Yes, Ashley was big in the national pageant circuit, but don't think she's just another pretty face. Ashley will be looking to prove that when RHOP premieres in January, but if you get to know a little bit about this beauty now, you'll soon see that she has the brains to back it up.
1. She's a Maryland Native
Few ladies in the RHOP crew know Maryland better than Ashley, who was born and raised in Sandy Spring. Ashley stayed in the state to pursue her undergraduate degree in Communication at the University of Maryland. And now this Maryland girl is helping to put Potomac on the map.
2. But She Became Miss District of Columbia
Ashley wasn't your typical college student. That's because while earning her degree, Ashley was also going to the head of the class in beauty pageants. She was crowned Miss District of Columbia in 2011 and then went on to compete in the 2012 Miss America pageant. Unfortunately, Ashley didn't take home the top prize, but she did come away with some scholarship money and the John Curran Non-Finalist Interview award. It'll be interesting to see if Ashley is able to keep that famous beauty queen poise during some of the more contentious moments of RHOP this season.
3. And She Married an Aussie
Ashley may seem like an all-American girl, but she found love Down Under. She's married to Michael Darby, who is originally from Australia. Ashley and Michael first met when she interned at Monument Realty, the Washington, D.C.-based real estate firm that he is the principal and co-founder of. Michael proposed to Ashley in a helicopter over the Hudson during a trip to New York, after which they stopped at the city's iconic Tiffany & Co. where she got "the ring of my dreams," she told The Washington Post's Reliable Source after the couple got engaged in 2012. Despite the cultural and age differences (Michael is 29 years Ashley's senior), these two seem to be made for each other.
4. She's Already Been on Reality TV
With her vast experience competing in pageants, Ashley is clearly used to being in the spotlight. However, what might be surprising is that RHOP isn't Ashley's first foray into reality TV. After getting engaged to Michael, Ashley appeared on an episode of Say Yes to the Dress. She visited New York's Kleinfeld Bridal with her mother and friends to find the wedding dress of her dreams. Though Ashley didn't actually end up saying "yes" to a dress on the show, we'd give the Maggie Sottero Electra gown she did get married in a big thumbs up any day.
5. She Wants to Start a Family
After marrying Michael, Ashley became a stepmother to his two children (a 21-year-old and a 24-year-old), who are not that much younger than she is. However, Ashley is considering starting her own family with Michael, according to her official RHOP bio. So who knows? We could be seeing Ashley with a toddler in a tiara in the future.
6. She Already Has One Baby
Whether or not Ashley and Michael decide to expand upon their family, they've already got a little one to take care of: an adorable white maltipoo named Geronimo. He may not be the same as an actual human child, but Ashley's baby sure does seem to light up her life.
7. She's Making a Name for Herself
These days, Ashley is busy owning and operating a new restaurant she opened with her husband called Oz located in Arlington, Virginia. Oz is inspired by Michael's Australian heritage, delivering a modern take on the country's delicacies, such as skewers, pies, and sausage rolls. The restaurant has already gotten the seal of approval from Ashley's castmates. The best part of Ashley co-owning Oz is that we get to see tons of droolworthy food porn posted on her Instagram feed.
See more of Ashley when RHOP premieres on Sunday, January 17 at 9/8c.