Vancouver model Ashley Diana Morris has always been a dreamer. From her days as an actress on the television show The Best Years — the 2007 teen drama that chronicled the college lives of a group of friends — to her ambitions to become a journalist, the 5-foot 9-inch blond dreamed of finding success, but never quite like this.
Morris, who moved to Vancouver two years ago from Toronto, was recently named the face of Guess Lingerie and Bikini, which adds her to the list of Guess girls that has included supermodels Claudia Schiffer, Anna Nicole Smith, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima.
Amid the flurry of preparing for her upcoming ad campaigns, Morris chatted with The Sun about struggling to find her place, becoming a Guess Girl and where she will go from here.
Q: You got your start in TV. Did you always want to be an actress?
A: I have always loved acting and enjoyed the time I spent on The Best Years. I grew up changing my mind all the time with what I wanted to do, but I have always been a dreamer and hoped for big things.
Q: What was your experience on that side of the entertainment business? Do you hope to continue as an actress?
A: Being on set was exhilarating, and working with a group of young actors for a full season made us a tight-knit group. I wanted to finish my schooling (Morris studied theatre and English at the University of Toronto) theatre and get into journalism, actually, but have found out how difficult it is to get a starter job in your industry. I am really looking forward to all the doors that will open from my Guess campaign. I would love to continue to model and act in the coming years.
Q: You were discovered in Vancouver by photographer Odette Sugerman. How did that happen?
A: I was at a Dierks Bentley concert in February, 2012 in Vancouver — I’m a huge country music fan — and this woman just kept staring at me (Guess photographer Odette Sugerman). Finally at the end of the concert she came up to me asked if I had ever modelled before. When I said no, she got this huge smile on her face and told me I had to meet Paul Marciano. Before I knew it, I was flown down to L.A. to test and meet with everyone at Guess. A few days later I was presented with my contract. My story still gives me chills — it was a (case of) really right place at the right time. My mom has always said I have horseshoes up you-know-where (laughs).
Q: Had you ever thought of becoming a model?
A: I had always thought how amazing it would be to have an opportunity like this. I remember when I was 15 I saved up all my part-time-job money to get photos done at Walmart so that I could submit them to Guess (they had a model search looking for the “New Face”). I waited by the phone for days and days, and nothing. So it was especially surreal how a few years later this all came to reality.
Q: How did you feel when you were told you would be the face of Guess?
A: I almost collapsed when I found out I was officially a Guess Girl — it was a very exciting and surreal moment in my life. The amazing news came at a really good time — I had been struggling in Vancouver for a while trying to find a job in my industry (journalism) and unfortunately wasn’t having much luck. I have big shoes to fill, with the women that have had this opportunity before me like Claudia Schiffer and Alessandra Ambrosio, and I hope to have a memorable career just like them. I plan to shoot for the stars.
Q: What has becoming a Guess Girl been like for you?
A: Absolutely wonderful. Guess is such an iconic brand and I am so happy to be an ambassador for them. They use such beautiful women in their ads, with healthy bodies. I am so honoured for this opportunity.
Q: You are the current muse of designer Paul Marciano. What’s that been like?
A: When I met with Marciano and everyone at Guess they were calling me the next Anna Nicole Smith and Claudia (Schiffer) and I just sat there pinching myself — I was still trying to get past the fact that someone actually paid for me to fly to Los Angeles.
Q: Have you taken it all in stride?
A: I’m still pinching myself on a daily basis. When I was in the hallway of the Guess headquarters, Marciano was standing and watching while a team of Guess stylists were having me try on all sorts of gorgeous outfits. I had to walk as though I was walking a runway. I had to admit to Marciano, founder of Guess, that the first time that I had ever walked a runway was at that moment. He was having fun teaching and showing me how to walk. He was a memorable teacher and my walk has thankfully got much better.
Q: Where can people expect to see you in the coming months?
A: Guess is very secretive about their ads and I don’t find out anything until it is happening. Right now some of the ads have started running in Europe.
Q: Do you plan to continue living in Vancouver?
A: I love Vancouver and hope it will always be my home, but some very interesting calls have started coming in from New York, Los Angeles and further abroad.
Q: Anything else you wish to share with people?
A: I just want to thank everyone for all the nice messages and support. Vancouver is such a great city with amazing people!
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