How She Got There: Model Ashley Johnson of @accentric_artist

Name: Ashley Johnson 

Age: 25 

Origin: Virginia Beach, VA 

Job Occupation: Freelance Model 

College/Major: Old Dominion University/ Pre-Health Major 

Social Media: @accentric_artist 

When I saw THE Ashley Johnson on Instagram from a photographer’s page, I was like, “damn, who dis? She sexy.” I knew I had to meet this walking goddess. Unfortunately, since we were so busy with our schedules, and with her vehicle not working properly, we weren’t able to meet in person. However, we did exchange a series of email and messages to each other and, we are planning a collaboration shoot soon! She is such an intelligent young woman, with such a goofy and silly personality along with her seductive charming looks. Thankfully, I am glad that I got a chance to interview a beautiful model that informed so much about the industry/community.

Source: Photo by Nimzcreations | @nimz1

How Did You Start Modeling?   

“For me, I started off just like any girl with a simple phone taking as many pictures as I could for my MySpace. Modeling didn’t cross my mind at the time; however, I absolutely loved being in front of the camera. I actually had a friend named, Shailla mentioned to her photographer boyfriend (shout out to @lasvisuals on Instagram) that I was photogenic! I was so nervous my first time, but something about it sparked a fire in me. As scared as I was, I absolutely loved the idea of being in front of the camera more. I knew I had to find out what this modeling thing was all about.” 

Tell Me of What a Day in the Life of a Freelance Published Model Like Both Shooting AND Everyday Life.

“So, when I’m not shooting my day consist of getting up early for classes. Then, after classes are done, I head straight to work. I work with kids, I just love them! They’re so smart and sweet! After work, I come home, do any homework and then go to bed. On the days I have a shoot, it can make my day a little more hectic, but fully worth it. I’ll either wake up early to get ready before my classes which means a 6 in the morning shoot or I’ll do it after [my classes.] On the weekends are when I mostly set them up because I have more free time than usual! When I used to go to work all dressed up they would be like, “Photoshoot today, huh?” [laughs.]  

I Remember you Telling me that you Go to School, What School you Go to and What is your Career other than Modeling?

“Originally, I was at Tidewater Community College. It was my first taste of what college felt like and it was very enjoyable. Not to mention, a lot of people I graduated with from Tallwood High School (shout out to my 2011 graduating class...love Y'all!) went there as well. Everything was a smooth transition! I graduated from there in December 2016, with an associate of science degree. My next step was to get my bachelors. I actually wanted and still do want to work in the healthcare department. I love helping people and I’m the type of person to rush to help in most situations. I am currently proud to say I am an ODU Monarch and working towards my bachelors!” 

Source: Photo by Daniel Williams | @dw3photography

Coming from a Model's Standpoint, What do you Feel that Some Young Women--Those Who Often Have Low-Self Esteem--Should Know About Your Occupation?

“This occupation isn’t always going to build you up. In fact, a lot of the time it might bring you down. It might make you feel like you have to look a certain way or change a certain thing about you to succeed. That’s when knowing that you’re just fine the way you are, and focusing on your best attributes comes in. Modeling might help with confidence, but it’s not gonna give it to you. You have to take steps to really feel good about yourself. I have been there! I have days I feel too small or not tall enough, but I know there is beauty in flaws, so own your beauty! Even if you have to write it in a journal or say it in the mirror, point out the things about you that make you special, and that’ll help build you up.”

 

Source: Photo by Genaya B. | @geneyab.photo

What is your Advice to Young Girls who Want to be a Model?

“My advice is that everything is not gonna be picture perfect [laughs.] I know what I did there, but it’s true it’s not gonna be easy. As long as you love what you do, and go about it in a safe way, then you’re good to go! I’m telling you now, don’t trust every photographer and don’t trust every person coming to you telling you they will be your agent and [lure you to] make you famous. If you have someone to help you that even knows the industry, let them. Check everyone out, and treat every situation cautiously. If it sounds too good to be true, or you feel scared or intimidated, listen to your intuition. I don’t wanna see any young girl get taken advantage of or worse. Please take precautions.

Photo By Sheldon | @shellzphoto

Tell me What is your Favorite Shoot and What does it Represent to you?

“My favorite shoot was an African shoot I did with my photographer, Sheldon. The shoot was very close to my heart because my grandma passed away from cancer, and she was Ethiopian. I really wanted to dedicate a shoot to her! She was such a strong and caring person, and I will never forget her spirit.”

On a Personal Level, how has Modeling Helped you Struggle through Hard Times?

“Modeling has been a really good outlet for my emotions, believe it or not. I can literally evoke whatever feeling I want in my shoot. It also helps me feel better! For instance, when my grandma passed doing a shoot dedicated to her made me feel proud and happy! Model is a really great way to show your feelings in a positive manner!”

Source: Photo by Hicon Visuals | @hicon.v

According to the Model Alliance, an Organization that deals with the Workforce of Models have made quite a Few Differences with the Sexual Harassment/Assault Allegations in the Industry. Has there Ever been a Photo Shoot or an Inquiry of where you Felt Threatened in any sort of Way?

“I have never actually worked with anyone I felt threatened by because if it seems sketchy, I don’t go. Typically, if I work with someone knew I first ask to see their work so I know what I’m getting into. Then, I check to either make sure they have a legit page on some social media site, a website and who they have worked with. My advice to a model or photographer is to do your research. Ask people who have come into contact with them. [Ask them how are their personality was like and how safe they felt at the photo-shoot.] Some red flags are if they have no pictures to show you, the model doesn’t wanna show his/her face, they're not really sounding like they know what they're doing, wanting you to [pay] out a large amount of money and give personal information. [Lastly] they immediately sound like they’re pushing you to do a naked shoot or something out of your comfort zone without your compliance.”

Source: Photo By: Kersey Devon | @kd__photo

Are There Any Models you Look Up to and Why?

My favorite model and someone I really look up to is, Chanel Iman. I just love the way she models! It’s so effortless, and even though she is small, she puts in work! I love how she can make a simple picture great because her confidence just radiates through the photo! My second favorite public figure is Nyańe Lebajoa because she literally looks impeccable in anything and everything she puts on. I enjoy how she rocks everything with so much grace. Style icon right there, but that will be our little secret!”

Are you dating anyone currently? ;) If so/or not, what should (does) your (future) man know about your occupation as a model?

“Currently I’m not dating anyone. I was previously in a long-term relationship, but we had to grow separately as people. To my future man, just know I’m very courteous when it comes to making them feel comfortable. I keep my shoots fun and tasteful, so he wouldn’t have to worry about that. We would be a unit, so that means we look out for each other.”

Lastly, Gimme a Fun Fact About Yourself!

Fun fact is I love to dance! I dance most of the time. When I was at Tidewater Community College, I took a Zumba class and fell in love with it. I would always be dancing in the front of the classroom because I just had a love for it! Don’t ask me to start dancing in a big crowd, but if it’s just a few people, I got you! Haha!