Best lifestyle influencer

Ashley Newell

Ashley Newell.

Ashley Newell.

Photo courtesy of Christina Best Photography

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Don’t blend in. Stand out. That’s one piece of advice Ashley Newell lives by.

She’s what some would call a blogger or an Instagrammer, but the more popular term is influencer. Newell’s instagram account has more than 13,000 followers, loyal fans who visit her page to see photos of the vivacious and sunny mother-of-three doing everyday things such as playing with her kids and taking selfies in golden fields of sunflowers—and, of course, to see many mouth-watering shots of food.

For Newell, it’s a digital window into her world. “It’s so weird because ’lifestyle’ is an interesting niche,” Newell says. “Some people do all thrifting, all vegan, all whatever. I just took it really broad—this is my life.”

Since 2017, Newell has worked with mom-and-pop businesses throughout Sacramento, giving away gift cards to her favorite eateries and also helping raise money for local charities. Photos posted daily show her across the region—the Music Circus downtown, at a park near her Elk Grove home, in the middle of a lush vineyard—and she does it all wearing the cutest floral-print dresses imaginable.

Newell admits she’s not the “typical Instagram model,” but she also says that she wants women of all silhouettes to feel comfortable and confident living their best life.

“I’ve tried to lean into that a little bit more, and that’s been the most fulfilling is getting emails or messages from people who say, ’I thought I was alone in this,’ or ’I have a body like yours and now I feel like I can wear a dress too.’”

“It’s tremendously hard to be a woman, especially a woman on Instagram, to scroll through everyone that looks like a model and wonder, ’What do I wear?’ ’What do I do?’ ’I don’t look like that.’”

Even at her most glamorous, she too, has had her struggles.

“We don’t understand how much representation matters to people,” Newell says. “It’s hard, too, even as we’re embracing more plus-size bodies in advertising, but even then, I don’t see plus-size Asian women and I certainly don’t see women with my shape.”

In the end, she says it’s all about being yourself and embracing who you are.

“I’ve heard so many women say, ’I wish I could do that.’ You can! It’s OK,” she says. “It breaks my heart how often I hear, ’I wish I could wear a dress.’ ’I wish I could wear a jumpsuit.’ ’I wish I could show my arms.’ All of these things. You can—and you should.”