What does body positivity mean to you?

To me, body positivity is loving your vessel fully for what it is. It is easy to get carried away and discouraged by societal body image. Body positivity is not only about loving yourself from head to toe, but about being kind to yourself and making a constant effort to speak lovingly and positively to yourself.

Have you always wanted to be a model? How did that deam transpire?

I have ALWAYS desired to inspire and impact the world in a large scale. I have always loved music, art, creativity, writing, dance, painting, pretty much anything that allows me to use my creativity.

Due to the many many years of self doubt, low self esteem, and insecurity, I didn’t even think modeling was something I could ever do. When I started my self love journey, I was inspired to share my results and confidence publicly.

I started to work closely with myself to become a better version of myself. I was deathly afraid of my body. I couldn’t even change in front of people. Through stepping out of my comfort zone constantly and becoming braver day by day, I slowly but surely built up the courage to do my first photo shoot.

The experience was INCREDIBLE and so empowering. I was so nervous the day before that I was going to cancel the shoot but I forced myself to do it anyway and it kick started my career as a model. I fell in love!

When was the last time you practiced self-care and why is self-care important to you?

Today. I practice self care EVERY DAY. Through small actions and sometimes bigger actions. Self-care is so important for my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

I neglected my self-care for such a long time because I put everything and everyone before me. Self-care is how I show myself that I truly care about me.

What’s something you’re currently working on that’s both super challenging and exciting?

Being an entrepreneur is extremely challenging and every journey I embark on is equally exciting and challenging. At the moment my career is growing in every aspect but I specifically want to see my music and modeling career skyrocket. I aspire to host seminars and do a lot more paid photoshoots as a freelance model.

What’s something you wish you could say to your 16 year old self?

You are loved. God loves you. You are not alone. Never have been, never will be. At this age, I was at my lowest. Struggling with eating disorders and substance abuse. I had almost thrown my entire life away and God saved me time and time again. Knowing what I know now, I would have used my shortcomings in the way I do now, then.

What’s something you’re working to unlearn?

Limitation. We are conditioned to believe that we cannot accomplish certain things. It has taken years to decondition any limiting beliefs about myself and it is still a daily struggle. I am constantly trying to unlearn that we can’t ALL be extremely successful.

Who do you go to when you’re needing support and guidance?

God first always through prayer and meditation. My mom, my best friends and closest family members.

What’s one challenge you face in your work that you’re still working on navigating?

Keeping my authenticity. In the industry I am in along with many other industries you are expected to fit a mold. My goal is to break those molds and stay forever true to myself, but it definitely is a challenge.

When was the last time you practiced self-care and why is self-care important to you?

Today. I practice self care EVERY DAY. Through small actions and sometimes bigger actions. Self-care is so important for my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

I neglected my self-care for such a long time because I put everything and everyone before me. Self-care is how I show myself that I truly care about me.


You were made perfectly and have been given everything perfectly in your favor, even the obstacles.

Ashley Pena

What’s something that’s been bringing you joy lately?

Life itself. Travel, family, the many little beautiful moments filled with love and laughter.

What’s something that’s been pissing you off lately?

The people that want to stay in your life even after they have mistreated you, and you have made it clear you don’t want to keep them around any more.

When was a time that self-doubt was at its worst for you while on your career and life journey?

The moments where I worked extremely hard and no matter my efforts, I found myself with a bank account that didn’t reflect it made me doubt myself and my ability to obtain and maintain success heavily. Not being able to provide for my family crushed me and gave me moments on not believing in myself.

What are your unshakable values and when did you become clear on them?

Put God first. Love and respect yourself and those around you. Love yourself and others unconditionally. Be true to yourself no matter what you are offered. I became clear on these values throughout my self love journey and over the past three years live by them religiously.

Who are a few amazing people that we should follow and why?

These women are so inspiring and their stories are incredibly powerful. They inspire me every day.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone struggling with self-doubt and feeling like giving up on their dreams?

We all struggle with this, you are not alone. We have all been taught and conditioned to doubt our potential but with God’s guidance and unconditional love, there is nothing, NOTHING, you cannot do.

You were made perfectly and have been given everything perfectly in your favor, even the obstacles. Appreciate them and force focus on how magnificent you truly are and were meant to be.

It’s years in the future. You’re on stage to accept an award for your life’s work.  What’s your five word acceptance speech?

Nothing is impossible with God.

Imagine that all your life’s work disappeared and you only had 1 minute to tell the world what you truly believe to be true. What would you say?

The truth is, we are all here to experience all of it. Love, hate, joy, sadness, anger, peace, freedom, sweet, sour, hot and cold.

We do not have to do anything more or less than that. We are spiritual beings living in a physical body to experience. So, experience.

Learn more about Ashley + connect!

Ashley Pena is a 23 year old, Puerto Rican/Dominican self love influencer, model, and mind body soul life coach born and raised in Miami. She packed her car and drove across the United States to California to pursue her dreams, find and follow her true purpose. Through taking many leaps of faith, she beat statistics, broke molds, and transforms lives on the daily. Instagram. Twitter.

Published by Sinclair P Ceasar III

Sinclair Ceasar is a speaker, podcaster, and higher ed professional committed to helping people live a better story, and be more hopeful. He sends weekly inspirational emails to over 1K readers each Monday. Email him at hello@thesapronextdoor.com or connect with him via Twitter @Sinclair_Ceasar

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