Name: Ashley C. Jones
Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Twitter Handle: @_Ashtronaut
Facebook Page: Ashley Jones
What are three words that best describe you? Devoted, nomadic, and optimistic.
How did you learn about Miss A? There’s a strong social media presence for Miss A and all of the writers, so of course I learned about the site through Twitter!
What motivated you to get involved? I love the idea of writing about things that mean something, and contributing to the conversations that we all need to have.
Why do you like writing for Miss A? What I do at Miss A is fulfilling, it’s opened doors, it’s allowed my to experience elite events in New York city, and I am always happy to introduce Miss A to any New Yorkers interested in what it is that I do.
How has writing for Miss A benefited you?
I’d graduated from college, I quit my restaurant job near Time Square, and I was living in the subterranean area of a log cabin that was so far up New York State that I could get to Canada faster than I could get back to Manhattan. I was excited to be living, to have detached from everything that had been making me unhappy and be in such new scenery with my boyfriend. I don’t know what I expected to be doing as soon as I graduated, but when I thought back on the past year I just knew that I was happier then than I had been in a while, and I was ready to seize every opportunity that came my way while spending time in what would be a sort of semi-social seclusion.
Well, I lived there for a while, and while I wasn’t unhappy, I wasn’t exactly fulfilled. I was working another restaurant job, this time a seasonal one at an Italian fine dining place that was right out on a lake. It was easy good money, and I enjoyed being on the water, and concerts that took place there each month, but the “work” that I was excited about was my continuing role as a remote fashion writer. It was while I was still in this role that I approached Ms. Andrea Rodgers via e-mail one night. I’m almost 100 percent sure that I’d had a terrible argument with my boyfriend that night, and while sitting in the next room I guess I just thought that I should do something for myself, and that maybe I wouldn’t feel as bad as I felt right then if I had more of a purpose, and was doing the things that I knew I could be, that I’d just spent an ungodly amount of money, at a university drowning in scandal, to study.
My e-mail was a request for an interview. I thought, what a twist on what my niche website will be expecting for my first article on their re-launched site. She dresses well, not in a bandage dress and Jeffrey Campbell shoes sort of way, believe it or not that isn’t for everyone, but in a Jacqueline Kennedy – Onassis sort of way. I was sure that she knew that a pink suit like the one she had been photographed in in DC, could only evoke images of Chanel, and a woman building and running an empire. She would be perfect!
I was so proud of my interview with Andrea Rodgers and constantly spewing out facts to my boyfriend and his family. We were in touch for a while after the interview was conducted due to a delay with publishing. I wanted to be professional and thorough. Although I had done a fair amount of interviews by then, I was and still am, very grateful anytime someone agrees to grant me one, and their approval becomes the center of my universe until the article is published. Eventually I was asked to join the team of writers at Miss A, as an editor! I couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t interpret it as anything other than a turn for the better.
Almost a year later, I know it was. We all have our moments, our questions, our concerns, even with the best things in our lives. I couldn’t escape the cynicism of the 90’s, even though I was just a sprout for most of it. Regardless of any of those aforementioned moments, I know that this is where I was supposed to be. I’ve gained confidence as a writer, which has to have led to my recent spike in freelance writing jobs. I’m so very excited for what the future holds for Miss A, and I’m thankful and proud to be along for the journey.
Could you describe your business? At the moment I’m focused entirely on writing.
What is your role, where are you based and what inspires you most about your work? I see my work as fairly collaborative because while It’s my job to produce content or provide a service for another person, such as editing, I really have to be my own boss and make sure that my work ethic is what it needs to be if I want to go as far as i’d like to with writing. That said, there are still people I have to answer to. I’m currently based out of NYC. The nature of the work is inspiring in itself. Going to college in this day and age definitely doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a job, and especially not one that you’ll like. I’ve been in love with reading, and writers for my entire life and now it’s a very real part of my life in this new and deeper way.
Was there anything in your past that pointed you in the direction you’ve taken? Yes, and no. I didn’t have some grand plan that I carried out for the first 18 years of my life that landed me here comfortably. I do believe that everything we do leads to something, and away from something else, and I don’t believe that our interests and passions are coincidental. Roald Dahl was my favorite author as a child and I admire him today. I’m not comparing myself to Roald Dahl, at all, but the place I am with my freelance writing at the moment is eerily similar to the sort of work he was doing at a certain point before he became a British literary treasure.
What experience in your career are you most proud of? I’ve had a great year with writing, and it’s been a real roller coaster, but I hope my proudest moment is yet to come. My proudest moment in my academic career, outside of graduating, was getting to meet Lynn Povich and speak briefly with her about my writing.
What advice would you share with those still in school? Anything that you’re thinking about doing, do it. Whether it’s social, academic, or athletic, give it a try. College is a very unique situation to be in, so enjoy it wherever you are and even if you become fully involved in something that doesn’t continue to be a huge part of your life, there is usually a lesson or a gift when you look back.
Why is giving back is important to you? Outside of any differences of opinion people may have on what the approach to charity should be, I don’t see it as anything but human to care about giving back and the well being of the other people we share the planet with.
How has giving back helped you? Giving back, especially when it involves working directly with the people I’m helping, has helped me to gain a broader perspective, and made me more empathetic as well.
How do you incorporate giving back into your life? Being aware of what brands, and products give back a portion of the proceeds, or provide jobs to build sustainable markets, and encouraging efforts like those by voting with my dollars. You can literally give back with every purchase from your vitamins to your shoes.
Aside from that, I live in New York City where the homeless are often ignored or feared, and there are a lot of them. Something small like reaching into my bag for cash, change, or even food to give always makes me feel great. Not everyone can donate millions of dollars to the charity of their choice, but doing what you can is always important, so I always do what I can.
Which charities are near and dear to you and why? The Alzheimer’s Association is very dear to me. My grandfather is affected, and it isn’t one of those things that people really focus on too much, probably because we associate it with the elderly and how we perceive getting old anyway, but it is very much a disease, and the Alzheimer’s Association works hard to provide you with a network as well as the fact that they’re noteworthy when it comes to funding and research. I’d love to be involved with Vitamin Angels, also. The average American gets more vitamins than they need per day, of course there will be some gaps depending on each individual diet, but there are people who don’t have a vitamin shortage or surplus as an option. It affects child development, and it’s a terrible effect of poverty in third world countries.
When it comes to your own philanthropic efforts, what do you look back and feel made the largest impact on those that you set out to help? Feeding the homeless around Vatican City, and being able to make and give something to someone and see them be directly affected right then and there was incredible. Working with dogs at Bobbi and the Strays animal shelter in NYC was also great, these huge dogs are so happy to just have someone there to walk and play with them. Seeing any living thing made happier because of my efforts is how I measure impact, and those two stick out the strongest in my mind as far as sheer gratitude and enjoyment.
What is the most creative fundraising idea you’ve come across? Organizations like Omaze and The Urgency Network, which recently partnered with Fran Drescher to benefit her amazing charity, Cancer Schmancer, provide an incentive to give back and spread awareness through offering the chance to win once in a lifetime experiences. I think it’s great because even if philanthropy isn’t big on a person’s list of priorities, and it should be, most people want to get to hang out with big stars and maybe write it off on their taxes.
What are some must-attend charity events for you? All of them. *note to the people in charged of sending out all the coveted invites!
What brands do you wear most often? That’s a harder question for me than most people. I have a lot of clothes, but I’m re-working my wardrobe and leaning towards staples from Raven & Lily, and the large, “dirty martini”, Hail to the Queen Diana bag by Marc Jacobs. This summer I’ve noticed most of my sandals are Michael Kors, and my dream closet is full of vintage Chanel from the 50’s, and Versace from the 90’s for when I want something to pop .
What is your favorite beauty product? I love the Never a Dull Moment facial scrub from Origins, and I recently tried a coffee body scrub from A.O.M cosmetics that was amazing; it’s hand made by an herbal consultant!
How would you describe your home décor? Eclectic, relaxed casual.
What is your secret for hosting a great party? Invite great guest.
Favorite food: Anything spicy, Mexican, or from the sea.
Favorite cocktail: Vodka soda.
Favorite restaurant: I love food! Kutsher’s and Serafina are my favorites in NYC. Cyclone Anaya’s is my favorite in Houston, Bandera and Giordano’s pizza are my favorite’s in Chicago, and there’s a place called the Boudin King in Jennings, Louisiana, that I always have to stop for Cajun/Creole seafood on my way to see family in Lafayette.
If you could host a dinner party for 8, who would you invite living or dead? Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel, Jimi Hendrix, Deepak Chopra, Roald Dahl, Winona Ryder, Edie Sedgwick, Basquiat, and Tim Burton. I wish I could have invited more!
Favorite vacation spot: I had a weekend in Capri and would love to do it again as an adult and not a broke college student.
Do you have any tips for parents? Don’t be afraid to let your child be them self. Also don’t take advice from me just yet.
Favorite movie: Goodfellas and Gia tie for the raw emotion they demand.
Favorite song: Literally impossible to answer.
Favorite book: The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn’t Working Today (It’s affected me deeply.) I also love dystopian classics from authors like Orwell, Huxley, Bradbury, et al.
iPhone or Android: iPhone, but that’s no promise of allegiance.
Favorite workout: Yoga, or a marathon on the elliptical followed by a long steam, ideally at David Barton Gym in Chelsea.
Where do you get your news? CNN (with a grain of salt), Democracy Now, Vice News and Vice UK. As entertainment news, which is what most of it actually is now anyway, I love The Daily Show, which is incredibly informative & intelligent comedy, and Ronan Farrow Daily. I also stay up with a surprising (or not?) amount of current events through Vanity Fair, and the letter from the editor in GQ.