Our interview with gorgeous model, entrepreneur and PR guru Ashley Michaelsen.
Ashley born into the modeling and acting world serving over 25 years of experience both in front and behind of the the camera including parts on “How I met your mother”, “What Would You Do” and The soap opera “As The World Turns.”
Transitioning into her true love of fashion design and marketing, at age 21 Ashley designed and developed her first clothing line in NYC and introduced the line into independents on the East coast and online retailers. Wanting to Expand her line on the West coast Ashley made the move to Los Angeles and quickly started gaining traction by participating in LAFW, NYFW, LA market week and the famous Magic show in Las Vegas.
Eager to pursue all her passions under one umbrella, Ashley launched Ashley Michaelsen PR (AMPR). A unique PR boutique Agency based in the heart of Hollywood, CA. AMPR specializes in up to date marketing strategies,fashion showroom benefits and design. Focusing on creative brand developments, Production services, styling and design studio, Fashion pulls/product placement and social media management and content creation.
Hi Ashley please tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in a tiny town in upstate NY. Went to the fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and started my first clothing line at the age of 18 years old as I also pursued a modeling career as a petite model. I eventually brought both my fashion career and modeling career to LA and started getting on the other sides of projects, by producing, styling, creative directing etc. Soon after I opened up ashley michaelsen PR and the rest is history.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, creative, determined.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town outside of Rochester NY. I will always be humble and real because of my upbringing. Its so funny because when you are young you can’t wait to move away, but as you get older you can’t wait to get back.
How did you get into the industry?
My mom and dad were KODAK models at the time, actually so were my brothers as well. My whole family modeled in upstate NY and as the youngest and the first girl it was inevitable I would get involved as well. My first commercial, I was 6 weeks old!
Name one of your strengths?
To always figure out a way, owning a business it can be a very dizzy rollercoaster and inconsistent but I have always figured out a way to shift or pivot to keep it on the right track.
How’s a typical day in your life?
My team comes into the AMPR showroom at 9am. Prior to that I try to get in a quick breakfast, check my emails from my phone, glance at our social media pages. From 9am-5pm the showroom is open and the team is in. We have back to back stylist appointments pulling accessories and returning product from the brands we represent. We also are usually planning a shoot, shooting content or editing. We also spend a lot of time on proposals and recaps for new clients and current clients. After 5pm, the team leaves and thats usually when I can be the most creative or get caught up so I usually continue to work. I like to be in bed at 10pm but doesn’t always happen.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Finding your purpose in life I believe will lead you to happiness.
What part of your job do you find the most challanging?
The most challenging and the most stimulating aspect of my business is the idea that I do not get paid no matter what. I get paid based on my efforts and progress, I can’t hide under co workers or blame any faults on anyone else but myself even if something is completely out of my hands. On the flip side, it makes me work my bum off and I have became a perfectionist because I hold the weight for everything I produce.
What did you learn from your biggest failure? (if any)
Like I mentioned before I started a clothing line when I was 18 in NYC and then became even more serious about my brand when I was about 22 once I moved to LA. I don’t consider my clothing line a failure, however I think I went over the top with marketing and hiring PR companies when I wasn’t ready yet. But what I learned from having my own brand as that I enjoyed the finished product more then designing and producing it. I loved the marketing aspect of it (which is probably why I invested so much time and money into that part of my business) that was my true passion, I just didn’t know it yet.
Are there busy and quiet periods during the year?
Not really, there are ups and downs but no particular period is slow. There is ALWAYS work to do. We manage several social media brands and thats a 365 day business. Our business relies on fashion shows, shoots, red carpets, award shows, events, movie premieres, TV/film placement etc and there is always something going on in Hollywood.
Any advice to other entrepreneurs?
To really understand what is your purpose and passion because when times get really tough that is the ONLY thing that will get you through a rough business day. Ask yourself “would I be excited to do this even if there wasn’t a pay check associated with it?” If not, use it as a means to an end until you figure out what that passion is and pursue the shit out of it.
Tell us about your successful PR company?
We are based in the heart of Hollywood CA. We work with all kinds of fashion stylists, wardrobe teams, producers to get our product on their clients, projects, actresses etc. We also work with celebs/bloggers and influencers. Our services range from Small business consulting to producing g campaign shoots, bloggers gifting, product placements, styling services, social media content creation and management, event production, and designing small fashion apparel production for companies.
What kind of clients do you work with?
We focus on shoe brands (Charles David shoes, Amalfi by Rangoni, Valentina, Lauren Lorraine shoes) for the most part but we work with other fashion brands as well and have worked with hospitality brands such as the W Hotels and Sixty Hotels.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 year?
Haha I remember this question when I was in my early 20’s and people asking “where do you see yourself at 30” and I aways answered married with kids and a successful fashion company. I guess 1 out of 3 isn’t too bad. I would HOPE in 5 years I am atleast married to someone who completely supports my business and understands I want it all by balancing my life between marriage, business and kids.
What was the last book you read?
I am between two right now. Boss Bitch by Nicole Lapin and “Ask and it is given” One is more woman empowerment/business and the other is more about learning how to manifest your destiny.
What would be the dream holiday?
Be able to host my own family along with my immediate family and having pure chaos of kids, nephews and nieces running all over the place. Location doesn’t matter as long as everyone is together as long as my parents (and in laws…haha) can relax.
Honestly, if I have time off I like to catch up on sleep/read/church or go to a local event. Lately, I have had the urge to learn piano though.
If you could meet someone living or dead who would it be and why?
I just finished watching The Defiant ones and I was SUPER inspired, so right now I would love to meet Dr Dre and or Jimmy Lovine’s and completely just be in a think tank with them (or the studio)
What do you do in your free time?
Free time-Read, Netflix, go back to my hometown and movies.
Any advice to women out there?
I think emotional intelligence and being self aware are two of the most important qualities. I don’t believe in a proper education per say as long as you educate yourself other ways. Read books, watch documentaries, go out and meet people, network, hustle, work hard, intern and just have some simple common sense and you can honestly do whatever you want to do. Surround yourself around people you admire, you are a product of your environment, Network the shit out of yourself but with boundaries. Also when things get overwhelming-create a to-do list and just knock off one by one even its a small task, Just make progress!
What do you think of social media?
Its a curse and a blessing. It has completely overly saturated every industry especially the fashion and modeling world. However, you can reach so many people for the least amount of effort. I also believe, we (me included) use social media as a boundary and it eliminates real quality FaceTime with people. However, it is super important and lucky for me helps my business grow. Its also gives everyone an opportunity to get there product, message, platform out there.
Where can we follow you?
Song: Shania twain-Any Man of Mine
Travel destination: Upstate NY
Celeb Crush: I would love to meet James Corden and just laugh with him non-stop during an episode of Carpool Karaoke and my girl crush is Julianna Hough.
Restaurant: Cleo in the Redbury Hotel in LA
Actress: Rachel McAdams….Obsessed!
Movie: Dirty Dancing, The Notebook (shout out to my mom who watches these on loop with me) and Dumb and Dumber
Shows: STAR, Girlfriend Experience, The Arrangement, and what girl doesn’t love The Bachelor?
Drink: White wine or rose
Festival: Country music festival Stage coach