Ashely Ford

Ashely Ford

I really, really like Ashely Ford. And judging by the gleeful wide-eyed responses I got when I mentioned to friends that I was profiling her for this blog, most people feel the same way. Granted, I only met her for about an hour at the apartment she shares with her husband Kelly Stacy in Brooklyn, but her warm spirit and sharp mind kept me excited for days after, and explains her massive following. She’s a prolific writer and interviewer, and gives her readers a warm, welcoming and honest response to being a woman in the modern world. In the short time we met, we chatted about work and her upcoming projects, fashion and how she once thought that would be her career path, books (she’s cool enough not to shame me for my desire to read Danielle Steel), cooking and her love for Samin Nosrat, and she even gave me history of the artwork throughout her home. Read on to learn about Ashely’s journey and upcoming projects…

  

Pink Grace Dress 

 

 

 
Can you tell us a little about your journey to NYC and how you ended up with the multifaceted career you have today?
 
There’s a longer version of this story, but I came to New York in May of 2014 to take a staff writing position at BuzzFeed. After about a year, I left BuzzFeed due to a combination of new contract work opportunities and grief-induced depression. At the time, I needed the flexibility freelancing afforded me to heal and recalibrate. By the end of 2016, I knew a few things I liked to do and knew I could support myself (and members of my family) doing them. Writing, editing, hosting, teaching, speaking, etc. These are all things I mostly find terribly fun, and I’m astounded I was able to cobble together a life and a living from doing work I generally enjoy. 

 

  

 

  
 
When we met, you mentioned that you wanted to be in the fashion industry when you first started college. What made you change your career path?

 

I was discouraged from my designing plans by a professor who essentially told me that at my weight and socioeconomic level, I would never be accepted by the world of fashion. Silly me, I was young and impressionable enough to believe her. It makes me sad to think of it now. I miss sketching out designs, sewing, and having serious conversations about fashion history as art history. I don’t regret leaning into my writing and love of words. However, I wish I’d known how much room I have for varied interests and desires.

 

You work from your beautiful home that your husband works from too! How do you manage to be productive and separate work from your time to relax and recharge?  

I don’t know how successful we are at that! It helps that we keep completely different work schedules, so I wake up early and write, and he stays up late to write after I’ve gone to bed. The middle of the day can be the real struggle. He’s my favorite person. It’s hard not to just want to hang out. We’re still always trying to figure out how to better manage our work from home life, and I’m still lobbying hard for an apartment with a second bedroom where I can close the door and immerse myself in my work.

 

Plaid Grace Top, Royal Simone Jeans 

 

I love reading your pieces about body image, confidence and issues women deal with on a daily basis. Does the writing process help you tackle these issues in your own life, or do you write more from an outside point of view?

Writing about my body and photographing my body helped me learn to love my body. Post-puberty my agitation with my body led to me kind of ignoring the fact of my body. I just tried not to think about my body at all. Even when I was studying fashion, I only wanted to design for other people with bodies unlike mine. I didn’t believe the size or shape of me was worthy of consideration in the making of something beautiful. I thought the sizes and shapes of my body were inherently unworthy. It’s been a great and surprising pleasure to learn how wrong I was, and how beautiful I am the way I am.

 

     

I hear you’re working on a book! Can you tell us a little about that and what other projects you currently have in the pipeline?

I am! It’s a memoir called Somebody’s Daughter, and it’s the hardest biggest thing I’ve ever done. I also host a show for BuzzFeed News called PROFILE which a lot of fun. And I’m always working on a few other things behind the scenes.

What advantages do you think being a woman can bring to a career in writing, podcasting and hosting? Do you have a community you depend on, or is it a more solo endeavor?

I don’t know that it’s because I’m a woman, but I am fascinated by people, and I love a deep non-judgemental conversation. I’ve been lucky to have a community of people who check in on me and who I keep up with personally and professionally, but I also spend a lot of time alone. It’s just how I am.

     

     

 

 
 
Do you have any mentors, idols or role models you admire?
 
Roxane Gay, Dolly Parton, Chaz Ebert, Min Jin Lee, Oprah, Mr. Fred Rogers, Zora Neale Hurston, and Brené Brown.
 
What about style icons?
Lizzo, Lena Waithe, and Lupita Nyong’o

 

 

  

 

These days I’m loving...

Food

Oysters

 Clothes

Jumpsuits and overalls

 Movies/TV

Sex Education 

 Books

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai, Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Book of
Delights by Ross Gay
 

 Beauty

 Clinique’s Take The Day Off makeup remover for the days when I come home wearing TV makeup

 “Me time” activity

Listening to a podcast and sketching on my ipad

  

Images by Julia Hembree, shot in the Brooklyn, NY