Meet Ashley Bush, a recent Barnard graduate with an insatiable desire to capture life experiences through a camera lens. Her interest in people and culture led her to pursue a career in documentary films. We caught Ashley in between trips to Tyler, Texas, where she is currently working on a documentary with Stick Figure Productions about the Tyler Rose Festival. Ashley chatted with Levo about her love for Little Rascals, interviewing strangers, and having Barnard President Deborah Spar as a mentor.
Bonus: Be sure to read Ashley’s inspiring article on The Liberian Women’s Sewing Project, a new garment factory aimed at employing women.
Current city: New York
Education: Barnard College; English Major, Film Minor.
Company/Job Title: Producer at Stick Figure Productions.
Before this job: I co-produced a web series with a good friend, Raffi Sapire, on inspirational professional women, while working as a research assistant for Deborah Spar, President of Barnard College, on her new book (coming out September 2013).
Style icon: People on the street in my neighborhood, Soho. I am continuously inspired by my fellow fashionable New Yorkers.
Staple pieces to splurge on: Comfortable heels, white button down, and black or tan cashmere sweaters.
Favorite store for bargain pieces: Club Monaco has great sales for young professionals.
What bag do you carry to work and what are the essential items inside? My FEED bag – preferably the FEED Kenya bag if I don’t have to lug a lot. Essentials include: my laptop, my headphones (they happen to be a fun turquoise color), and Clarins’ chap stick/lip gloss combo stick.
Did you always imagine pursuing a career in documentary filmmaking?: I’ve always loved the entertainment world. When I think back to my childhood, there are certain films that define the various stages of my life: Little Rascals, Thelma and Louise, Ordinary People. I love the idea that no matter where you come from, no matter what your background is, film has the power to be that common denominator, that shared experience. Film helps us to tolerate life’s mysteries.
Most inspiring documentary you’ve seen?: My all time favorite documentary is Bombay Beach. A beautiful, heart-wrenching documentary by Israeli director Alma Har’el. If you can believe it, she shot the whole film on a Canon Vixia (which costs like $600 at Best Buy!). It is absolutely beautiful, I highly recommend it.
Currently reading en route to work: I walk to work and listen to podcasts. I am in love with ‘The New Disruptors” podcast series by Mule Radio Syndicate.
Workout regimen: Yoga or a nice long run on the West Side Highway.
Favorite restaurant: Joseph Leonard in the West Village.
Best piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to fail. Gem of advice from Reshma Saujani.
Career role model: Two fellow Barnard ladies. Barnard President Deborah Spar has always been an inspiration. I do not know HOW she does it all, and still finds time to ask about my day. And Barnard alum Binta Brown because she always provokes me to approach situations from a different, non-conventional angle.
In 10 years: Our world is changing so vastly; especially in the media/entertainment world there is so much room for innovation. I can’t wait to see where the next 10 years will take me!
Words of wisdom for young professional women: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life will work out!