Who’s Miss Ashleigh?
Guns, nudity, tattoos, 916’s loudest voice— meet Miss Ashleigh
There are artists in this big, dirty, confusing city who seem to have it all figured out. They hold their heads up high, never doubting their purpose, living as if De La Soul’s “Ego Trippin’ (Pt. 2)” was written solely for them. One of those inimitable souls is Sacramento’s Miss Ashleigh.
She’s a co-host of the Distillery’s Thursday night hip-hop/poetry event with Chuck Taylor, Blee and DJ Epik. She can rhyme, yes, but can’t really sing. But no matter: Miss Ash walks by looking so fancy you instantly wonder what she’s about, what she’s thinking, where she’s goin’. To avoid speculation and the agony of curiosity, I’ll try to capture her essence in words. But it’s not going to be easy.
You hear Miss Ash before you see her. Usually, she’s yelling at someone—“Get your life together!” Her voice is gruff and distinctive as she spouts off about various things she “gangbangs” for (or things she’s jonesin’ for or wants to represent). For example, she once said she was “gangbangin’ for orange soda.” A bit much, you ask? Well, yeah, now you’re getting it.
Her appearance matches her boisterousness. She’s known for wearing revealing attire: colorful, very low-cut dresses and leopard-print bras. Around her neck are silver or gold chains, which resemble street-fight weaponry more than accessories. Personalized gold and white bamboo hoops droop from her lobes; white-gold-and-diamond bottom fangs and blood-red lipstick contrast her lovely smile. Miss Ash’s body is a virtual arsenal: tattoos of Doc Holliday’s 1910 Navy revolvers cascading the length of her arms and hands, brass knuckles, knives (I learn later that she has matching .357s on her stomach).
Miss Ash can jaw about anything, so it’s no surprise then that she’s on the Sacramento Slam Team, where her passion for wordplay and magnetic personality truly shine. She’s won countless poetry slams, and her brutal, eloquent, honest delivery is highly respected among the slam scene.
When she’s not on stage yelling at people about guns, cash or having no feelings, Miss Ash is a model (or as she likes to say, “reppin’ for the big girls”). Earlier photos show a more refined Miss Ash: She’s nude, but her body’s tattooless—harmless, innocent (well, as innocent as someone lying naked on a bed can be). Recent photos reveal a darker side, however, with more tattoos, more makeup, more artillery. She claims that none of the photos are pornographic and that she simply models to “bring the big bitches back!”
For all Miss Ash’s freewheeling outlandish behavior, you might suspect a self-righteous, arrogant woman. But that’s only part of the story; she fears disappointing her family and closest friends. “I’m only insecure when I feel [they’re] not proud of me. I want the people who truly associate with me to be able to rep me,” she explains.
“Other than that, I have no shame and I think people worry too much about what other people think. Everybody is just so goddamned worried. Don’t care. Just do whatever you want; you’ll go so much further in this life if you do.”
“She’s an outlaw,” says Jaime DeWolf, who wrote and directed Smoked, a film about a couple of gutter punks who rob a cannabis club, which stars Miss Ash. She plays a “topless gangsta bitch who points a .45 at guys,” to use her words.
“I basically punk dudes and point guns at people’s faces, which is one of my favorite things to do anyway.”
DeWolf recalls a time they were in Oakland smoking weed in a car and a crackhead got close enough that they were both scared he was going to try and rob them. “I looked down and she had a gun in her hand. That motherfucker almost just got shot,” he said.
Smoked, which debuts in a few months, is a “crazy, insane crime caper,” says DeWolf, adding that “she’s also shirtless the entire scene, so—”
Who’s that girl? OK, you get the point.