We are excited and honored to bring to you the Woman, Empowered interview series. In this series, we'll feature the stories and wisdom of women who embody the self-love and social impact we at Wabi-Sabi Botanicals are so passionate about.
This week, our Woman, Empowered is Ashley Morgan, New York-based vegan blogger and passionate advocate for all things eco-living. Both unfailingly kind and strikingly beautiful, Ashley Morgan (also known as Ashley Morganic) is easy to love and offers regular peeks into her eco-loving life through her blog, Instagram, and on her YouTube channel. Ashley is especially passionate about veganism and encouraging others in their journey to health and heart-centered living. We've been lucky enough to interview this compassionate beauty as she touches on her personal journey to self-love, her advice for going vegan and more.
What is beauty to you?
Happiness and positivity. There is something so beautiful, inspiring, and contagious about a soul that just radiates genuine happiness and positivity. It lifts others up around us and has a domino effect. We need more of that in the world!
Have you always been comfortable in your skin? What has your journey to self-love looked like?
I think it’s safe to say we all have things about ourselves that we’re not happy with. Growing up I remember being very self-conscious about how pale I was, being “too skinny” and struggling with acne-prone skin. The lack of a natural golden tan led to me using tanning beds at a much younger age than I should have. Years later, I realized all the damage I was doing to my skin and I’ve been playing catch up to undo the sun damage ever since. I wish I'd had the confidence at that time to tell the buttheads at school that used to tease me for being too pale, “You won’t be making fun in 40 years when my skin is wrinkle-free!”
What inspired you to create Ashley Morganic?
In my last year or so of college, I got really into watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. I already had a mindset very focused on wellness and forward-thinking (I had already started using aluminum-free deodorant at that time and would buy a lot of my personal care products from local health-focused supermarkets.) But, for some reason, after watching these tutorials I wouldn’t think twice about rushing out to the store and picking up whatever makeup product it was that these YouTube gurus were using. I just stopped one day and thought what the heck am I putting on my face?! So I started doing a ton of research on the ingredients in conventional products vs. the powerful benefits of botanical ingredients and was absolutely appalled that these mainstream companies have the audacity to put such toxic ingredients into the products that they sell to us (all while testing on animals, too!)
So I hopped back onto YouTube to search for beauty gurus that were using natural & organic products and they were few and far between! I decided there was a gap there that I could fill by offering my reviews and opinions on the natural alternatives that I was trying. It was that realization that I had about toxic conventional beauty that played a big role in me choosing a vegan lifestyle. Once you understand that these big corporations are just after your buck and could care less about your health, it makes you rethink all of your buying choices. And now that’s what Ashley Morganic has evolved into - a platform for overall ethical living, from beauty to food to fashion to eco-consciousness.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be vegan or has attempted to be vegan, but has struggled?
Define your “why” and remind yourself of that daily! I have so many “whys” that all mean SO much to me that I know I will be vegan for life. For me, although it was nutrition that originally sparked my transition, it’s the animals that keep me going daily now. I couldn’t ever bring myself to give my $ to such a corrupt industry that is causing so much unnecessary evil, pain, and suffering in this world. And for what? To satisfy a craving for something that is just going to cause disease in our body? While simultaneously destroying our Earth? There are just too many reasons why vegan living makes sense, I think the real question would be...why not?
Also, your transition doesn’t have to be overnight. At the time I went vegan I actually never planned on “going vegan”. I slowly started learning about more and more things that I no longer wanted to support or put into my body, and next thing you know, I looked back and said... wait a minute, I’m vegan! (I guess sometimes that vegan life just sneaks up on ya!) It’s actually been proven that a gradual transition to veganism is more likely to stick long-term than an overnight switch.
How do you define self-care? How does self-care fit into your life?
Self-care can really be so many things. It can be as simple as taking a few moments out of your day to do a few deep belly breaths at your desk to reset your mind and body. Prioritizing sleep over our never-ending list of to-do's. Doing a social media detox. Meditating. Or it could be something a little more obvious like getting a great organic facial and massage. I always try to allow myself to spend money on things that I know will improve my well-being. The way that I look at it is - I don’t spend money on high-end shoes and bags, or cigarettes and alcohol, like most of the world. So if splurging on a few beauty potions or adaptogens or yummy vegan food is the worst I do, I think that’s pretty good! My absolute favorite (and free!) method of self-care is meditation. Huge fan of meditating!
What is your long-term vision for yourself and the Ashley Morganic platform?
To take over the world! ...Kidding, kind of! I just want to inspire as many people as possible. There's nothing that makes me happier than somebody reaching out and letting me know that I played a role in them going vegan or making a healthier lifestyle switch. It makes all of the effort that I put in SO worth it. If I can turn it into a business & make a living along the way, that would just be a bonus.
If you could stand on the peak of a mountain and say or shout one thing, that all of the girls and women in the world would hear, what would it be?
As women, we feel so much pressure to be so many things. Like somehow if we’re not super busy and doing a million things at once, we’re not living up to our fullest potential. (Oh and we, of course, are expected to always be beautiful and sweet in the process, too!) My best friend and I always talk about how sometimes we literally find ourselves forgetting to breathe! Deep meditative breaths have such healing benefits for our bodies. They ease anxiety, slow us down for a second, bring us back to center, and deliver much-needed oxygen into our blood. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, pause, take a few deep belly breaths, and remind yourself of all that you do.
Learn more about vegan and eco-living on Ashley's blog at www.ashleymorganic.com. You can also find her on YouTube, Instagram (@ashley_morganic) , and Facebook.