Out from the shadow of her famous mother and sister’s country music act The Judds, young and beautiful Ashley Judd grabbed her first professional acting role ever when she was cast as Ensign Robin Lefler for TNG’s “Darmok.” Designed to be the running romantic interest for Ensign Wesley Crusher’s visits after Wil Wheaton left the regular TNG cast, Lefler’s lone featured follow-up appearance in “The Game” pays tribute to just how fast Judd’s career took off. That episode, though, does provide her first onscreen kiss, with Wheaton.
Within the year, though, Judd has signed to be a regular as Swoozie Kurtz’ daughter on the NBC series Sisters—and it was not long before superstardom beckoned on the big screen. Her career climbed so fast that she could never return for another stint as Lefler—even though rumors persisted in 2002, off her own joke, that she would indeed come back for the cameo scene with Wesley and Guinan for the Riker-Troi wedding banquet scene in the big-screen Nemesis. Born in 1968 as Ashley Tyler Ciminella in the northern Los Angeles neighborhood of Granada Hills, Judd grew up in Kentucky and is a big supporter of her home state and husband Dario Franchitti's Indy-car racing career, whom she married in 2000. Holding a master's degree from Harvard in Public Administration, Judd has developed her far-flung interest in humanitairan and cultural issues as a goodwill ambassador and advocate for justice, including global trips for YouthAIDS and violence against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.