We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Byrd and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Often times people see the nice photos, the campaigns, and etc but what many don’t realize is that, it’s not always as glamorous as it looks. And just because you see us in stores or on brand websites, that doesn’t mean that we are making millions. Everyday is a constant grind and it’s very much a fact that you can be shooting with big brands while still living paycheck to paycheck until you get your big break.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started modeling during my senior year of high school and I am proud to look at where I am today and truly say, I am beyond proud of myself. Before moving to LA to pursue my modeling dream, I worked in the construction industry for years so that I was able to fund my move to LA. I sometimes worked seven days a week, 10-12 hour days in unpleasant work environments, but I did what I needed to do to get to where I wanted to be. Was it easy? Absolutely not, and honestly, even after being in LA for three years now, it’s still not easy.

Everyday is a fight. Fighting to get into the right doors, meet the right people, get the auditions, book the jobs, etc. Yes, I’ve worked with some of my dream brands and that feeling is beyond words, but most people don’t understand that modeling is not an overnight success, at least it haven’t been for me. I still work a 9-5 because that’s what it takes. I’ve learned along the way that, we get to choose and create the life that we want. I learned that we don’t have to be a product of our environment. It doesn’t matter where you come from or how little you have, every day is a new day to do something different and we get to decide what We do with it.

Everyday I’m constantly challenged with staying the course, not giving up, keep knocking on the doors even after being rejected thousands of times because that’s what it’s all about. Yes it’s difficult, but giving up isn’t an option because this is about more than just me.

But, In the midst of all of the struggles, I am most proud about the journey that I have taken to get here. I’m a small town girl with big dreams. At one time, working with brands like Nike, Adidas, and dreaming of being a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model was all just a dream, and now, today, I’ve worked with Nike, Adidas, and I am currently a Sports illustrated Swimsuit Finalist, I am proud of these moments, but most importantly, I am grateful and forever thankful and I give God all the glory.

I want people to know that I am proof that we are who we choose to be and that we can do whatever we want. I represent women like me. Women who may be feeling stuck, feeling like they are too old to still pursue their dreams. I want women to be fearless. I want women to know that, we don’t have to choose one thing, we can do them all. Don’t get lost in the “biological clock” thing because success doesn’t have an age limit. Enjoy where you are and enjoy the journey because being grateful will open up more doors than you can ever imagine.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Honestly, I’m still getting use to LA so I’m not as familiar with much here yet, but I would definitely take them hiking, and of course we have to eat. So we would probably do brunch at this place called EAT because they have the most amazing pancakes. Dinner would definitely be a spur of the moment type of thing. My friends and I are adventurous, we love trying new things so it would definitely be a “wherever the road lead” type of week.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Absolutely. This shout out is to my family, friends, and my man. Thank you for always encouraging me, supporting me, and always reminding me of who I am.

This industry has been really tuff on my mental health, and sometimes I lose focus from the constant rejection, but thanks to all of you for the constant love and support. You are appreciated.

Instagram: @ashleynbyrd

Image Credits
Raen Badua Swimsuit photo- Bruce Talbot

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