From registered nurse, to fashion model, to blogger, to film director – how do you accomplish that? Beautiful Ashley Beloat, with her high-energy and dynamic personality, fill us in on some of her own secrets in accomplishing whatever it is you set your mind to. Ashley decided to break all molds when she partnered last year with Eli Meyer Studio in Gainesville, Florida to create an emotionally charged short-film about a marriage that is faced with overcoming a struggle most of us hope to never encounter ourselves. The young married couple, deeply in love, show us how their relationship evolves and transforms after the husband receives the brutal diagnosis of lung cancer, at such a young age. The film is in post-production stages now, and once completed and released, will show us “what goes on behind closed doors” in these situations, as Ashley put it.

Ashley Beloat not only brought the project to life as its film director, but also as its casting director, costume designer and location scout – anyone involved in film-making can appreciate the amount of hard work and effort she put into making this film happen. But Ashley doesn’t mind the hard work. In fact, she says

“Failure is knowing inside that you did not give 100%.”

Ashley’s mentality is what drives her to excellence in everything she does. She’s not interested in just showing up and doing the bare minimum expected of her – whether that be at her nursing job, a photo-shoot, a fashion event, a fundraising non-profit event, or the shoot of a film – She goes above and beyond what’s expected of her in every occasion by studying in depth everything she can prior to the event. She researches, reads articles and books, takes advice from other professionals and mentors, practices, practices and then practices some more until she knows she has learned all she can to be prepared. “I often ask myself – How far have you pushed yourself? Did you grow? Did you improve? Grow stronger? Acquire a new skill?” she says, as she explains to me that she studied not only posing and angles for models, but also skills and knowledge normally left to the photographers to deal with, such as lighting.

Ashley Beloat began modeling when a friend photographer of hers asked her to step in front of the camera. At first, she was reluctant, suffering from self-image issues and a lack of confidence in herself. After giving it some thought, she realized that she did not want her complexes “to rule her life” and define what she could and couldn’t do. “I realized my flaws are not that big of a deal; I was tired of feeling like I had something to hide.” she says with frankness, opening herself up to me and all the readers.

But this down-to-Earth girl with a caring heart who says she loves “nature hikes, sunsets, and clouds” as a genuine smile spreads across her face, has always known that she also loves “the art of performing.” In fact, her first job was in a nursing home for patients with dementia, where she loved “playing pretend with the residents” to bring some joy and laughter into their lives.

Her main drive in all of her work is to “make people feel something. To make people stop, and focus on that one show or image, change their perspective or feel something, or think of something differently than before” she explains. This perspective of hers might help to explain why she chose to start her film career with such a heart-stopping, touching and inspiring story. Co-star Derek O’Donnell was selected by Ashley, under her role of Casting Director, because she “needed someone to be emotionally vulnerable with.” She pauses, before she goes on to explain that O’Donnell, her best friend, was perfect for the role because of his talent and also because of the trust and rapport they share together. When it comes to casting, “organic interaction is so much more important than experience.” Actors, beware – if you can’t connect with the casting director during an audition, you won’t get the role no matter what your resume looks like!

Ashley enjoys working with people, and to keep a project going, she strives to “be someone who ignites excitement” she says as she talks about keeping motivation levels up in the team. But she also has to pump herself up with motivation as she deals with the challenges of creative projects. When asked, the three biggest challenges she faces are “Not being afraid to say how I want things, conveying to others what I see in my head – being descriptive and thorough enough – and finding the resources to do what I want,” she gives a sigh, “Making your dreams small enough to fit your budget,” she tilts her head slightly and gives me a sympathetic look, changing from first to second person as if we were two accomplices working together in the difficult world of entertainment, understanding the same struggles and questions faced in order to make our dreams materialize.

Fortunately for this strong-willed woman, nothing keeps her down or stops her from pushing forward to get what she wants. “When you have a creative vision, don’t be afraid to take a small plot and run a long way with it,” she advises. This no-doubt explains how she manages to fill so many different professional roles in her life. Ashley keeps herself busy – allow me to rephrase that understatement. Ashley keeps herself vigorously immersed in jobs requiring her talent, working with other professionals throughout Central Florida, covering a radius of about 180 miles with Orlando being her main headquarters. And, as the tireless beauty she is, she makes it all look so effortless.

Coming towards the end of our interview, I asked Ashley Beloat what she enjoyed the most about what she does. Her answer was not surprising :

“Selling an illusion – creating something that looks effortless even though the makings of it was far from it. And I love meeting amazing people and the lasting effect of the creations we make together.”

Interview and article written by Helena Thrasher