In early 2004 a shapely redhead stepped into the plus modeling scene and brought a diversity and look rarely seen in the industry. What a pleasure to share Ashley Sharman’s story…
[Maddy] Did you always want to be a model? How did you decide to become a plus model? [Sharman] I had wanted to be a model since I was about 13. I remember being in a “Modeling school” fashion show. The school was right next door to a Jack in the Box and every time we had a lunch break, we would head over. I would get two small cheeseburgers and make them into one. This upset the instructor, who felt it necessary to remind me that eating too much would make me fat and that I would never be a model. I quit after that. [Maddy] When did you resume your quest to become a model? [Sharman] I decided to try again when I was about 18. At the time I was a size 12. I went around to agencies and they all said that I was pretty, but just too commercial. Plus modeling was pretty unheard of at the time and I was told to lose weight and come back.
So instead, I became a make up artist. I started doing makeup for the Torrid web site. Every time a model would come in, they would ask if I ever thought of modeling. One day one of the models came in and told me that she had talked to her agent about me. The agent from Brand wanted to meet me and asked if I would be able to see her the next week. I figured, what the heck, it could be fun! For the whole week I was nervous — Here I was setting myself up for criticism and rejection. Again!
[Maddy] How did your meeting with Brand turn out? [Sharman] So the day of, I walk into Brand and met Lisa. Soooo nervous. She liked my pics and gave me the name of a photographer she wanted me to shoot with; Les Delano, and then we would get my cards made. I had no idea what she was saying. Then she tells me to bring in the pictures with all my papers signed. I literally had to ask her if she was giving me a contract because I didn’t understand. She said yes and walked me out the door. The meeting had happened so fast I was kind-of in shock. Next thing I know I’m a model! [Maddy] Tell me about your first photo shoot? How did you get the job and how did you prepare? [Sharman] My first photo shoot was for a “Beauty Plus Power” editorial called “Hitting the Road”. We were all caravanning to Palm Springs and taking shots along the way. It was so much fun, the whole time I was so happy that I had actually gotten a job. [Maddy] What do you enjoy most about modeling? [Sharman] What I enjoy most about modeling is the traveling. I love jumping on the hotel beds just because I can. What I love about plus modeling is that I can get room service and not care. [Maddy] Do you model full-time? [Sharman] My day job is “Personal Assistant to Jenna Jameson.” It’s a pretty good job because the hours are flexible. I can go to shoots or “Go See’s” whenever they come up. If you are going to do this you have to have a flexible job because you never know when something will come up last minute. [Maddy] I love your pictures on the Svaboda site. Tell me about working for Jessica Svaboda and what is your favorite Svaboda item. [Sharman] The first time I worked for Jessica I did it for trade. I basically worked for pants! Best move I ever made. I came home and threw out ALL of my other pairs of jeans. I’ve never bought another brand since. [Maddy] What has been your greatest accomplishment in the industry so far? [Sharman] I think my greatest accomplishment in the industry would be the “Luscious Calendar.” Never in a million years would I have thought I could be in a calendar. Let alone one on which a year before I was doing make-up on a quarter of the models. [Maddy] What would your dream modeling job be? [Sharman] I would have to say that my dream job would be a Tom Ford, Gucci, and a billboard in Time Square. That would be awesome!!!! [Maddy] What advice would you like to offer aspiring models? [Sharman] I think the best advice I can give is don’t ever give up. Looks always change.