Ashley Pridgen Interview
Tell me about your handle on Twitter, Phoenix Beauty. How did you come up with that?
I actually didn’t come up with it. When I started modeling, it was in the MySpace days when everyone had a fake name. I tried for days to think up anything, but nothing was coming to me. I asked a friend to just make something up. Phoenix Beauty is what she came up with because she liked my only tattoo at the time, which was a phoenix. I was never a huge fan of the name because it makes me sound pretentious, but I never got around to changing it. I guess I don’t really give it much thought nowadays.
I see you have a significant other. Some guy named Nick Johnson. What’s the story with him? He looks like a very handsome musician or some sort of perfect thing like that.
*Swoon* “Perfect” is a pretty accurate observation. He is rather handsome and also a really great musician (which I was unaware of when I fell for him). He plays bass in a band called I Am The Sea and has a solo project called Sailor, 1942 where he plays about 20 different instruments and records everything himself. He is wonderful and he always makes me laugh and is just as goofy and spastic as I am. He’s opened my eyes to music like She & Him and Bright Eyes and has reintroduced me to outdoor activities. He read the entire Harry Potter series for me and is currently suffering through Lost because he knows how much I love it. We speak our own language made up of movie quotes and inside jokes. We are seriously perfect for each other. I should probably stop before this whole interview is me gushing about him. No one wants to hear that.
Are you one of THOSE Corgi people? I have to say, naming a Corgi Adonis is pretty funny. Did you do that?
I don’t know what you speak of, sir. I merely appreciate that Corgis are adorable and I want to squeeze them all. I got my little man when he was three months old and I named him Adonis after the Greek god of everlasting youth. I figured it was appropriate because Corgis always look like puppies. It was between that and Baskerville, but he was way too cute to have such a menacing name. He has a huge personality and is a pain in the ass. I love his little triangle face.
Looks like you’re an artist as well with some real cool pieces in your Facebook photos.
Favorite subjects? Medium?
These days, I paint a lot of commissions for people on Facebook. They range from Adventure Time to cartoon versions of horror movie villains. I just love making everything adorable. I find those pieces to be some of my favorites. I pretty much love anything relating to pop culture, especially if it is more cult classical (Goonies, Beetlejuice, Rocky Horror).
I almost always use acrylic paint. I’ve really tried to get into water colors but they just go everywhere and I get pissed and have to walk away. Oils take too long to dry and I don’t think I have the patience to wait. I’m like a child sometimes.
What’s a record with metal core?
Hahaha! I was at a thrift store in Tampa one day and I found about 15 giant records that were just lying on a shelf. I picked one up and noticed that the edge was chipped and the metal inside the record was exposed. The records were actually used in the IceCapades in 1954 and I guess they were so large that they had to be reinforced with metal. I knew they would be awesome to paint on so I bought them all for a $1 and used them for various projects.
Jeez. That’s a hard one. I honestly find inspiration in everything. Recently it’s been Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, Lost, and the Muppets. Tim Burton’s early movies and his personal art are pretty amazing as well. While all of these things inspire actual pieces of art, it is people like Jason Levesque (Stuntkid) and Tara McPherson that keep me striving to be better. Their work is just amazing.
When did you start painting?
I’ve been drawing and doing art projects since I can remember. I used to win awards in elementary school for art fairs. I remember being inspired by Jem and the Holograms, Fraggle Rock, and The Little Mermaid. I have always used art as an escape. I made my first paint-on-canvas attempt about 6 years ago and became immediately engrossed. I guess I just got lucky that people actually want to pay me for stuff.
Looks like you’re selling your work. That’s cool! Is there a place people can go to peruse more work and purchase?
All of my stuff is on my art page of Facebook: Cotton Candy Paradise.
My best friend Jessica and I created the page to sell our art and hopefully gain enough business to start donating most of the proceeds to various charities. It’s a pretty sweet page, if I can ring my own bell for a moment. We decorated it and I wrote most of the blurbs about us.
Is the Deviant Art Gallery a good representation of your modeling work as a whole?
Eh. Not really. I hate updating DeviantArt because each submission takes so much information in order to post it. I’m not that dedicated to showing off my modeling work. I even took pictures down recently because of some unsavory attention they were drawing.
Are you modeling these days?
Not really. I sort of grew out of it (not in a weight sense). I started when I was 21 and I had a blast dressing up and shooting with some really talented people. But I’m 26 now and I think it’s time for me to focus on my art, my relationships, and just being happy without having to worry about what other people think of the way I look. It was photographers like Ashley Bates, Scott Braun, and Ryan Thompson that really kept me going for as long as I did. They were always thinking of fresh ideas and really making the whole experience just a goofaround-hangout day. They rock.
It looks like you’re into helping out charities. Is there a charity that’s especially near and dear to your heart? Why do you like to help out in that way?
I am really passionate about pit bull rescue and the changing of laws regarding breed restrictions. These animals are so loyal and caring, but have been misused for horrible purposes. People falsely blame the animal that was abused and not the disgusting people who have committed the atrocious acts. It’s honestly sickening. I decided about a month ago that I am going to donate a portion of my profits to various pit bull organizations, both locally and at a higher level. I hate sitting around and waiting for things to change; I want to help.
Talk to me about the roses and clock tattoo? What inspired that?
Ahh, yes. The tattoo of the roses and the pocket watch is an homage to the films responsible for my love of clocks and time. The roses represent Alice in Wonderland, the pocket watch is from Peter Pan/Hook, and the time on the watch is when the clock tower was struck by lightning in Back to the Future. As you can see, I didn’t get out much as a child.
And, some fluff…
What do you do for fun?
Ugh. I hate when people ask this. I answer and then I feel like a huge loser. But I’ll oblige:
I love movies, probably more than I should. I have watched the new Muppet movie about a thousand times. I watch all the movies from my childhood repeatedly: Drop Dead Fred, Mary Poppins, Breakfast Club. I can quote Bridesmaids. Netflix is just as dangerous to my social life. I just became addicted to Breaking Bad. I love Home Movies. I’ll never tire of Archer or Arrested Development. I have a problem…
I also love to read, paint (obviously), surf Tumblr, go on motorcycle rides with Nick, go dancing in Orlando, walk down Cocoa Beach, people watch. I enjoy talking to people while waiting in line. I like to sit in my car when it rains. I love doing laundry. I’m pretty easily amused.
Best movie you saw recently?
I think the last movie I saw in the theater was Ted, and I laughed far too hard throughout the entire thing. Dumb humor will get me every time. So will Boston accents. Hilarious. And Mila Kunis is a fox.
Band you must absolutely see in person?
I have already crossed Billy Joel off of my bucket list. I’ve seen Aerosmith three times. I’d love to see Bon Iver, Panic! and Katy Perry again (judge all you want; the woman puts on an amazing show). I think the one person I would pay an obscene amount of money to see would be Garth Brooks. Everyone loves Garth Brooks.
Most embarrassing song on your iPod?
It would be better to ask if I had anything on my iPod that wasn’t embarrassing. I listen to a lot of crap. I have Ke$ha’s “Dinosaur,” Taco’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and “Space Jam” in the same playlist. I have some Florence and the Machine, Iron and Wine, and Billy Joel, but those don’t counteract all of my showtunes, Disney songs, and horrible 90s dance music. Jump Around!
Where do you live?
I’d rather not because I have stalkers…
Where are you from originally?
I’m from a tiny town in Florida that is driven by tourism. They just got a Starbucks last year if that tells you anything.
I have a younger brother who is too smart for his own damn good. He’s a little punk rocker kid who works in a bar and wears a kilt. He’s awesome. I also have a younger sister who is going to be a spy one day. She just hit her double-digits and is learning how to fly a plane and speak Russian. Crazy.
Theoretically, how interested, on a scale from 1 (not very) to 10 (very) would you be into a 41-year-old dude with male pattern baldness and a constant nasal drip, who lives in his mother’s basement? I’m talking romantically of course.
He sounds lovely, but I am happily taken. Call it a missed connection.
Is the world going to end this year?
Not even. If Nostradamus didn’t predict it, it isn’t true. Plus, I can’t die before I see the Great Gatsby on the big screen.
Do you ever Google yourself?
Not anymore. I learned my lesson when people started sending me links to forums where all people did was say horrible things about me. It was a bit disheartening, so I decided that actively seeking out such information wasn’t in my best interest.
How long did you model for Snorg Tees? When did you stop?
I worked with Snorg for two years. My last shoot was in January. People seem to think that there was bad blood or that they fired me or something like that. Not true. My work schedule changed and I was unable to make it to the shoots. I was also receiving a lot of…unwarranted attention from people on the internet. There was some pretty disgusting stuff and people pretending to be me. It was just too much. I still love everyone at Snorg. The photographer—Ryan Thompson—and I are good friends. It was just my time.
Do you still get recognized as the Snorg Tees model? (Those ads were like everywhere.)
I have only ever had two people recognize me in person: a coworker and a guy working at a vintage shop. I was shocked and had no idea how to react. I don’t think I’m a big deal. I wore t-shirts. Anyone can wear t-shirts.
Anything you would like to add? Shoutouts? Links?
My art page: http://www.facebook.com/cottoncandyparadise
Nick’s Solo Project: https://www.facebook.com/Sailor1942
Nick’s Band: https://www.facebook.com/iamtheseaofficial
Ashley Bates’ photography: https://www.facebook.com/LaserKittyGlitter
Scott Braun’s Photography: https://www.facebook.com/ScottBraunPhotography
Ryan Thompson (the Snorg Photographer): https://www.facebook.com/RMTPhoto
Ashley Pridgen Dossier
My aim is not to give you a leg up on stalking Ashley Pridgen. It is to give you a little more information about the model, who has done so many of the recent Snorg Tees offerings, so that as you’re fantasizing about her, you can have a more real experience. And, isn’t that what we all want…more detailed, emotionally rich fantasies and dreams in the comfort of our own mom’s basement?
No, I mean, give you a little glimpse into the real live person outside of the t shirt photoshoot.
Anyways, she did a little video for the Snorg Tees video channel, where she says her favorite shirt is I Pull Out. Yowzers. She quickly tries to change her mind, but we all know where she’s coming from. Especially, when you see the little peeling off of layers of shirts at the end.
Here she is as a zombie model:
What? You want more videos? Here’s Ashley’s Youtube channel.
Here is a nice outtake image from a tee shoot from RM Thompson’s flickr gallery. She seems to do modeling for more than just Snorg Tees, usually with dark funky make up and macabre ensembles. She does have a bit of a goth look about her. I wonder how hard that is to pull off in sunny Florida, where she lives.
She’s also on Twitter where she says she’s an English tutor, and freelance artist and model in Tampa, Florida.
Here is the Tumblr she links to from her Twitter profile called Truncated View.
Ashley Pridgen Gallery