Maitland Ward

Who is Maitland Ward?

Maitland Ward (born Ashley Maitland Welkos; February 3, 1977) is an American actress. She is very well known for playing Rachel McGuire on the ABC original series Boy Meets World and Jessica Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful (is an American television soap opera created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for CBS. It premiered on March 23, 1987 as a sister show to the Bells’ other soap opera The Young and the Restless; several characters from each of the two shows have crossed over to the other since the early 1990s. Set in Los Angeles, California, the show centers upon the Forrester family and their fashion house business Forrester Creations).

Given her phenomenal popularity on Instagram and the sensation she’s caused as a cosplayer, sometimes it’s hard to remember that Maitland Ward has had a genuinely successful regular acting career that has spanned the years as well. And she’s a California girl to boot and she was a special part of the famous series The Bold and the Beautiful!

From Bold & The Beautiful, she really caught people’s attention as Rachel McGuire from 1998-2000 sitcom Boy Meets World, after which she made guest appearances on a number of different shows and in the 2004 film White Chicks. But all of that pales in comparison to what she’s achieved since then.

As Maitland Ward discusses in an interview, as a sort of whim she decided to dress up as Batman’s partner in crime-fighting, Robin, and caused an immediate sensation. That only grew when she appeared at an event wearing the “Slave Leia” outfit from the Star Wars film Return Of The Jedi. Add to that, her scantily-clad Instagram photos and the latest images where she’s covered by nothing but blue body paint only, and you end up with someone whose popularity was in the sky and now it is off the charts.

But what’s impressive about her accomplishments is that she knows exactly what she wants and just how far to push envelopes before they tear completely apart. She doesn’t do anything that doesn’t appeal to her, and is constantly looking for new ventures, including screenwriting and creating online photo comic books with her starring as an anti-hero, the concept of which she came with on her own. Whether she will earn that with a as star which is already sunk in the deep ocean, or a way that the talent will work.

Maitland Ward

Personal Life of Maitland Ward:

Ward married real estate agent Terry Baxter on October 21, 2006. The happy couple met on set and she credits shared friendship and humor for the success of their relationship.

After getting married, the happy couple Baxter and Ward moved to New York, where they were living for two years. While they were there, Ward studied writing and screenwriting at New York University.

Maitland Ward has been posting naked or nearly naked pictures of herself on Snapchat and Instagram several times a week since mid of 2013 when she found herself as a sinking ship of a star. In some, she wears costumes; in others, just lingerie or barely there bikinis. On Instagram she took a lot of photos of her, covering her nipples by the smallest margin possible; but on Snapchat, she lets them free. She makes no money from the photos directly or from any kind of influencer-based product placement. “I could definitely do that, but I feel kind of disingenuous about it,” she explains. Instead, she does it to push boundaries, to have fun and to show different sides of herself. “I want to be happy, and I want to make my followers happy,” she continues. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Ward’s newfound status as a sex symbol after putting nude pics into Instagram comes at an unlikely time in her life. For ten years before she came back into the public eye, she had all like glamor life, fame, celebrity icon but disappeared from in front of the camera. Plus, she’s now 41 on her age— and while the Sofia Vergara’s of the world have shown that age has little to do with sex appeal, Ward is still a good two decades older than Kylie Jenner, Ariel Winter, Bella Thorne and the other women who typically is inflame the dude blogs with their social media photos with different looks and their own fashion.

She, of course, couldn’t care less. “You don’t have to be 22 to be sexy,” she explains. “I think that’s empowering for women. Honestly, there should be more sexy not-20-year-olds because there are lots of people who like that.”

“My first audition was for Saved by the Bell; I didn’t get it,” she says.

Four years later, she was cast on Boy Meets World. The lightheartedness of a sitcom was jarring after the absurdist melodrama of The Bold and the Beautiful. “I mean, I was in a diabetic coma, and [my boyfriend] was supposed to be having sex with my mother,” she says of her soap role. Boy Meets World was a welcome change: “I really love comedy. When I was a little kid, my favorite show was Three’s Company. I didn’t understand the innuendos, but I loved John Ritter and his physical comedy.”

After Boy Meets World ended in the year 2000, Ward again appeared in the Wayans brother’s movie White Chicks (2004) and filmed a handful of pilots — none of which were picked up as they were planning. Then, in 2006, Ward got married, and she and her new husband, financier John Baxter, decided to move to New York City. “We just wanted to do it once in our lives, while we were young enough,” she says. While there, Ward explored other passions: She studied creative writing and screenwriting at NYU and performed off-Broadway at the same time. When they both returned to L.A. after 2 years, she continued her graduate work at UCLA, for developing two screenplays right away — one about a doomed suicide mission and another about a shattered, fame-obsessed former soap star.

Maitland Ward’s first viral moment was a fluke. In 2013, she appeared alongside the other Boy Meets World cast members for a reunion at the ATX Television Festival in Houston. While there, she posted some photos of herself and her old costars on a social media platform, Instagram. The pictures were pretty standard — posed pictures with Ben Savage and Matthew Lawrence, a smiling Ward and Savage from the airport after they narrowly avoided by missing their flight. But they were picked up by everyone from E! Online to MTV to The Huffington Post. “It was interesting to see how much interest there was,” says Ward. “That was my first taste of what social media could do.”

Her next taste was roughly a year later. After attending a few Comic-Cons for fun — “I like the whole environment,” she says — she ran into a photographer at a Meltdown Comics event in L.A. He’d recently come into possession of an authentic Slave Leia costume and suggested they do a “Fourth be With You” shoot together.

The photos first appeared on her Instagram account on May 4, 2014. Within days, dude bloggers (and regular bloggers) were latching onto them for dear life. Next came the repeat performances. At San Diego Comic-Con in September, Ward again made waves for her costume as Jessica 6 from Logan’s Run; in Long Beach a few weeks after that, she popped up in photos as a very sexy Red Sonja.

Suddenly, Ward was known as much for her online presence and cosplay appearances as her acting career. “It started out with Boy Meets World fans,” she says. “Now I have so many comic fans and people who just known me from social media, which is weird.”

Ward says the cosplay isn’t just for show; she’s geek in real life as well. By the time she was three years old, she says, she was making her neighbors reenact Star Wars with her. “I was Princess Leia, of course,” she says. “My dog, my springer spaniel, was Chewy.”

Maitland WardCertain websites also got snarky with her; by 2015, E! News — which had happily used Ward’s revealing outfits as clickbait just the year before — posted a story about her Comic-Con costume with the headline, “Courtney Stodden and Maitland Ward Compete for Most Revealing (and Ridiculous) Comic-Con Body Paint Outfit.” “When the weekend festivities first began,” the post breathlessly read, “Ward opted for a classic and perfectly reasonable ‘Ginger Woman’ costume based on Wonder Woman. But once the sun went down, the 38-year-old went braless when she attended Comic-Con’s Crave Escape party.”

Meanwhile, Instagram, under its prohibitive nudity clauses, started taking down some of her nude and without bra photos — including a number of photos where she was, for all intents and purposes, fully clothed. As a form of protest, in April, Ward posted a picture of herself covered only by an inch of towel over her right breast, and her fingertips on her left. And as if reaching back and channeling her inner Rachel McGuire, she captioned it: “With so much body shaming towards women and criticism over sexy shots, I think women should be able to express themselves however they want and the haters should go take a cold shower”.

In a snapshot of Maitland Ward:

  • 1977- Born in Long Beach, California
  • 1994- Started her first TV appearance on “The Bold and the Beautiful”
  • 1995- Nominated for Outstanding Female Newcomer for The Bold and the Beautiful
  • 2006- Married with Terry Baxter
  • 2006- Moved to NY with husband Terry
  • 2013- Posted nude photos on her social media accounts like Instagram

 Maitland Ward’s Career:

Ward starred as Jessica Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful, where she appeared from the year 1994 to 1996. She landed that role, which was her first ever acting role when she was 18 and still a junior in high school that time. Ward had guest-starring roles on USA High and the seventh season of ABC’s Home Improvement; and co-starred with Jay Thomas and Mario Lopez in the dramatic movie Killing Mr. Griffin (is a 1978 suspense novel by Lois Duncan about a group of teenage students at a New Mexico high school who plan to kidnap their strict English teacher, Mr. Griffin. Duncan developed the story from the character of Mark, who is involved in the kidnapping plan and is based on the first boyfriend of Duncan’s oldest daughter. Mr. Griffin was based on the personality of a teacher one of Duncan’s daughters had in high school. In 2010, the novel was reissued with changes to modernize the content).

Her character of Rachel McGuire was added to Boy Meets World in 1998, at the beginning of the sixth season of the series, as a main cast member. This role lasted until the series ended in 2000. After Ward’s stint on Boy Meets World, she appeared in the independent film Dish Dogs, a romantic comedy in which she co-stars with Brian Dennehy, Matthew Lillard and Sean Astin. Later, she appeared in the 2004 comedy film White Chicks with Shawn and Marlon Wayans.

Since 2004, Maitland has been seen in the CBS comedy Out of Practice (A therapist named Ben Barnes lives his life in the shadows of his brother, sister, mother and father, all of whom are doctors, while at the same time trying to keep his family together after the addition of his father’s new and much younger girlfriend (2005)). Maitland was also the lead in the untitled Michael Jacobs pilot. In 2007, she guest-starred on Rules of Engagement (2007) on CBS, opposite David Spade.Maitland Ward

Awards & Nominations of Maitland Ward:

Film and Television appearances of Maitland Ward:

  • 1994 – 1966 – The Bold And The Beautiful as Jessica Forrester for the Recurring role (12 episodes)
  • 1997 – Killing Mr.Griffin as Candice Lee for the TV film
  • 1998 – USA High as Tina for the Episode: “Buddies”
  • 1998 – Home Improvement as Cristy for the Episode: “The Old College Try”
  • 1998 – 2000 – Boy Meets World as Rachel McGuire for the Main role (45 episodes)
  • 1999 – A Bold Affair as Eleanor
  • 2000- Dish Dogs as  Molly for the Video
  • 2002 – Boston Public as Rachel Newman for the episode “Chapter 43”
  • 2004 – White Chicks As Brittany Wilson
  • 2005 – Out of Practice as Staci for the Episode: “Pilot”
  • 2007 – Rules of Engagement as Dani for Episode: “Young and the Restless”

Trivia for Maitland Ward

  • She was up for the lead in the WB show Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane (1999) which, because it’s produced by Disney & Touchstone, led to a holding contract with Disney and eventually to Boy Meets World (1993).
  • Was told to change her name when she started her acting career because “Ashley” in the front of her name was too commonplace.
  • She is an honorable member of Sigma Kappa Sorority at Cal State Long Beach.
  • Married with Terry Baxter, a real estate agent by 2006.

Her own words about her life:

  • “I have always really been a nerd at heart. People don’t believe me sometimes, but if you ask my friends growing up, and from school and stuff, they’ll say, “Yeah, she was kind of a geeky nerd.” I loved all of that stuff. I loved all of the comic books. I was a big Wonder Woman fan; that was the first thing that I was obsessed with as a kid. And Star Wars. And getting into the whole Cosplay thing, I would go to Comic-Con for fun and parties, and whatever, but I thought that that part of it [Cosplay] was a really fun part of it. One year I dressed up as Robin from Batman, a girl Robin…”
  • “I had actually taken a break from acting and I’d gone back to New York and got married. Then this whole Girl Meets World/Boy Meets World phenomenon started happening and got everybody talking about it, so I kind of got back into it again just from all the press. People wanted interviews and pictures and there were appearances. There was all this stuff, but I didn’t want that to be my whole life. I was on a great show, but I just wanted to go in different directions that were fun and different and unusual for me, and since I’ve always loved this, and people never saw this side of me, I wanted to explore it.”- by Maitland Ward
  • “It does take an incredible amount of courage. I just like to push the boundaries and take risks and shock people. I think that’s part of the fun for me. And you know what, it is kind of a thrill. It’s fun, and it makes people excited to see all the wild adventures I’ll do, and all the posts, because they never know what to expect next. That’s fun for me. I think I’m just naturally a bit of a risk taker, even though people think that I would be some crazy, diva kind of woman, because I’m so bold and stuff, but I’m really not. I’m totally not that person, I love to push the limits. And it’s crazy going to a Comic Con when you’re in nothing.”
  • “I guess there is a worry, but you know what? I don’t really care. When people do start saying things like, ‘I can’t believe you did that,’ it kind of fuels me more. When an Instagram post gets kicked off because somebody complained, I think, ‘What else can I do to show this person even more that I’m not going to stand down from?’ I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that people in America are so freaked out by any nudity or women being proud of their sexuality. It’s, like, ‘You’re really affected by my boob, but you don’t care about all the other things going on in the world? That is your main concern?’ You’ve got an issue if that’s your problem.”- Maitland Ward
  • “The first time I did it was on a little lower scale, because I had a photographer who knew this body artist, who I continue to use, but this is a couple of years back; three or four years ago or whatever it was. It wasn’t in a Comic-Con situation or anything like that. It was more of an artistic shoot. The strangest thing is I feel sometimes less of an exhibitionist in the body paint than I do in little bitty clothes.”
  • “Maybe you’re not having a big enough imagination [laughs]. There are always envelopes out there to be pushed by my hands. You’re pushing it to the limit, but then there’s other ways to do that and that can interest people. Some people go out there and just be naked. I like to have an interesting setup. I like to have it be kind of artistic, and showcase my personality. I just want it to be an interesting way to do this whole thing. Not just, like, hey, here I am naked. It’s the costumes, it’s the set ups, it’s being really interactive with the audience. I really like to do that and to get their feedback. They’re very vocal. They stick by you through so much. I just get different takes on the same thing. I don’t think it’s needing to go to the farthest limit, but I just like to find new and different and interesting ways to test all sorts of limits.” “I’ve done body paint three years in a row and every year people are shocked. You do have these girls that get body painted and they have the thong and the pasties on. They’re weak. Hey, if you’re going to do it, do a body paint with all paint, no coverage.”
  • “I just want people to know that I don’t take myself seriously. I can laugh at myself. I can do something silly. It’s just all a show and a game. It’s not like I live this every second of my day. I’m not out naked constantly all the time everywhere I go. I’m not going to Starbucks to get my latte in a bikini or something. But when it’s show time, I will turn it on for you.”

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References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitland_Ward
  2. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005533/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  3. https://www.fhm.com/posts/maitland-ward-cosplaying-comic-con-138473
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