I Am Ashley? Yes, even with coming up short on the win I know I Am still Ashley!!! We all have the potential to be Ashley if we reach deep down inside and grab hold to that spark that can propel us to our destiny! To be Ashley is to know that having confidence and self love are both significant to sustaining a happy and successful life, to be Ashley means knowing that our day to day is much greater than ourselves and we are all significant in this extraordinary movement!!
What started just months ago in March of this year seems like ions ago!! I was just a regular girl taking a shot of a lifetime to show myself and the world that our dreams can become our reality if we work hard enough to get there. This holds true not just in modeling, but in many aspects of our lives where we have to make a conscious choice to fight or fold against the odds and the “standard”.
I have struggled these last few days to write this because a piece of me knows that this is that closure I need to move on. Truth is, I found I don’t have to move on at all! Ashley Stewart is and always will be apart of me and I will forever be a supporter of all things Ashley!! I must appreciate and be grateful for the journey while working beyond the loss of something I poured my heart into for six months straight!! I have gone through several emotions, but I know writing this piece will be a therapeutic way for me to allow myself to realize that I am a winner and we are all winners!! We won because in that one night we were apart of setting the bar super high for the entire industry. Breakthroughs were made, barriers torn down, and strides were gained for the movement! We all won because we got to show the world that there is no one standard when it comes to beauty, confidence, intelligence, fashion, and having a strong spirit of service, family and community. We showed the world that it’s okay to just be great with no limitations!
As I run myself crazy over what I said and didn’t say on stage and what I should’ve and could’ve said to capture everyone and make them see that I was in fact Ashley, I have realized that there is always truth in the Word and Delayed does not mean Denied!! I have gained so many amazing friends turned family along the way and I got to experience Ashley Stewart in a way not many can say they have!!! I got to really see the foundation behind the brand that I have been pouring all of my energy into. I got to see the truth in real time of Ashley Stewart being more than just a brand, more than just a movement, but a real family. I am truly honored and humbled to have had the opportunity given to me and I will never take it for granted as it has been instrumental to my evolution. While Ashley Stewart went on the road finding Ashley, Ashley Walker found her inner Ashley!
As the amazing tour traveled the globe searching for Ashley, lives have been changed forever. People that have never heard of Ashley Stewart now know of this amazing brand and the story behind its rise to Glory! The story of the foundation the brand was built on and the fall and rise it has experienced, the story of the amazing people behind it all and just how real and genuine they truly are, and the truth of the sacrifices that were made to get Ashley Stewart where it is today!! I could sit in awe listening to the CEO of Ashley Stewart for hours combing through the details of the last four years saying to myself, “man I wish I could be in this man’s presence everyday”! I say that to myself because, as we all know our circles are a great catalyst to the future we want to see, so standing with him I’m sure my future would be quite bright!! The modest man in James Rhee, will immediately let you know that he didn’t go it alone, he gives so much credit to the ones around him who decided to take that leap of faith with him and it paid off!!! So to James Rhee and his amazing team and family, I thank you for being visionaries, and for not being afraid of creating your own standard of doing away with the “standard” and allowing people to just be!
I have gained more than any prize or title is worth through this journey of finding Ashley Stewart 2017!! I have been able to show myself and all who have followed me that you can “Will” yourself to do anything you set your mind to do. If you want it bad enough and are willing to be a little uncomfortable for your purpose, you can have it! Empowerment, self love, body positivity, and a strong sense of family and community is what I’m fighting to instill in others. The #FindingAshleyStewart 2017 tour may be over and our Ashley, Miss Theresa Royals @tl_curved has been crowned, but this is just the beginning for me and I’m proud to see our movement is strong and in high gear!!
@charissolutionsphotography and I have had an amazing year one and the bar has been set super high. Our Modelversary came in with a bang with the Ashley Stewart Finale at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn New York, so we have our work cut out for us to top it in year two!!! Thank you to my Ashley Stewart family and my five new sisters who walked that Final Walk with me, I appreciate every single minute and am so grateful to have met and worked with you all! We Are Ashley!!!
Cheers to year 2!! Smooches