramona Derby, a teenager denied the chance to become school dux because of her pregnancy. Over the following two seasons, Ramona dumped longtime Shortland character Nick (Karl Burnett) for married doctor John Marinovich (Stelios Yiakmis).
She went on to do five episodes of City Life, which was launched in 1996 in a primetime slot directly after the high-rating Shortland Street. Conceived by former Shortland scriptwriter James Griffin, the ensemble drama followed the lives of a group of Auckland 20-somethings who share an apartment building. Though City Life sold well overseas, falling ratings saw it rescheduled to a later time slot, and cancelled after two seasons.
To date Seagar has appeared in two feature films: a small role in Ian Mune's 1997 teen romance The Whole of the Moon, and 1999 hit Scarfies. The latter film saw her playing Nicole, a well-meaning student who moves into a rundown Dunedin flat with four others. There she falls for the smoothtalking Alex (Taika Cohen), and discovers that crime and capitalism can have unwanted consequences.
"Nicole's politically correct, but she's also quite naive," said Seagar of the character. "It's her first time away from home and I think the peer pressure divides her. She's just trying to do the right thing."
Scarfies proved a big hit, jumping into the top 10 on its home soil. Critics were also enthusiastic. NZ Herald reviewer Russell Baillie praised the "infectious energy coming from the young ensemble", and called Scarfies "easily the most outlandishly entertaining New Zealand film for years". Listener writer Philip Matthews was excited by the film's youthful energy: "...a feature debut for nearly everyone involved, it feels like a new generation, the convergence of fresh talent".
In 2002 she had a small role in American TV movie Atomic Twister, a disaster tale of tornadoes and nuclear power stations which was partly shot in New Zealand.
Profile updated on 21 October 2020
Scarfies press kit