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Ashley Klinger: “Don’t change who you are to fit a mold”

I can’t stress enough how vital the arts are to people of all ages. It is an outlet to express feelings and thoughts in ways they never thought were possible. Art unites, motivates, helps us think outside of the box, and so much more. It is vital to our mental health and not celebrated and […]

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I can’t stress enough how vital the arts are to people of all ages. It is an outlet to express feelings and thoughts in ways they never thought were possible. Art unites, motivates, helps us think outside of the box, and so much more. It is vital to our mental health and not celebrated and supported as is deserves.


As a part of our interview series with the rising stars in pop culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Klinger.

Ashley is an actor, model, and dancer pursuing a career on Broadway, TV and film in New York City. She has performed around the world on national tours, appeared on Law and Order SVU, Love and Other Drugs, in commercials including Victoria’s Secret, modeled for MAC, L’Oréal Cosmetics, and the Ziegfeld Follies, and even surfaced a viral YouTube video of her own to name a few.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I am a fourth generation ballet dancer so dance has always been in my blood and theater, acting, and modeling are natural progressions in performing.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I had a joint YouTube account with four other friends and I posted a video to share with them while I was stuck in the airport overnight in a snowstorm. Things progressed rapidly and the video turned viral. I was on all news outlets, the front page of a major Italian newspaper, and t-shirts with my photo on it. It really goes to prove anything can happen even if it is not a part of your “plan.”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was fortunate to book my first national tour before completing college. I learned a lot on the road but assumed the next job would come just as easily. I was naive to think I could land the next job without having to put in my time auditioning.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Unfortunately it is not safe enough to perform and my last two jobs have been cancelled. I am a believer that everything happens for a reason and I have had a lot of time to take care of my body and spend with my family in Ohio. I continue to take weekly voice lessons, became a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, and am currently learning ASL to one-day become more involved in the deaf theater community.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

Baayork Lee is a legend in A Chorus Line history. She was in the original cast and her story was portrayed in the show. I have so many stories of her through the years. She has so much passion and love for the show and has been performing in or passing it down to others since its inception in 1975. She is only 4’10” and has more energy than most dancers in the room and her famous tagline is “eat nails.” It is both intense and inspiring working with a Broadway legend like her.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

It is always important to have something other than “the industry.” This includes hobbies, family, and outside groups of supporters to keep you going as you progress through the hills and valleys of your career. Ultimately you have to want it for yourself because it can be a long and arduous road ahead.

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Adding to the statement above, there is no set path to success and it just takes one person to like you. Conversely there are so many people auditioning for a role that one “bad” audition is quickly forgotten by casting and other adjudicators. Being yourself is enough.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.

I am a big fan of a full nights sleep. Sometimes you are called to set in the wee hours of the morning or in tech rehearsals until midnight or later. I feel best when I can move my body and love my Peloton so I can squeeze in a workout if I do not have a chance to dance in studio. I also meditate for gratitude, anxiety, sleep, or just to scan my body which I find helpful living in such a hectic city with an ever-changing schedule.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

You have to experience everything on your own. You grow more through failure not success. Don’t change who you are to fit a mold. Find a way to say yes in as many situations as possible. Don’t do it for the money.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My dad says it best “Be a leader.” It is so simply stated yet so powerful and provides me with courage, motivation, and good decision making.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I couldn’t agree more and there are many people I could list. I constantly turn to my aunt Lori Klinger who is the epitome of a hard- working woman. She created Rosie’s Theater Kids from the ground up, and dedicates her life to providing the arts to underprivileged students. She has faced immense struggles overcoming cancer three times but would never pity herself for it. I live two blocks away and continually turn to her for advice both personally and professionally. She is my biggest supporter and will fly anywhere in the world to see my work.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I can’t stress enough how vital the arts are to people of all ages. It is an outlet to express feelings and thoughts in ways they never thought were possible. Art unites, motivates, helps us think outside of the box, and so much more. It is vital to our mental health and not celebrated and supported as is deserves.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I am continually inspired by strong women in my industry as well as those who have moved into other creative outlets. For me, it is not about the biggest names, but the most inspiring people who continue to strive for greatness in whatever they set their minds toward. They all have passion in whatever they choose to do. Lori Klinger, artistic and executive director of Rosie’s Theater Kids, Susan Stroman, award winning choreographer and director, and Amanda Kloots, former Broadway showgirl turned entrepreneur are three of many role models I turn to for motivation and inspiration.

How can our readers follow you online?

www.ashleydklinger.com

IG: ashleydklinger

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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