Priyanka Chopra’s Citadel co-star Ashleigh Cummings reveals why she was ‘starstruck’ by her mom Madhu Chopra

Priyanka Chopra’s Citadel is the talk of the town currently. Many surveys and reports have called it the most-watched TV show in the world currently with global reach. While it is certainly a big step for Priyanka in her Hollywood career, another actor who is basking in the success of Citadel is Ashleigh Cummings, who plays Abby Conroy on the show, wife of Richard Madden’s character Mason aka Kyle. In an exclusive chat with DNA, the 30-year-old Australian actress spoke about her role, the show’s impact on her career, and working with Priyanka. Excerpts:

This is easily your biggest project, your breakthrough role if I may call it. Has it sunk in yet?

I haven’t been truly in the world where I might be receiving a lot of recognition. I have been camping with my partner and my friends. I have been in the wilderness sans internet reception so it hasn’t sunk in at all.

Your character served quite a big surprise in the latest episode with the big reveal that she is a Citadel agent as well. When you get a character as layered and as mysterious as this, how much of a challenge and fun is it to play that?

When I initially got the script, I saw Abby as the safe haven and the picture of stability and mundanity and then I was so shocked when I read the twist. I didn’t see it coming at all. I initially thought I was getting a one-liner role. It was a blast.

You also got to perform some intense action in the show, for the first time in your career. What was that experience like?

I think the stunt teams should get so much more recognition from the industry than what they do because they are true artistes. What they do is choreography, interlaid with emotions. They spent a lot of time with me talking about the philosophies of different martial arts and what type of fighting my character would need and how that type of fighting would influence how they hold their bodies. That was so helpful for me to crack into the world of Celeste and Brielle. I’d resisted a lot of action up until this point but it gave me a lot of insight into my character that I was not expecting.

You are working with Priyanka Chopra on the show, and in a way, I see some parallels between the two of you. She was in her early 30s when she went to Hollywood having worked in India for years and now you are doing the same having done work in Australia.

Priyanka is an extraordinary human being in so many ways. She inspires me every day. The feats that she manages to pull off are garganutuan. I could only wish to be half the woman that she is in terms of her contribution to creative environments and leadership and her extraordinary work with humanitarian organizations. I listened to her audio book recently and I was so deeply moved. She is astonishing having overcome so much adversity and hardships from such a young age. And I am a big fan of her mum as well having learnt about her in the book. I met her and I was very star struck because she is an incredible female role model as well. Priyanka welcomed me with open arms and I could honestly sing her praises till the cows come home.

Did she share any Bollywood recommendations with you by any chance?

No, but I do want to go through her filmography because I saw some clips of that movie about boxing (Mary Kom) and she looks astonishing in it. And I really do want to explore more of Bollywood because it is prolific. I am really looking forward to it as I am of watching the Indian portion of the Citadel universe. I am very excited for that.

Your on-screen daughter (Caoilinn Springall) is reuniting with you in your next project, where your co-star is another Game of Thrones alum – Kit Harrington. How many Richard Madden stories were shared on sets?

Caoilinn leveraged that to her advantage. She used all that to her advantage a lot. We have decided we will just cycle through the Game of Thrones cast. I think Sophie Turner is next on the list and that is going to be my career: playing Caoilinn’s mom with different GoT actors alongside me for the rest of my life.

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