An Interview with Brand Strategist and Creative Director Ashley O'Neill
Today’s bitch is a FORCE. She’s achieved a lot in a short amount of time, she’s aggressively extroverted (my favorite kind!), and she can take a thrift store nightgown, pair it with 3-year old Zara pants and a loafer and look like the coolest girl you’ve ever met.
I met Ashley earlier this year when I traveled to New Orleans for a social media workshop at The Bakehouse. I learned actual real things from Ashley that have helped me with my clients, but more important, I learned how to have my picture taken. Goddess bless her, Ashley spent 2 days trying to teach me how to pose for pictures. Before I introduce her, read this piece on gingham she just wrote for LONNY (slide 13 is my fave). Meet today’s bitch, Ashley O’Neill!
What is your job title and where do you work?
Integrated Communications at KREWE, a New Orleans based, and culturally inspired, luxury eyewear brand. I also have a couple of branding and consulting clients on the side, as well as building this women-only club called The Commons.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Say yes and figure it out later.
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
You are in control of the delegation and protection of your time, your energy and your emotional capacity.
What is your greatest success, or something you’re most proud of related to what you do?
This is tough. I feel like I’m still in the stage where I turn around and I’m like, “Wow, that was shit.”
The first thing that came to mind was a candle-lit dinner party that I hosted in my backyard a couple of years ago where my good friend (a psychology major with a keen interest in wine) delivered a conversational wine tasting. We paired the wines with food you’d prep at home, like waffles with champagne and rosemary popcorn with chardonnay. It was really beautiful, and everyone asked a ton of questions in a really open, vulnerable setting on a cool fall evening. It was a night that I realized - if I have an idea, as long as I’m passionate and excited about it, I can make it happen.
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
Another tough one! I had the Headspace app but I am bad about remembering to use it — taking a Barre3, yoga or pilates class truly helps my mindset, and so does meditation. So does seeing friends and talking, talking, talking. I’m incredibly extroverted and love connecting with people.
Usually though, I work late and drink some wine while doing it and listen to music and then pass out around midnight. Sometimes the extra work is decompressing, sometimes it adds pressure.
What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?
That I just do Instagram. I think I “made a name” for myself in the social sphere but that’s just a little part of what I do!
What does self care look like in your life?
Truly taking the time to shower, wash my face (!!!!), exercise, do a facemask and SLEEP. When I am busy, my health (mental, physical) goes to the wayside. I could care less about me, and that’s something I’m working on.
How do you feel about social media?
It is how I got my career, and I’m thankful for that. I feel torn by it, because I love it and depend on it so much but also I hate it because it’s 24/7 all-consuming and can lead to terrible comparison habits. As a job, also, it can be so supplementary to the other things that are important and that I love doing — I think everyone’s relationship with it is strained or changing at this moment in time.
Are there any women who helped pave the way for your success?
There are so many women I owe my success to. From Ella Rose, who was my boss/mentor/friend when I started volunteering for New Orleans Fashion Week in my teens. Andi Eaton, who saw my potential and trusted me with a ton of projects no matter my age/experience. Sydney Blanchard, who will forever be my #1 business partner and best friend in this lifetime. Zoe Ganch and Mallory Estopinal, who started my career in social media when I was in college. Erin Wexstton. Joy Wilson, who - even though I was a lost, recent college graduate - became one of my first clients, a good friend and literally the best woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of working for. The list is endless.
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite podcast?