Ashley Outrageous: Blogger and “Curator of Cool” | Brooklyn, NY
Interview by Atoosa Moinzadeh Photography by Quan Brinson Ashley wears Last Resort Two Tone Button Up
Originating from Miami, Ashley Outrageous! has made her mark as an influential hip-hop and lifestyle personality since launching her blog in 2009. At the age of 26, she’s worked with big names like Top Dawg Entertainment (T.D.E.) Nike, Reebok, and Beats By Dre. She’s creating paradise by breaking industry barriers and building her brand as a do-anything, try-everything blogger.
I was one of those kids that tried everything growing up. I made movies, I breakdanced, I tagged Jansport backpacks and made mix CDs for my friends—I was always finding ways to share my creativity with others. But I think I found my spark when my friend Omi introduced me to blogging. Back in 2010, there wasn’t much going on in Miami. There were a few blogs and radio artists making guest appearances, but nothing “cool” was going on. I found myself wanting to change that. So while I was in school for graphic design and still building my blog, I went to SXSW for the first time and did 15 interviews in 3 days, on my own. I came back and realizedthat I could pursue this—I had a feeling I could do well, so I took the plunge and quit school.
I started using platforms like Twitter to set up and promote shows—I wanted my city to have access to the things other cities did. I booked Curren$y and Dom Kennedy for their first Miami show, and people from Orlando, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and other cities all over Florida to drove down to see them. Now in 2016, underground artists like Joey Bada$$ and the Flatbush Zombies are hitting Miami with their tours, and it’s crazy to think that in just a few years, I opened the doors and laid out the blueprint for that.
I gradually became a big fish in a small pond, but I was getting too comfortable in Miami. If I stayed there, I would’ve been limited. Moving to New York in 2014, I knew I had to start all over again in such a huge city. I rebranded my website, and decided I didn’t want to be limited to just hiphop music blogging anymore. I started blogging about other genres, and even broke into food, travel, sneakers, you name it, because there are so many worlds I want to explore and tie back to my love for music. I don’t want to just travel, I want to globetrot. My dream is to travel for 3 months and write about different music scenes and artists around the world.
Everyone has that moment in life when they realize they’re their own person, doing their own thing. The whole “staying in your lane” thing is all over the place, and it’s an Internet world thing. There’s some days where I feel boxed in and want to quit. But I’m on this route, and right now I’m trying to figure out how I can innovate myself, what I can do different. It’s important to me to always stay true to my brand—I can miss out on a check. I never post or wear things I don’t like. I say no to campaigns. I can’t just take a check because it’s a check. My followers and my fans pay attention and know what I like—sometimes they’ll email me a compliment or share what they’re working on. And I’m engaged with them, too. It’s stuff like that, knowing that I’m inspiring people, that keeps me going.
"I’ve never forgotten the genuine relationships—the people that have helped me along the way and given me opportunities."
I remember meeting Big Sean when he was first opening with Mike Posner, at a college show in a small room, back when few people knew who he was. Looking at where he is today, he’s never changed on me once. Last year, at a listening session in New York, I remember him walking in through a thick crowd with his security, and he stopped in that moment to give me a hug and asked how my mom was! Moments like that stick with me. My dream is to pay all of them back, treat all of them to something—they look out for me and I lookout for them. That is the epitome of my paradise.