Ashley jones mashup
Credit: Paul Smith, Courtesy of Ashley Jones; Howard Wise/JPI

Plus, deets on the “guilty pleasure” you’re about to devour!

The Bold and the Beautiful‘s Ashley Jones isn’t excited for fans to tune into her latest LMN movie, The Secret Lives of College Escorts, just because she has a role in the film — she’s also making her directorial debut! The thriller follows the story of Eve, a college athlete who loses her scholarship after a wild night of partying that resulted in the death of her friend. After getting a new job as an event planner to help pay for tuition, Eve discovers that the gig is a dangerous scheme with deadly consequences. (It’s a really juicy story!)

This shot at helming a film didn’t magically happen overnight for Jones either, she revealed to that it was “a few years in the making” before she could flex those directorial muscles. The CBS Daytime star is grateful for her “really long relationship with Lifetime” because it allowed her to make her voice heard. “It came about because it was just a natural progression,” she revealed. “You start to give your input as you get older and you find out more information about making a film and the script, and you start just asking things like, ‘Oh, can I be in a script meeting or you know, a notes meeting?'” It took  “a bit of proving” herself off-camera before she got the green light from network, but admitted, “It was probably the hardest thing I’ve done in my life career-wise.”

secret lives of college escorts LMN

Director Jones with the cast of Escorts.

Credit: Courtesy of LMN.

That challenge didn’t discourage her one bit because she had another familiar face from The Bold and the Beautiful set rooting her on behind the scenes: Heather Tom. Calling her close friend “one of the best actresses I’ve ever worked with,” Jones admired the career path Tom carved out for herself as a working actress and a successful director. “I took a page out of her book, and she’s guided me, and she’s been very helpful,” she proudly shared. “I love where her career is going, and she’s managed to do both. She continues to act and she’s also directing some of it, something that I hope that I also get to do.” Jones teased another directorial project that’s brewing, but like most projects in the early stages of production, she couldn’t spill the tea just yet.

The Secret Lives of College Escorts allowed her to walk away with the confirmation that she “loved directing.” Even though she was “extremely nervous” to pursue this next stage in her career, it only made Jones realize that she made the right move. “I’ve never been more nervous about doing anything because it all rides on my shoulders in a lot of ways,” she added. “I learned the responsibility of so many different departments. You need every single person, every crew member, every actor, and it really gave me a deep, deep appreciation of the art of filmmaking.” So, Jones hopes that viewers enjoy a “couple of hours of escape” while watching the LMN film, one she self-describes as a “guilty pleasure” — and one that she proudly directed herself.

The Secret Lives of College Escorts premieres on Friday, Aug. 19 at 8/7c on LMN.

For more of our chat with Ashley Jones — including her thoughts on whether she would return full time to The Bold and the Beautiful — check out the entire interview above. Then visit our photo gallery below to see the soap stars who made it in primetime and movies… then returned