2011-12 Luvabulls: Meet Ashley
What people do you admire the most and how have they supported or inspired you as a dancer?
Besides my parents and stepdad, who inspire me every day, the one person that I admire a great deal is Lance Armstrong. He is a cancer survivor and 7 time Tour de France Champion. His determination to follow his dreams, no matter what obstacles he faces, is truly inspiring. He is someone who is physically fit and works extremely hard to accomplish his goals. Lance Armstrong continuously inspires me to reach my goals (in not only dancing, but life) and never give up.
ï¿½Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.ï¿½ - Lance Armstrong
Describe the feeling of performing at a Bulls playoff game.
Performing at a playoff game is one of the great experiences of my life. Before I even walk into the United Center, I can feel the energy from all of the excited Chicago fans. Everyone waits in anticipation for the game.
As I walk into the arena, game mode sets in. This is our house, bring it on. I go out and practice with the rest of my team, remembering this could be someone's one chance to watch a Bulls game. So I need to make sure I'm performing at the best level I can. Then I head upstairs with my other teammates to meet and take pictures with all the excited fans. People are so ecstatic and tell us they now have a new Facebook profile picture! It is an amazing feeling to be a part of something that makes other people so happy.
Finally, it's game time. I walk out onto the floor with my other teammates for the National Anthem. This is the moment when I look around and tell myself to take it all in and enjoy every moment. Then the Bulls' opening song comes on. I get chills every time I hear it. The place goes dark, my white pom poms are lit and it's time to go. It is during starting line up when I'm looking out into the crowd that I think about how truly grateful I am to be a part of this amazing organization.
When the game begins I'm surrounded by teammates, fans and camera crew. During the playoffs last year all 25 of us danced together. The feeling of dancing with everyone on the team makes me feel an even greater positive energy than normal. We are all in this together. The 23,000 screaming fans bring an even greater adrenaline rush during the game. I love watching the fans get involved to songs like YMCA or Whoomp There It Is. I go out there and give it everything I have no matter how many double or triple overtimes we go into.
It such a thrill to be up close to all the action and excitement during the game. There is nothing like a playoff game. I will never forget the feelings that I get performing at one.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date and where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My proudest accomplishment to date is helping all of the charities I began working with during my reign as Miss Illinois USA. I currently work with a great deal of them and am proud of being able to help them accomplish their goals.
In 10 years, I would like to be a world renowned fitness expert and television host.
How has your dancing experience led you to this point?
I have had a variety of dance experiences that I believe led me to becoming a Chicago Luvabull. I began studio dancing at the age of 2 in the areas of tap, jazz and ballet. In high school, I wanted to be a part of the sports action. As a result, I moved on to being a member of the Pom team where I was captain my senior year.
I continued performing at the collegiate level as a member of the Illinettes, the official dance team of the University of Illinois. I had the privilege and honor to be named one of the team captains my junior year. After graduation, I worked for Walt Disney World Resorts and danced in their "Celebrate the Seasons Show" at Magic Kingdom.
This is my fifth season as a Chicago Luvabull and there is no doubt the previous 4 years have helped me grow as a performer and dancer. I believe all of these experiences have led me to this point. I look forward to another rewarding and exciting season.
What is your claim to fame - besides being a Luvabull?
Appearing in a national television commercial with Mike Ditka and being named Miss Illinois USA 2009.
What do you do for a living?
I am an independent personal trainer. I develop plans, motivate and guide my clients to help them reach their fitness goals. I also write a fitness blog, Body By Bond, which focuses on fitness tips and fitness events in Chicago.
I am also the host of the POWERADE ZERO Fit Club. We hold complimentary (preparatory) training events for fitness competitions and events in the city. In addition, we encourage people to have fun and get active! You can check out all these events via www.facebook.com/POWERADEZERO or www.chicagonow.com/body-by-bond as we introduce you to some of the most unique and exclusive fitness challenges Chicago has to offer.
What does being a member of the Luvabulls mean to you?
Being a Luvabull means a great deal to me on many different levels. But one of the things that I love about being a Luvabull is it gives me the chance to stay physically fit and active doing what I love. As a personal trainer I know it is important to find activities that you enjoy. Being a Luvabull allows me to dance with amazing ladies in one of the greatest sports cities in the world.