Looking at her modelling jobs and the attraction of mainstream media to her, it’s easy to put Anastasia Ashley off as “just a pretty girl” at first sight. You would make a huge mistake though, as this wahine actually has surfing in her blood and has done everything in her powers to get to where she’s at now and fulfill her dreams
Interview by Anna Langer
Hey Anastasia, where are you and what are you up to at the moment?
I am currently in California but heading back to Hawaii in the next few days to catch a good swell!
Your website and blog show that you’ve been modeling quite a bit lately, do you enjoy that?
Of course, I love playing dress up and being able to promote my sponsors at the same time. I enjoy the “modeling” and “glamours” aspect of my job, but at the same time don’t take it too seriously, and have fun doing it.
“Pretty” athletes with great looks often have a hard time being respected for their sportive achievements, what’s your experience in that area?
I think no one should be judged on their appearance, it’s easy for people to try and downplay your achievements sometimes if you are in the media a lot for looks and other antics. At the end of the day though, you still have to have talent.
Having won Pipeline Pro and being awarded the Vans Triple Crown “Rookie of the Year” you shouldn’t really have to proof your legitimacy as a surfer – do you still feel like sometimes you have?
Within any sport and surfing specially a lot of times you are compared to what you have last accomplished. So there is always a feeling of needing to get better and do constantly good, as for providing how good I surf I don’t feel I have to prove anything.
How did your professional career start anyway?
I grew up between Hawaii and California, and did every single contest you can imagine, did the normal route and starting competing in pro events when I was 16. In the last couple of years, I’ve made it a goal of mine to surf some of the best waves in the world, no matter how dangerous the spots are. I try to put myself out there with the guys, and don’t want to be judged for being just “good for a girl”. Lots of hard work went into training and surfing all day to get where I am. I definitely gave up a lot and dedicated my self to becoming a pro.
Who were your idols that you looked up to when you were younger, in life as in surfing?
Definitely guys like Kelly Slater and Jamie O’Brien, they are always pushing themselves and constantly getting better and trying to do new things.
Today a lot of professional female athletes also have a great interest in involvement in fashion and design, like Steph Gilmore and Laura Enever. Would you count yourself among them too and where do you think this change of heart is coming from lately?
I think surfing is a lifestyle related sport, the life we live as professional surfers is so fun, and involves being able to see the world and travel. I love Laura’s style, and especially Steph’s. Steph’s personal style in and out of the water is super different and inspiring. I personally as well like to have my own unique style in and out of the water, and consider my self into fashion because I love the creative side of it, as well as having no limits there is nothing “right or wrong ” when it comes to fashion, no rules.
I read that you’re not friends with many of the other pro surfer girls as there seems to be a lot of “cattiness”. I know it’s probably a sensitive issue but would you mind explain your experiences a bit more?
Here’s the thing, you can’t even trust what you read online or in the media, alot of words always get twisted and made something into that it’s not. To clarify I don’t have anything against any other pro girls, however none of my best friends surf professionally.
Why do you think girls often fall back on cattiness and rivalry instead of sticking together?
I think there is definitely a shift in this because of the smaller amount of sponsorships, events, and exposure there is for the females. So it makes it definitely way more competitive.
And what can we do to get rid of it and unite our female powers instead of using them against each other?
I think theres definitely strength in numbers, and women’s surfing is definitely in the most forefront its ever been.