We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Long and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I started acting when I was 14 years old. For many aspects of my life, this has been for the better. Becoming an actor at a young age gave me a sense of joy, purpose, and drive. It also influenced the way I understand people’s hearts, minds, pain, and desires. Acting helped me evolve as a young woman understanding the world around me. I was able to deeply empathize with people quite different than me and then see the thread within all of us – to be loved, seen, heard, and to be held. I believe so much of who you are as a person is influenced by your artistry and vice versa. As I grew as a person, my acting matured, and as my acting matured, I evolved continually as a young woman.
For myself, the other side of starting acting when I was 14 years old was that my whole sense of self and identity was wrapped around being a ‘good little actress.’ This ‘good little actress’ syndrome was carried out throughout my coming-age-age years where one starts to gather who they are in this world. Before I had a full sense of self as a young woman, my identity was already rooted in becoming a great actor.
As a young adult in the industry now, I need to share this, particularly for young women entering the business to understand their identity is more than being an actor. There’s so much to explore and experience within yourself and life. As I started to grow as a young woman in my college years, I saw how this identity protected and matured me in so many ways to the deeply curious and old soul I’ve always been. But I also witnessed my own self-awareness for the first time in how acting has shaped my sense of self before I even created one.
I say all of this because what I have discovered is the importance of finding what lights you up outside of your own artistry and finding a sense of balance. The keyword here, balance. Before I realized this, I was in a trance of allowing acting to dictate every choice I made in my life and who I become. While some may admire the extreme focus and determination, I realized it was not allowing me to grow into the woman I want to be and am today.
The importance of finding what you love or developing what you love outside your artistry is crucial – not only for your sense of peace and joy in your life but also for your growth as a human being. As you understand more within yourself and enjoy the world around you, it influences your work and naturally the journey to becoming who you want to be in this world. Whether it is hiking, sculpting, travel, or service, the importance is to find ways to fill up your cup and enjoy your life outside for your unique journey as an artist. Looking back, I realize everything happens for a reason, and I wouldn’t change a moment. It all led me into the young woman and artist I am today. I can only wish balance and a true sense of joy to all who stumble upon this reading.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
What you are most proud of or excited about?
I just finished filming my first lead in a feature film. It will hopefully be out next year. It was such a challenging, powerful experience and there’s so much about it that I am looking forward to sharing with the world.
How did you get to where you are today professionally? Was it easy?
Nothing good usually comes easy. I think I am very much on my journey and it’s an exciting place to be. I feel really present and grateful for where I am today and what is to come.
If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
Faith. Small but important daily disciplines unwavering every single day. Authentically connecting with like-minded individuals in the business. The focus always being on story. Staying inspired. Growing as a person. And love.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Love is always the answer. You can be kind and still stand up for yourself. The real importance of becoming who you want to be in this life. Creating joyful balance outside of the industry and your art. That success is in the journey and not the destination.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
The world wants to see your version of how you see and experience life in different roles. The journey to knowing yourself is what we are all after to share real stories with real nuance. I have a strong sense of self and am interested in roles that shed light on truth. I am not interested in a story of a victim. A woman overcoming adversity to freedom is interesting to me though.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
All phones are off – disconnected from the rest of the world ideally.
Probably start with coffee at Alana’s in Mar Vista, a local Farmer’s Market trip, a hike in Malibu, picnic on the beach, dinner at Fia in Santa Monica, and end with a cozy night in at my place.
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 dedicate my shoutout to my Mom, Dad, two sisters, my friend and coach Devin Kawaoka, my first mentor since I was a child Nikki Pederson, my manager Luke Dennerline, my beautiful friends and extended family, and my boyfriend Randall.
Dana Patrick Photography, Devon Johns Photography, Joshua Cristales Photography