Every now and then, you meet people who are total life-changers. They are the ones you almost hate to love because they are loved by everyone for the right reasons. Whether it is their warm and engaging personality that make everyone in the room feel loved, their ability to connect with individuals of all backgrounds and cultures, or their contagious big-dream, ‘get-it-done’ attitude.
One of my core motivations for starting Finding Renaissance was to highlight individuals who are game changers…people who immediately affect your life and embrace themselves for who they are. I’m a firm believer that we have to own who we are and strive to become “more human” and complete every single day. The next few posts will highlight amazing individuals I’ve met through my travels and stays in different cities.
When I met Ashley Hart, a recent graduate from the University of Oregon, I knew that she was the game-changer in life you don’t want to miss out on. Ashley is the Steph Curry and Summer Finn of reality, the person who does things the right way but her way, not being limited by cultural or social norms but through a dedicated passion to being her own self.
From the first time we took shots of Patron were able to spend some time together, I knew Ashley is the type of person to rally around, follow, and include in my own life. Her positive vibes, competitive attitude, and contagious spirit have made an immediate impact in my life. Read on to get to know Ashley!
Finding Renaissance: Ashley Hart
Name: Ashley Hart
University/Area of Study: University of Oregon; Lundquist College of Business, Marketing
Current Location: Eugene, OR -> Los Angeles, CA
Restaurant/Food: Mexican food, or a really good Cheeseburger
Coffee: Americano with Honey
Color: Green…like tree green. Wait does black count?
Hobby: Working out, hip-hop, blogging, finding new music, being completely random and spontaneous, dancing around my house, driving at night, good conversations, and photography.
Profile on IG: Mitchell Phun (@mitchellphun) is an incredible photographer, I love his stuff. Super inspiring. I’m also obsessed with Tim Kellner (@timtothewild) – he’s up and coming and going to do huge things; my friend Tyler Heth (@prsxm) who has great style and skill, and FuckJerry (@fuckjerry) because I tag my best friend Hannah Romick (@hromick) in just about everything they post.
TV Show/Movie: Friends is my favorite. I’m so lame, I laugh at everything on that show. I also love the Kardashians (I know…) and anything on ESPN.
Clothing Line: Oh lord. That’s hard. I love throwing random things together. I just love urban destroyed. That’s the look, like I didn’t really try that hard, my clothes are tattered, my hair’s a mess but I’m still chic.
Artist/Music Genre: Hip-Hop, anything I can dance to. Dancing is a lifestyle for me. Also remixes, R&B and herbal flows.
First off, congratulations on graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Business – Marketing. What led you to pursue that degree? Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Wow, thank you, I appreciate it. I don’t know what exactly led me but when I started at University of Oregon I was well aware of their strength in the business program, and I loved the idea of being my own boss so I decided to choose that as my field of study. It’s not necessarily something I’ve always wanted to do, but I love, love, love people – so choosing marketing was easy. I have a minor in health science and psychology, and I love talking with people and trying to figure out why they do what they do and that goes back to marketing.
You are one of the busiest people I know, working multiple jobs this summer while finishing a summer course up. A lot of people would have taken easier routes and simply gotten by, but you really dedicated yourself to getting ahead. What inspires and motivates you to work this hard?
I don’t know what it is, I think I just manage life better on a busy schedule. I cannot stand being still…something I actually have to pray about because I have a tendency to take on WAY more than I’m capable of. My dad is probably the best role model of this – he would work non-stop, coach, come home and work more…he’s absolute goals. I’ve learned nothing negative comes from working hard, so I’m dedicated to it.
I believe anything can happen so we shall see what unfolds for me next.
So you’re currently in Eugene, what’s next?
Yes! I’m currently in Eugene, in fact my mom came today and helped me move out my stuff though because I’m moving to California in a few weeks! It’s going to be crazy. I have no idea what’s next but I’m absolutely stoked to embark on the journey. I believe anything can happen so we shall see what unfolds for me next.
What do you want to do in California? Is that somewhere you could see yourself staying forever?
Man, my heart is always on the move but I really love the lifestyle of California. I’m so weird, the other day I was Facetiming my good friend and she had that Orange County style tile house…my heart just blew up in love. I love the idea of warm days all year round and good surf. It’s good vibes every time I’m near the beach and I’m super about it. I could live that life forever.
What’s the first thing you want to do when you get to The Golden State?
First thing I want to do…hmm that’s hard. Honestly, I want to visit all the friends I couldn’t visit when I lived in Oregon. I have some good friends in San Diego, Huntington, Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, and family everywhere…I want to just take it all in and see everyone.
On that note, are you going to become a diehard Warriors or Lakers fan?
Hahaha I’m such a sports fan and I’m sure I’ll jump on one of the bandwagons…honestly wherever I end up — whether that be San Francisco or Los Angeles — I’ll be attending a lot of games so yes, I’ll be a little band wagoner wherever I end up.
From the times we have hung out, the one thing I have noticed is that you genuinely love people and they reciprocate that. When you’re meeting people and interacting, what drives you to be authentic towards others in our world of swipe left and swipe right?
Oh man, I love people so much. I think for me, I’ve always thought that every single person and encounter has something to offer. A person can learn something from every single person they meet and I genuinely believe every person was placed in my path for a reason – so when I meet somebody new I really want to pour my heart into them, you know? I love to encourage, I love to laugh, and I really love to have good conversations with genuine loving people…so for me, it’s just easy to find ways to connect with somebody and love them for their uniqueness.
Most people have dreams but they don’t necessarily make them a reality. You’re the kind of person who puts herself in a position to succeed. What are your biggest life motivations? What are your current dreams you are working towards?
Biggest life motivations…gosh these are such good questions. I guess for me I just never say never. How Justin Bieber of me right? Kidding…but seriously I believe anything is possible. I never tell myself “no” – if I want something I’m going to go after it until God closes that door. That’s how I motivate myself: I just refuse to give up. I really want to live on the beach for a few years so that’s a dream I’m working towards, I’d love to also be involved in a music festival at some point, do music video work, get into photography, blog and travel, coach soccer, be passionate about a job I love, become a fitness trainer, and ultimately just shape myself into the most diverse, randomly talented, cultured person I can.
Who are your biggest inspirations in life?
My Daddio for sure. My parents in general (my mom is a rock star no doubt) but my Dad is just always on another level like I mentioned above. He’s amazing.
While you are someone who is one of the most authentic and loving that I’ve met, I know you’re also a passionate and have strong opinions. What do you hate/what are things you want to change in our world?
I don’t really HATE anything. Let me think here. I got it…I hate, HATE. Like when people just hate on other people and are negative. I don’t do negativity I honestly cannot live with it. Always a positive in a negative, glass is always half full. I can’t stand pity parties. Like let’s go people, get up, get going, create yourself and stop crying.
What/who do you love?
I love genuine friendships, family, a good cup of coffee, raindrops, big sweatshirts, cuddling, camping, dancing, fellowship, sunshine, surfing, THE OREGON DUCKS!!!, football, athletics, writing, snowboarding, spontaneity (my life is literally the best random adventure) …I honestly love everything. I love cereal and bananas, the ocean, dancing like crazy, traveling…I’m so weird everything is great to me, I could go on forever.
You’re all about Dutch life (at least from your Snaps) …what makes it your favorite place to get coffee?
It’s like a family there! I love it. I’ll crawl out of bed in the morning on the way to the gym and be half awake and I just feel like I’m walking into the kitchen pouring myself a coffee when I go through. Shout out to Dutch Bros Coffee, they’re doing it right. So dang friendly.
What is one of the “little” things that make you happy?
SO many things make me happy. That’s so hard. But honestly fresh air, some down time to write about my thoughts and breathe, waves hitting the shore, the smell of pine, lying in bed talking with my best friends, sunshine warming my skin as I sit on my hometown front porch and swim in the Oregon air…that’s happiness right there.
What are some highlights from your senior year that you’re going to always look back on?
TOO MANY TO MENTION. Oh man. Let me just fire them: Coachella, football, nights out with friends, boys’ basketball during March Madness; being as spontaneous as possible, graduation day with some of the best people ever…too much happened, it’s hard to recall it all. Living with some amazing young ladies…it was a phenomenal year, I really felt like I flourished this year. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Obviously college is a huge time of growth and personal development. What are some of the key lessons you’ve learned and some of the biggest changes you have seen in your life?
I learned how important it is to have faith. This is a recent one for me actually. I grew up in a Christian household and when I went to college I did a lot of things my way. I now realize just how crucial faith was to my life, and how important it is to have faith in the process – that God really knows what He’s doing, and I have to give Him everything ultimately to become the best person I can be.
Another HUGE lesson for me was to see how important it is to have genuine friends over anything else. I rather have 3 genuine friends that I can count on for anything than 100 friends that aren’t true. That’s key. My grandma once told me that if you can have 5 friends that you could bet your life on, you are set for life. So, for me this past year, I really tried to make best friends with and spend the most time with people who genuinely wanted what was best for me and that cared about me. That’s so key. Who really cares about popularity in the long run? I rather have genuine and authentic over popular any day.
Go out, taste the world for yourself, love with a whole heart, live on the edge, be spontaneous, kiss that boy/girl, fall in love, and be positive
If you had to give a life advice statement to a stranger, what is the one thing you want others to know that you’ve learned from your life?
Remember that there’s something better than all this – that at the end of the day life is so much more than what we see. I’d say something along the lines of “Embrace every day for what it’s worth and remember who you are.” Never let people shape you, or change the way you look at things. Go out, taste the world for yourself, love with a whole heart, live on the edge, be spontaneous, kiss that boy/girl, fall in love, and be positive…remember that life is short and your choices will make a difference. In shorter terms, go out there and kick ass, love the heck out of people, and seize the day baby. I dare you.
About Matt Fier and Finding Renaissance: I'm a former Bible-school grad with a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Biblical Studies. I've lived in six cities in six states since 2009, and had a lot of adventures. I'm now searching for The Renaissance in all of us. You can learn more here.