Meet Plus Model Ashleigh. Ashleigh is more than just a pretty face. She is a well-rounded student who is currently attending Concordia and working on her MBA in healthcare administration. Growing up in a single parent house hold didn’t always allow for her to express herself in her style or fashion but as soon as she was able to, she embarked on her self-expression, style and journey to confidence. She hope to one day show the world how she can incorporate all she’s learned to help uplift and motivate the youth of today.
We sat down with Ashley to learn a little bit more about her story. Here’s what she had to say.
Congratulations on all of your success as a Plus Size Model. How did you get started modeling?
I started modeling because of my mom. When I was a child I remember telling people I wanted to be either a model or a doctor, and they always told me modeling was not promising. Me being who I am, I always tend to go against what or how people feel, so when time was right and I felt the best about me as a whole. I went for it and never stopped.
What has been your favourite experience thus far – the one you are most proud of?
The experience that I’m most proud of as a model is my runway work. As a child I was very timid and shy and I was afraid of my own shadow which apprehended me from participating in a lot of activities. To be able to see myself with a different vision and be proud of who I am and show that by walking fearlessly makes me proud to be a plus model.
Just like any craft there is a learning curve – how did you learn how to model – both print and runway if applicable?
I learned the industry by trial and error and observation. I watched how a lot of the local plus models branded themselves and based upon if their career went beyond Portland, helped me determine if they were a good model to look up to. I also had to determine that I was willing to invest in a career that does not show a payoff immediately. I had to question myself, did I love this enough to keep going,; was I able to put pride and logic aside and just commit?
Did you have mentors or role models who helped and inspired you along the way? I really look up to my model friend Kiersten Williams. She showed me the ropes as well as ongoing support of my brand.
The Plus Size Industry has changed and continues to evolve – how do you think as a model you are able to help make an impact in how the world sees plus size women? Even though the plus size modeling industry is evolving, I still have some obstacles in achieving my career goals. The color of my skin, and the fact that I am not satisfied with just modeling. My participation in this industry is not just for me but it’s also to lay the foundation for the future young ladies and show them that its ok to be proud of who you are, regardless of what status you remain in, age, color, or look.
You exude confidence with every step you take, were you always this confident? Tell us a little bit about the journey to confidence. Again I was not confident as teenager, I had a lot take place as a young child that tried to destroy my vision of who I was and who I was to become. At one point I could not even identify myself with my family. But thankfully, I have had people in my life that continue to, “sew into me, by speaking over me with kind, encouraging, motivating, forceful words and actions that have made me believe who I am destined to be.
For our readers who are interested in starting a plus model career, what would you suggest are some top tips to get started? Important tips, are:
1) Presentation – Never go to a fitting or a go see not looking presentable. Your job is to reflect yourself as a hanger and a hanger that can make the designers clothing stand out.
2) Confidence, Confidence, Confidence – If no one else believes in you, you should.
3) Create your own brand – Do not compare yourself to anyone. If you feel you can’t identify with anyone in the industry, great. That means you have the opportunity to show someone something new, and why it is important that you should be a part of this industry.
As a model you’ve had the opportunity to wear a variety of different styles, but what would we catch you in on an ‘off duty’ day? What would you call your fashion sense and how has this evolved through your modeling career? I would say I am a business, edgy with a hint of New Yorker style. I was born in the Midwest, raised in the Pacific Northwest but idolized everything that New York brought to the fashion industry. So as soon as I could afford and supply my own clothing I immediately imitated everything I saw from New York but on a budget. As time progressed I have combined everything from updated trends to, late 70’s modern day look to form my current style.
What are you some of your favourite places to shop your style? Forever 21, Nordstrom, and Rebdolls are my go to stores, especially if I need something quickly.
What does life look for you outside of the modeling world? Outside of the modeling world is medicine. It’s a world that I have been striving to be a part of since I was in junior high. My biggest goal is to be able to administer and own my medical center that supplies all needs from mental, physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual through cost effective methods.
Name: Ashleigh Elizabeth
Title: Plus Model