We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Cruz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Oh yes! My work life balance has changed tremendously over the length of my career. I think balance between the two is so important and an absolute necessity in order to be aligned emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. At the start of my career, I used to say “I live, sleep, and breathe dance.” Although I am grateful to have had that natural grit and dedication to accomplish my dreams within dance, I look back and I realize how narrow minded that was. I also realized how there were many moments where I eventually felt empty inside. It’s so crucial to have balance across the board with what I want in my career and in my personal life so that I’m not basing my happiness on the outcome of one thing.
Some of the things I’ve learned to place more value on that keep me balanced are my other creative avenues and future career paths like acting and honestly anything beauty related. I also self care a lot, everything from massages, beach dates and Netflix binges. Oh! And my spiritual practice? An absolute priority! That alone will do it!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Of course! I’ve danced for some of music’s biggest stars including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B and so many more. What I bring to my work and career is the authenticity of who I am and where I come from. I am extremely passionate about being an afro latina born and raised in the South Bronx. Wherever I can, I do my best to pay homage to that. That may look like throwing on a Yankee cap, hoop earrings, or maybe even incorporating salsa or light feet movement on stage and/or camera. I grew up wanting to watch women who looked like me achieve their dreams and I always strive to be that for someone back where I came from.
To further open up, I can say that as I continued to grow in the industry it became more challenging to show up as my most authentic self. As much as I heard Yes’s, I heard plenty of No’s. I was either “too Latina”, “too big” or “too small”. It made it very difficult for me to remain open to the process. However, along the journey I finally learned to manage rejection by not confusing it with failure. Every opportunity that was supposed to be for me, WAS! The ones that weren’t, simply were just not!
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?
I would love to dedicate my shout out to Tia Rivera and Charm La’Donna. The mentorship that these two women have poured into my journey in Los Angeles is something I will forever be grateful for. Not only did they recognize the light in my talent but they pushed me to be bigger and better in all areas of my life. They’ve helped guide me to dive into what my purpose is and how I can go beyond my own limits. They forever are reaching back into the community, taking care of their loved ones and keeping God first while constantly working on their next level. I’ve instilled so much of that in my own life and career. I’m forever grateful!
HauseOfArtists: Aaron King, Eddie Lee,