Q and A with Ashley I., Asheville, North Carolina
“My dad told me that I had two options—I could allow the statistics to govern who I would become or I could recognize that those statistics were BS and define life on my terms.“
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: First and foremost, I am massively passionate about empowering women. Not even just empowering them but ingraining in them their infinite possibility that can only come from intimate relationships with oneself. I am so completely obsessed with reminding women of how incredibly powerful and needed they are in the world, exactly as they are. I believe that when women are empowered, they show up in a way that completely changes the way we operate as a collective whole. On the flip side, my other passions include food, baking, cooking, and feeding people. Feeding people, to me, is absolutely a love language and allows me to nourish people from the inside out. I have also found that if you truly want to know people, share a meal with them. Some other passions include photography, being outside, going on adventures, travel, fitness, and being present in life. Meditation is my jam! Life is what happens when we disconnect from this version of “reality” and connect back into the truth of ourselves.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I grew up seeing two sides of the coin. Being a child of divorce, I had the unique opportunity to experience life in two different ways. On one side, I saw what it was like to live in a balanced partnership through my dad and stepmom. They got married almost 30 years ago, and they’ve been together through it all. They’ve been an amazing example of how it’s done and what it takes to build a real partnership that is equal in all parts. On the other side, I learned what being a strong, independent woman was from my mom. There literally wasn’t any situation that she couldn’t make it through. She always reminded me, as did my dad and stepmom, that anything was possible on this planet as long as I put my whole self into it. I definitely grew up always being told that there were no limits to what I could do in my life. This, in turn, really prepared me for the moment my life did change. When I was 16, I dropped out of high school, acquired my GED, moved to NC from FL and found out I was pregnant (with my now 15 year old daughter). All of this happened within three months. My dad told me that I had two options—I could allow the statistics to govern who I would become or I could recognize that those statistics were BS and define life on my terms. It didn’t matter what the world said or how anyone else showed up in it. What mattered was how I chose to show up every single day, and that’s how I chose to live life from then on. I knew that I would do more, and I would change the space that I was taking up so that my daughter wouldn’t continue fighting the generational battles passed down to us. Fifteen years later, I can testify that all chains are broken, contracts voided, and ancestral lines healed. We are not victims in this family.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: As cliché as it may sound, anything is possible once we figure out what we’re here for and what it is we truly want to do in this world. Not what anyone else tells you, what you tell you. I always tell people that I get what I want and that has proven true 100% of the time when I am fully invested in the direction I am placing my intentions and energy into. It doesn’t necessarily look like how I see it, but it always works out in my favor with far better outcomes than I could’ve created. On the other side of that, once you have an idea of what you want, START TAKING ACTION! Don’t worry about the how. Know your why, and start taking action right now. The ‘how’ will present itself. The universe loves a determined heart. Before I manifested my TV show, I spoke about it for the year I was operating it on FB and YouTube. I would tell everyone that I am the next Oprah, and one day, this will be a globally syndicated TV show. I didn’t know how that would happen. I didn’t have connections, money, or anything that told me it was a possibility for me, but I still knew. I knew that if I kept speaking it, showed up, and took action, the rest would fall into place. As of next week, The TUF Woman Table airs, GLOBALLY, on Amazon TV, Apple TV, and Roku. Best part is, it’s just the start. Seek that which is in your heart and then take the next step, even if it seems miniscule in the moment. Sow seeds continuously, and I promise you they will harvest when the time comes. You cannot fail when you bet on you.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: Feminism to me is empowerment, equality, and freedom of the feminine to exist and take up space. It means creating a space for all people who resonate to feel safe, seen, heard, and allowed to be, as is. Feminism doesn’t say that you must show up in this way to be included, instead it allows space for you to just be. Feminism is saying that you are worthy, equal, and important in all capacities. Feminism is the most beautiful space when we begin understanding that it’s about embodying the fluidity, compassion, inclusiveness, and true balance of both the masculine and feminine working together in harmony. Neither one being more or less, simply equal as they are right now. I think everyone has the capacity to be a feminist and the world would be a better place if we were.
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