Ashley Elizabeth Paige

AGE: 28

LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA

IG HANDLE: @ashleyelizabethpaige

We are proud to introduce our next muse, Ashley ElizabethPaige Thompson. Ashley is a dancer with a vast dance background - gaining her start in ballet. We were so thrilled when Ashley allowed us a tiny glimpse into her world. Now living in LA, Ashley is breaking barriers in the dance industry.

S:

When did you begin dancing?

AT:

I started dancing at the age of 5.

S:

What was your inspiration for becoming a dancer?

AT:

I had thoughts of becoming a pro dancer when I was in middle school and decided I wanted to dance professionally once I graduated college. It was like a feeling more than anything. Whenever I danced I knew that it brought me joy and a feeling of freedom. I wanted to feel that way all the time, so I did whatever it took to make dance my career.

S:

Were there any dancers of color that served as inspiration while you were studying dance?

AT:

I had many African American female dance mentors growing up. I looked up to my childhood teacher Ms. Deve. She danced her whole life and accomplished so much, and even opened her own dance studio that became the most popular in my hometown. She encouraged professionalism at all times and from her training is where I learned structure in my dance training. Once I began training in college I trained with Linda Denise Fisher Harrell who was the principal dancer at Alvin Ailey Dance theater. I admired her work ethic and how much she accomplished in her career. She pushed me with no remorse and allowed me to grow as a human and dancer wanting to enter the unforgiving professional world. Ms. Linda’s guidance is where I entered another level of my dance training and I am forever grateful for that push. I, like most young African American girls who love ballet, admired Misty Copeland and Eboni Williams who have grown into their crafts even till this day.

S:

In an industry where there is so much emphasis on image and size, how do you maintain a positive body image?

AT:

I continuously remind myself not to be too critical or hard on myself. There needs to be a balance of yes they’re judging me based on my body and aesthetic, but also remembering that they’re looking at my dancing. When I booked the Grammy’s to perform with Lizzo, I was reminded of that and was able to forget about my body and be free to be an artist who loves to dance. I also love affirmations and reading positive affirming books to uplift me. I also remind myself why I am in this industry, which is simply because I love to dance. When I focus on that everything else seems to fall into place. This positive view on myself took years of work and practice of course. Today, I simply don’t care what others think of me regarding my body. As long as I’m happy and I can still catch a groove that’s all that matters. If they book me at my current size, then they do, and if they don’t I’ll be okay as well haha.

S:

Have you ever struggled with body image?

AT:

I have struggled with body image for some time. It started in high school when I began training at prestigious conservatories for ballet. It was already tough that I was the only African American at my dance school, but also to be told by some of my teachers that I needed to get slimmer. In their words they would say something like I needed to get longer, but in ballet we all know that means - to lose weight. I definitely think that by telling young girls that their body is “the wrong body” does something to their psyche and trauma that can stay with them for years into adulthood. For a long time, I only saw myself as “fat” even though I look back at photos and I was so skinny! It’s honestly scary when I think about it. They were telling a tiny young girl she needed to lose weight so I always thought I was too big. I am just thankful that now I am at a good place in my body and also healthy.

S:

Was there anything that you were taught by someone you admire that helped you?

AT:

When I moved to LA, I began training with Dana Foglia and with her is where I was able to break free of thinking so deeply about my body image. I trained in ballet during her programs as well as contemporary, heels, street jazz and I never once have I got criticized about my body. It was all only about the dancing. Then from there is where my view of my body started to change. Another moment of euphoria was working with Lizzo because she and her team bleed body positivity.

S:

How does dance make you feel?

AT:

Dance has always been my first love and passion. I will never forget my first dance class. I felt so free and as soon as my mom came to pick me up I asked her when can I go back. I was always so eager to learn and get better. Dance is my place to fully express myself and show the world who Ashley is. I am a shy person and always have been, but through my dancing, I am able to be an even bolder version of myself. I feel confident, bold, strong, and free when I perform or when I am just moving in freestyle.

S:

What do you feel makes you unique as a dancer?

AT:

I am unique because I consider myself an artist first before a dancer. I see movement more as a feeling than anything else. I am also a very technical dancer who has trained many years in ballet and at first sight many would not be able to tell. I feel this is a strength because I can be in an audition for a hip hop or heels job and bust out some strong lines and technique to show my versatility. Most jobs that I have done want to have a versatile dancer - not just one-dimensional because it’s easier on the choreographer if they need to make changes.

S:

What has been your greatest achievement as a dancer thus far?

AT:

My greatest achievements as a dancer have been getting the courage to move to LA, working really hard while I’ve been here and lastly, getting more than what I asked for in return! I came to LA with two suitcases, whatever money I had saved up, and a dream. Here in LA, I have been able to get accepted into one of the top and exclusive programs for dance, training with choreographers who have worked with top artists. I have been in rooms with people I never thought I would see in a million years. I signed to MSA, one of the largest dance agencies. Through MSA I have had the opportunity to be directly booked on jobs for top artists as well as booking one of the biggest jobs of my life. I am forever grateful for making my decision to move to this city.

S:

What are you still hoping to manifest in your career?

AT:

I am manifesting that this quarantine and pandemic will not get the best of my career. I want to come out of this quarantine stronger than before. I am manifesting to work my dream job of working with Beyonce and touring when this pandemic is over. I also would like to book more acting roles.
‘‘
I feel confident, bold, strong, and free when I perform or when I am just moving in freestyle.
’’

S:

What’s your morning routine?

AT:

My pandemic routine: I love to wake up, shower, wash my face and brush my teeth. Oral health and skin care are really important to me. Overall cleanliness is important for a great start to the day. I get dressed in something that makes me feel good. Currently I like to dress up in the house and wear things I would usually wear going out. Then I usually take a dance class or take time to myself to fully wake up because I am not a morning person. After that, I get things done around my place or work on my to-do list and hangout until I train with my trainer.

S:

Do you have any self-care practices?

AT:

My skin and hair care routines are the most important to me right now as far as self-care. I have recently been trying out different products on my skin and hair to see which ones work best for me. So far, I am in love with the Tatcha and Fresh Rose brands for my skin and design essentials for my hair. They have all been working amazing for my skin and hair. I use Tatcha and Fresh Rose both in my morning and nightly routines and have seen a huge difference in my skin. I use the design essentials for my hair masks and shampoo and conditioner and my hair is so much healthier. I think it is good to maintain skin and hair routines because those are my moments to truly take care and pamper myself.

S:

The beauty product I can’t live without

AT:

is Tatcha The Water Cream

S:

When I want to relax

AT:

I order something that I’ve been craving and watch my favorite shows on Netflix

S:

Right now, I am reading

AT:

Freeing Your Emotional Core by Susan Giosa

S:

I show love for myself by

AT:

buying myself something nice like flowers or a fancy new product

S:

When no one is watching, I dance to

AT:

WAP by Cardi B and Megan thee Stallion

S:

Favorite candle scent (not brand, just fragrance)

AT:

Sweet Spun Sugar

S:

Favorite outdoor activity

AT:

taking pictures at the beach

S:

Favorite warm tea flavor

AT:

Organic Peachy Green Tea

S:

I laugh every time I watch the movie

AT:

Bridesmaids

S:

What soothes you?

AT:

The sound of chimes

S:

Either in your home or elsewhere, where is your Sanctuaire (sanctuary) for peace and well-being?

AT:

Being at the beach or by any body of water is always peaceful for me.

S:

Have you learned anything about yourself in 2020?

AT:

I learned that it’s okay to pamper and treat myself and I love doing it. Doing nice things for myself truly makes me happy. I also learned that I am a lot stronger than I ever imagined. This year has led me to so many challenges and I have been able to adapt and overcome all of them.

S:

Please share a favorite affirmation.

AT:

This is more my favorite quote than affirmation that I say to myself daily, “don’t think of all the misery but the beauty that still remains”. This year many of us have encountered/witnessed so much negativity throughout the world. This quote helps to keep me grounded through it all.

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