We are excited to feature Ashleigh Ashton, in this weeks Teen Inspiration interview. Ashleigh now 20, is barely out of her teens and yet already has an array of accolades under her belt. As a singer- songwriter, actress and motivational speaker, Ashleigh’s talents have seen her win the 2012 Chicago FAME Award, in 2014 was selected as Chicago’s Independent Artist of the year and is soon to publish her first book (which will have an emphasis on bullying and how she can help other young people).
We sat down with Ashleigh, to find out what has inspired her on the journey and how she juggles the pressures of a work/ life balance at such a young age.
1. Tell us about your journey as a young singer/ songwriter?
I started singing at age five. By the age of nine, I was a regular at some restaurants/bars. My parents would always be with me. As a young singer/songwriter I tended to take advice from others, even though I knew that I wanted to go in a different direction or style. As I grew up, I found my voice and was able to tell producers what I liked and what I did not like. I was very blessed to have a supportive family. They have helped me from the very beginning and still help me today.
2. What is your biggest fear personally? What is your biggest fear professionally?
My biggest fear personally would be the loss of someone I love, but I believe life does not end, it just continues in another form. Those we love never leave us, the love continues.
Professionally, I really don’t have any fears. If you do what you love, good opportunities will show up. To fear is to invite complications. It is easier to believe that things will work out for the best, even if they don’t seem like it at the time.
3. What do you consider to be your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is believing in myself and surrounding myself with positive energy. When I am in a good positive space, I create things with ease. I also love to encourage others to follow their passion. So many people are afraid to do what they love, but when there is a will, there is a way.
4. Who is your role model and why?
My parents because they believe in their children and do all they can to help their children be what/who they want to be. Even at times when money was tight, they figured out how to help the seven of us kids take the lessons we needed, they always drove us to where we needed to be and they allowed us to dream big!
5. How do you effectively juggle a work/ life balance?
That is my biggest challenge. My passion is life and music and life goes smoothly when I am doing what I love. If I’m feeling good about life, I notice that I attract good opportunities that are fun. In order to make ends meet, I work part time. I work at Portillos, a famous Chicago area hot dog/beef place, doing the cash register. Sometimes, this job needs to take a backseat to auditions and gigs. It’s all a challenging balancing act. I hope this becomes easier as I am able to eventually do what I love 24 hours a day!
6. What advice can you offer other teens out there who have a dream, yet don’t know where to begin?
Teens with a dream should follow their passion, do what they love and follow their heart! Even if you feel like you do not have a lot of support from others, if you hold your dream close to your heart, eventually, people who support you will show up in your life. Follow your dream because it is what you love, not because you want to attain a certain outcome. If you are following your heart, you will naturally find your place in the world and you will be happy!