Hey Ashley! So let’s start with you telling our readers all about you.
So I’m Ashley, I’m from Woodbridge in Virginia. I’m a married mother of four and I’m a stay-at-home Mum, which is what I’ve done since I was 19. My husband and I are actually setting up our own insurance company so I’ll be going back to work very soon.
Mother of four? I’ve had NO children and I don’t look half as good as you do! How old are your children?
They’re 10, 8, 7 and 6. It’s a full house, but we love it.
I think full house is an understatement! So how did they all react when you told them about getting through to Star In A Bra? You’ve got your husband here with you and it’s easy to see he’s proud as anything!
As far as the kids go, I told them I was doing some modelling I just haven’t told them that, you know, it’s in my panties! But they’ve been great, and my family has been really supportive, my husbands family have been really supportive...we’re very lucky. My husband really is my biggest cheerleader.
It’s so lovely to see how proud he is of you, that you have him here to share this experience with.
He really is and honestly I wouldn’t be able to do this if he wasn’t the way he is with me. He’s so supportive, it’s great.
Have you done any modelling before?
No, no modelling.
You seemed to take to it like a duck to water!
Do you think? My face started to go all twitchy at one point!
I think all the contestants this year have taken to it really well, you all look like naturals.
I think for me I just look and see things I wish were a little different with myself but we all do that.
So what size do you wear when it comes to bras?
I was wearing a 28J and right now I’m wearing a 30K.
It’s a tricky back size that’s for sure.
I was wearing a B cup by the time I was 8, and from there I just got progressively bigger. But the hardest part is being so narrow around the ribs. I would go to Victoria’s Secret and but bras in the biggest back - about a 38 - and sew them myself. The fit was still awful, the underwires would be all over the place but I didn’t really have a choice.
It’s a good job Curvy Kate came along then! How did you come across the brand?
Exactly! I’ve been ordering my bras from England for about 5 or 6 years just because they weren’t really available to me. And even now it’s online - I’ve never been able to walk into a bricks and mortar store and come out with something.
Curvy Kate started in 2009, right? Around 2011 I saw the brand online and whilst I’ve tried other brands, they always gave me a funny shape. By the time you’re done paying for shipping to America, you’re looking at about $100 for a bra and even if they didn’t fit you’d keep them because it’s cheaper. And then I tried Curvy Kate and that was it! I have a bunch of your bras and I really like the shape you give, as well as the cleavage. Other brands? Their full cups come up to my collarbones! And that’s why I love Curvy Kate - they work for me and are still really pretty.
Do you have any favourite sets? Both from your collection and from today?
I have the Tease Me and the Thrill, that satin style with the ruffles? It was so pretty. I love the Smoothie too although in my entry picture it was about seven sizes to small! They were jammed in there but what are you going to do? I loved that bra. And I really liked the Madagascar from today. Normally I prefer a molded cup and I was surprised I liked this one so much - normally I like the straps and the cups to be tight and firm but the pattern is so pretty and it’s so comfortable.
Tease Me and Thrill Me are old school! I love the Madagascar, the print and colours are so different. You entered the competition last year, so you’re no real stranger to Star In A Bra…
I submitted my entry last time and got an email to say I’d been selected, but at the same time we found out we had an opportunity to try IVF. It’s so expensive and I decided not to pursue Star In A Bra because I felt it needed all my energy. I just wanted to be really positive about it. We didn’t get pregnant so I decided to apply when I found out Star In A Bra was international this year and here I am.
You’ve had to travel quite a way to get here, that’s for sure! It must have felt like a long time coming?
With the kids, it would have been much more difficult had our families not been so supportive. Everyone was really excited for me and wanted to facilitate this opportunity happening. I mean, we have a lot of kids! We divided the duties between family so they could tap out when it got too much and they’d move onto the next one! They’re made it so easy for us though, and this is something I know so many people would love to do, I really feel so lucky for having this chance. To have Curvy Kate fly me into London and to be able to spend quality time with my husband, and to meet everyone here today. I feel so blessed.
So how did the photo shoot go?
It was really good! In your head you visualise what you look like, and then you think “oh I must look SO awkward!”, but you see the pictures and realise that’s not the case - I’m really excited to see them. I was definitely nervous on the train ride over, I kind of went into panic mode! But everyone here is so likeable and easy going, and everyone’s in their underwear! Plus the lingerie is really pretty and it makes you feel so great.
We do all hang out in our underwear a lot! We’ve touched upon the fact that your bra size has been quite problematic in the past, but how has that impacted on the relationship you have with your body?
I’d definitely say my boobs have defined me, my entire life. During middle school and high school people noticed and they’ve always paid attention and then having kids...they got even bigger! I’ve gone into speciality bra stores that were supposedly for women like me, and I’ve left in tears, feeling deformed. It sounds like such a cliche, but Curvy Kate really did save me. This is my lot and I’m proud of the way I look - I like my body and I like how curvy it is. I like that I have a small waist and these cartoon boobs and hips! When I was a teenager I was so insecure and sure people may find flaws with my body, but I was insecure even without them. I’m at a point where I embrace my body and I really am proud of it.
And why do you think you’d be a good representation of Curvy Kate customers?
I know the struggle, and the struggle is real! I’m so passionate about the brand, as you all are; I love how Chantelle entered Star In A Bra and now she works for you, it’s so cool. I think to be a Curvy Kate girl you have to have a body that people can identify with and that’s kind of what’s good about my size - it IS extreme and whether people can sympathise or they think “well if it works for her it’s got to work for me!”...I think you have to love the brand and be proud of it, to champion it, like you all do. You can tell you love the company! My body has one of the smallest band sizes, and one of the biggest cup sizes, and I think it gives a good visual or what the range has to offer, it’s great to be able to show the world what you guys can do.