Check out our interview with Renée Ash about the importance of mental health awareness and the destructiveness of cancel culture, after recently making headlines with PAGESIX.COM. Renée is now ready to tell her side of the story- with no filter- detailing the aftermath of the pop culture frenzy surrounding the news break. All too often, it is never the men in these situations who are punished for their choices, but instead, the women who are judged, mocked and ridiculed…Until now. Renée is ready to change all that.
After the news hit, Renée was confronted with brutal online bullying, death threats, troll hate comments & more. Since being able to reflect on the past month, she is now ready to turn this negative into a positive and shed light onto the power of people’s words and the damage that they can cause.
Follow Renée @renee.ash
Hi Renée, please tell us a little about you?
I am a born and raised LA girl. I grew up with my two half sisters in Calabasas and we have a very modern family. All three of us girls share the same dad and all have different moms. Our dad has struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues since before any of us were born leading to none of us being able to maintain a solid relationship with him. Our moms wanted to make sure that we kept a close relationship to each other so we built our own little family. My YiaYia (my Greek grandma on my dad’s side) has also been a huge part of my childhood as she’s taken the financial and emotional responsibility he should have provided. Growing up in Calabasas was not as dreamy as it seems. When I got into middle school, some of my closest friends and the older girls ganged up against me. Going to school everyday was a nightmare because as soon as I stepped foot on campus, I would be cussed out and my self-worth diminished. I almost had to stop going to school because it got so out of hand that the principal, police department, etc couldn’t do anything about it. After that, I felt like I lost my personality. Things got better but I was a shell of the bright, fun loving little girl that I was. I actually have never felt more like myself up until the past year and it took a lot to get here.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
I would say that I am tenacious, brave and personable. I’ve really proven to myself how much I can persevere and show up for myself during hard times. I also love connecting with people have a skill in being able to talk to almost anyone even if we don’t have much in common. (I’m also pretty funny)
Tell us about the importance of mental health and how did you manage to work on this after all the recent headlines?
I can imagine how hard is to be dealing with this in real life, plus all the social media people commenting and making assumptions. How are you handling this? I am spending my time with family and friends that know me well. I have endured a lot of criticism and judgement from complete strangers. It’s interesting to sit back and observe human nature especially as my story has unraveled and is so crystal clear. I am working navigating who I can trust and who I cannot when I meet new people and with my current friends. This may be a long journey. I spend time reflecting back to learn signs and red flags that I can share with those who are interested. I am a young adult and most experience this lesson on some level. All of this has helped me to have compassion and awareness towards younger people that throw out harsh comments towards me. They are naive, they have their own insecurities and wounds and seem to project them because they’re able to hide behind a screen name. That being said, I do believe that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all and stay in your lane. We all present our best selves on social media. No one knows if someone is struggling with mental health issues and one comment could push someone over the edge. Luckily, I have thick skin but not everybody does and people need to realize the harm their behavior can cause.
How has this changed your life?
It’s made me more compassionate towards people and not to judge someone based on one story or rumor. I’ve grown tough skin through all the hate comments and used this time in my life to grow closer with my good friends. It’s launched me into things I never thought I’d have the chance to do especially advocating for women’s mental health and I feel so grateful for that. I’ve gotten supporters, mostly women, that I wouldn’t normally accessibility to. We are here for each other!
What’s your advice to other women dealing with similar situations?
Don’t be afraid to speak out unless you feel it is dangerous to. Find somebody, even if it’s one person, to confide in. Don’t let a gaslighter make you feel you are doing anything wrong. Recognize the signs of trouble—and don’t blame yourself. When someone love bombs you, your brain can’t fully rationalize, so it is important to have someone you trust there to keep you centered.
How would your best friend describe you?
I actually asked around and the most common responses were selfless, extremely loyal, extroverted and full of life with a genuine heart.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
It would be called Never a Dull Moment because my life is consistently an extremely entertaining and hilarious hot mess.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
To my younger self, present self and future self, focus on the way you feel about yourself rather than how others perceive you. At the end of the day, who you’ll always have is yourself and that is the person who decides how your life will go. This is easier said than done, so if anyone wants to remind me as well.. dm me.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The title is deceiving because it is actually about how to expand your own beliefs and think of things from another person’s point of view. It teaches you how to communicate with others, improve your character and be considerate of others. This is the secret to success in my opinion.
What’s next for Renée Ash in 2022?
First things first, your girl is turning 26 next month so I will be doing some birthday traveling! I’m also giving an immense focus to my personal mental health and making that a main priority. Most excitingly, there are a ton of new opportunities flooding in that I’m excited to venture off into in the entertainment and advocacy world.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I think I could live on sushi and Japanese food.
And your favorite cheat food?
Depends on the day but the most consistent cheat meal I love is a grilled cheese. Shoutout to Delilah on Saturday night after a few tequila shots!
What is your own definition of happiness?
Freedom. To me, freedom and being able to live however you prefer is ultimate happiness. Freedom in being able to recognize anxious thoughts and redirect them to something more positive and productive. Financial freedom –to make your life however you want it to be. Nothing tied down and stuck to something.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet my grandmother on my mom’s side. I’m named after her and from what I’ve heard, she was the glue that kept the family upright and strong. She was chic, extremely stylish and always knew what she wanted.
Best advice ever given?
Do everything you can in this life despite the fear of how it might turn out. Personally, I never want to be on my deathbed wishing that I said more, tried more, thought less and lived my life to the fullest.
Do you support any charity or any you are looking to become involved with?
Yes! I have been supporting the Mental Health Foundation of the UK with a fundraiser in my Instagram bio. I am also working with my team to join anti-bullying foundations for children and adults alike, women’s support groups, supporting brain research for mental illness and more.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I would like to amplify my voice and be a go-to person mental health awareness. I want to grow my platform to be the light in even more people’s lives!
Favorite song? Why?
Due to recent life experiences, my summer anthem has been “hot girl bummer” by blackbear. You can find me driving around LA screaming “f*** you and you and youuuuu!”.
What do you think of Social Media?
I love social media because of the positives. It can be a such a great outlet for people to be themselves and showcase their personalities, skills and talents. It’s also a fabulous platform to bring awareness to social and worldly matters. In addition to the highlights, it can also be an extremely toxic place where people gang up to tear others apart. What really doesn’t sit well with me is all of these trolls making comments on someone else’s appearance. Everyone is unique and beauty/looks don’t have to be a main focus. If you have the time to write rude comments, I will personally help to find you a therapist or we can figure out a healthier hobby.
Where we can follow you?
Book: I love escaping into Liane Moriarty’s world of mystery. I am always kept on my toes until the end of the books and then I stay in shock for days. They also all take place in Australia which is one of my favorite places.
Quote: “Expect the unexpected”
Movie: I’m a sucker for a romcom especially anything starring Kate Hudson so How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Something Borrowed, you name it
Tv Series: Hands down Sex and the City, I was raised on it and have it playing in the background a lot of the time that I’m home or falling asleep
Favorite Food: Sugarfish by Nozawa has my heart
Travel Destination: This is so hard because I’m stuck between jungle life and sexy European life
Sports Team: What are those? *laughs*
Photo Credit: @itsadamm