Ashley Longshore is best known for her bold, colorful artwork and fearless attitude. The New Orleans-based artist paints everything from sassy sayings to iconic people — and based on the pieces she showcases on Instagram, she's an icon in her own right. Some even refer to her as the "modern-day Andy Warhol." Ashley is a favorite among many celebrity and Bravoleb clients, including Vanderpump Rules' Stassi Schroeder.
Given her authentic style, it's no surprise she was invited to be a guest judge on Project Runway. Ashley's appearance on Season 18, episode 7 gave us an inside look at her inspirational artwork and challenged the designers to be creative with her prints. Now, Ashley is revealing all to The Daily Dish, from her experience on set to some very solid advice.
What was your most memorable moment as a guest judge on Project Runway?
Ashley Longshore: You know, for me, I have watched this show for every single season — I think it’s like, 18 or 19 seasons — and I’ve always loved it because it’s not mean-spirited. It’s a celebration of creativity and it was just really exciting for me to be there, to see what the designers did with fabric, with my artwork. Just to feel that energy, man! It was just really great, as a creative person, and to be in the creative environment. It’s just inspiring and thrilling.
Were you worried about any of the designers’ plans for your prints at first?
Hell no! I can’t worry about that! I was excited to see how they were inspired and what they would do with my work. There was not one moment of worry ever, ever, ever.
Did anyone’s final look surprise you in the end, in a good or bad way?
I mean, I don’t want to be completely neutral here, but I was just blown away by their creativity. I think mainly too, for me, the idea of sewing a garment, cutting fabric, makes me a nervous wreck. It’s just, the precision of all that is not the way that my mind works. So, every single one of them — they’re just wonderful, they’re brilliant, and I was just blown away.
Marquise Foster used your bee eater print, but his darts resulted in him being sent home. Were you surprised by that decision?
I mean, listen. At the end of the day, you know, I’m sitting here with Brandon Maxwell, Nina Garcia, and Elaine [Welteroth], and Karlie Kloss. You know, these are people that know fashion. I love fashion, but when it comes down to choosing a designer in the end that is not only marketable, but somebody that is really at the top of their craft, those little details are really, ah! Important. So, it wasn’t that I was surprised by it, it was just a matter of eliminating the contestants that weren’t necessarily the strongest players.
What was the hardest part about being a guest judge?
There was nothing really hard about it. I think at the end, when we had to make the decision about you know, Marquise leaving... that sucks, you know? I adored all of them and I was telling them that I love them and was so proud of them, so that sucked. It was also very hot in there. We were filming in the summer in Brooklyn and it was like 100 degrees that day — and it was really hot. I don’t like to be hot.
If you could only wear one of the final designs from the runway to a very important event, which one would it be and why?
I mean, the pants that (Nancy Volpe-Beringer) made were absolutely incredible, but you know, Brittany [Allen]’s design was amazing. I have a different body type than the majority of the models. If I could wear all of them, I would! I was so proud of what they did with my art. For me, I’ve never created fabric for fashion with my artwork on it, so it was intoxicating all the way around.
Your prints showed off your eclectic, colorful style during this episode. Where do you find inspiration when you create your art?
First of all, color makes me feel alive. Lately, I’ve really been about pattern on pattern. I love maximalism. I feel like right now in our society, with how crazy things are and the news is so depressing, it’s fun for me to see outrageousness in fashion. So, as far as inspiration goes, I love things that make me feel alive. I love color, I love over the top, I love inspiring people. You know, inspiration is all around us. You just have to be still for a minute and pick up on it.
Which of the many pieces you’ve created is your absolute favorite?
Oh my god! That’s like saying what my favorite child is! I just completed a new collection that I posted on social media yesterday, with all of these very powerful, iconic people. On all the females, I put makeup on them like young girls put makeup on each other — you know, where it just looks messy and outrageous. I wanted to capture that joy and carefreeness of being a child and not being worried about imperfections and that sort of thing. It’s been very interesting to see the debates because I actually even painted Donald Trump and Melania, Barack and Michelle, and it’s been very interesting to see how people reacted to it. So, I think that collection is my favorite right now.
What advice would you give to people who want to apply your bold, unapologetic energy to their lives, whether it be through fashion, art, etc.?
You’ve just got to be yourself. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur — if you’re going to make it in the world — the first, best relationship you have to have is with yourself, so that you go, 'You know what? I know who I am, I f--king love me. And it doesn’t matter if somebody rejects me or says something nasty about me'... if they don’t like my artwork, if they don’t like what I say, because I know who I am and I can always stand by that. That is the most important foundation to build your pyramid, to build your skyscraper, to build whatever you’re f--king building in your life. It’s that!
To see Ashley introduce her challenge as a Project Runway guest judge, check out the video below.
The Daily Dish is your source for all things Bravo, from behind-the-scenes scoop to breaking news, exclusive interviews, photos, original videos, and, oh, so much more. Subscribe to The Daily Dish podcast, join our Facebook group, and follow us on Instagram for the latest news hot off the presses. Sign up to become a Bravo Insider and be the first to get exclusive extras.