Since those days almost 10 years ago, Ashley has gone on to a super-exciting career as a model with Ford (trust me, she makes my life look boring). Not only is she beautiful, she's smart and has launched a finance website for women called The Frugal Model. I caught up with Ashley from her home base in NYC as our Hip + Urban Girl of the Week!
How did you end up with a career in modeling?
I was tall and lanky, so my dad (who was a male model back in the day) encouraged me to get into it. After being rejected by several agencies, I found representation with Ford - an amazing agency who really helped to build my career. The experience definitely taught me to never give up, because rejection can often lead to the best opportunities.
What are some of the cool experiences you've landed because of your job?
I have been fortunate enough to work closely with many really respected designers as a fit model, and see how a clothing line is designed and produced. It's also always a little unreal seeing your picture in magazines - especially when I booked the cover of Women's Health magazine (insert shameless self promotion).
What is a FIT model and who have you worked with?
So a fit model is hired by a designer because they possess the "standard" measurements for that particular designer's sample size. For example, with a 34" bust, 27" waist, and 37" hip, I am considered a good size 4. My job is to try on the prototypes of the line and then communicate how the garment fits - for example that it's too tight in the chest or the armhole needs to drop to make it fit more comfortably. I have worked with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen for The Row, Michael Kors, Calypso, Helmut Lang... It has been a really amazing experience.
Seriously, how many hours do you work out to look that good?
Since my only real job requirement is to stay the same measurements, I definitely need to keep myself in check. Paired with the fact that I love to eat and actually have a really sick obsession with working out - I end up at the gym about an hour and a half a day about 5 or 6 days a week.
Tell us about your website The Frugal Model and why you decided to launch this?
As amazing as modeling sounds - a big down side is that there is not very much job security. I have always had really great spending and saving habits that have allowed me to gain serious financial freedom. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends have found themselves in debt due to a simple lack of understanding as to how to save their money. I launched TheFrugalModel.com as a fun resource for people in their 20's and 30's to get tips and advice on saving money while still living a luxe life.
Which three boutiques should hip + urban girls hit up in NYC for the best frugal deals?
My favorite discount stores are Loehman's, Century 21, and TJ Maxx. Loehman's and Century 21 are both great for high-end designer shoes and clothes at a fraction of the price. Just make sure you go to Century 21 during the week because it turns into a mad house on the weekends, with crazy-eyed women pushing you around like it's a competition. TJ Maxx is alot like Winners (I miss Winners) - and they have great deals on gym clothes, housewares and luggage.
What did you study in College/University? Is there anything you would do differently or advise others about?
I have a Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University. I studied Marketing, and although I'm proud to be educated and have a degree, I definitely wish that I had studied something that I was more passionate about. I thought that a business degree would open the most doors and make me the most money, but if I could do it over again I probably would have studied writing or journalism. I have yet to use my degree, so the money at least could have gone towards something I enjoyed more than learning quantitative statistics (which I failed and had to take twice - that was fun).
What is your typical day like?
Every day is different. I get paid hourly for fittings, so as much as I would like to be booked 9-5 every day, unfortunately there are days where I may have only one hour of work. I've been lucky over the years to maintain a steady work flow and save money so I'm not at home crying and eating ice cream when work does get slow.
Who inspires you?
I am definitely inspired by women who have pursued their dreams and worked hard to become successful on their own. To see a powerful woman who is well respected and proud of what she's accomplished and built makes me that much more motivated to become that person myself.
What would you tell your 20 year-old self?
Don't make life choices that you think will lead to the most money. Find your passion and the money will follow.
What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a model?
Even if every agency in town says no - give it a year and try again. You never know how the "look" that is considered fashionable has changed - and you never know how your own personal look can change. I got rejected by Ford and every other agency when I was 15 - and wasn't signed by them until I was 18.
Learn more about Ashley online on:
Website - www.thefrugalmodel.com
Twitter - @thefrugalmodel
Facebook - facebook.com/thefrugalmodel
Loved This? Meet more of our Hip + Urban Girls of the Week!