Meet the Muse: Ashley Johnson
Where are you from? Where are you now?
I was born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC and happily reside here still.
What is your passion/purpose?
Aside from being a documentarian, as I grow, I'm learning that I'm happiest when I'm giving life to new and innovative ideas—no matter the scale, and no matter who those ideas belong to. Being a creative is such a vulnerable discipline. My talent is being able to think creatively for others and I feel it is my purpose to give others the tools and confidence to reach beyond themselves and curate their best lives.
What/where/who inspires you?
I am primarily inspired by work ethic. When I see fascinating work that communicates effectively—both in subject and execution—I think about the hands that touched all the moving parts. I'm inspired by those hands. I'm a frequent Pinterest user. A few times per day I'm digesting good design and editorials. I'm inspired by the angle of light, early morning quiet and long drives where I can think and hash out ideas. I get my best ideas from conversations with myself.
How long have you been natural?
What does your hair mean to you? What has it meant to you in the past/throughout your life?
I'm a photographer who explores hair identity and lineage—sometimes with the use of textiles—so I think of Black hair as political, an object, a binding mechanism, a parable, a narrative and an anchor. In my past, my hair was an object that needed correcting, in my present life, it is a means to heal the generational misunderstanding of myself and other Black women.
If you could go back in time and meet yourself at any age, what age would that be? What advice would you give her?
I'll be honest, I can't remember the exact ages in my past, but I do remember generally being a reserved and strange girl haha. I would tell myself to stay weird, and that fear dissipates as soon as you try.
Who is your muse?
I never had a muse before recently found three: my nieces. They are 13, 11 and 9. I see myself in each of them. I love their genuine honesty and love for each other. I'm in love with their youthful navigation of this world.
- Sisterhood: Braids
- Authenticity: Pride
- Knowledge-of-Self: Determination
- Self-Love: Navigation
- Ownership: Lineage
Stay tuned next week for a conversation with another one of our muses, Delina Medhin.