Finally, this website brings it all together: The Kerri-Lee Mayland Company________________________________________________________________________
Ashley is not afraid of color and she has a super playful way of mixing her eclectic styling pieces; blending elements effortlessly from Boho to contemporary to transitional. She recently REFRESHed her living room lounge in her Atlanta, Georgia home, and as you read on, you'll discover why this bright, inspiring, daring room is more than just a pretty, comfortable space.
It's got Ashley written all over it.
When I met her, she was Ashley Aikens-- a fresh faced 19-year-old with a zest for life and a sparkle all her own. She had just moved to Philadelphia from Georgia to become a nanny, and since I had just had a baby, we were a pretty good fit.
She was funny, witty and smart and I really enjoyed spending time with her as much as my infant son, Van, did. He was comfortable in her care instantly; Ashley still remembers the first time they met:
There were many more moments like that to come.
She watched Van while I anchored at FOX 29 News, and because I was the co-host of Good Day Philadelphia when Van was a baby, my hours were sometimes unpredictable. Breaking news or extra assignments could make any day a long one, so I needed reliable childcare at the drop of a hat, and that was Ashley.
Eventually, she moved into my little brownstone in Center City, Philly and honestly? The "Ashley years" were some of the best of my life.
When he wasn't with me, Van was Ashley's little sidekick and the two of them made The City of Brotherly Love their playground. They visited the parks, museums, had playdates and picnics, and each outing had its own outfit and accessories that were SO Ashley. Sunglasses, cool sneakers, crowns, the occasional costume, just for kicks... I never knew what I would see them in when they visited me at work. Like on this day, when my shirtless 2 year-old showed up at the TV station via stroller, sporting Phillies regalia, accented with camo Crocs.
Oh, how I wish phone cameras were abundant back then, the pictures I could have taken of the get-ups she created! Ashley just had a way of putting an outfit together that you would never come up with yourself and it said, "I am SO in love with life right now!"
Eventually her talent for fashion composition expanded beyond her own closet (and my son's), and she left Philly for college at the University of Georgia to study wardrobing, so she could turn her natural gift into an actual career.
Let's just say, college went really well.
Not only did she get a degree and start working in the industry, but she also met her husband, Wes Dorough in the process.
These two college sweethearts worked on television shows and movies together-- she was in wardrobe, Wes in visual effects-- and life was everything she dreamed of. But eventually they wanted more and years into their relationship, they decided to take a run at forever.
As newlyweds, they still spent long days on sets for projects, but it was totally happening! They were really living doing it! Despite their rising careers and the schedule insanity that came along with success, they still felt the time was right to start a family.
Ashley's first pregnancy was anything but easy.
Baby Emaline was in the NICU for weeks and there were no guarantees that her outcome would be a good one. But she had her mom's feist after all, and eventually that tiny baby persevered to become the spunky little 5-year-old she is today. Pearl Jo, (PJ), arrived not so long after, and suddenly the Dorough's were a family of four.
After years of nannying, being a mom came naturally to Ashley; she certainly had the childcare part down. But soon after giving birth, she knew something was off-- she didn't feel right, mentally and she had felt these feelings before.
Prone to mental health struggles as a teen, as well as debilitating body image issues, she wasn't entirely surprised when she was diagnosed with Postpartum depression. Ashley recognized the signs of depression and those all-encompassing feelings that owned her mind years prior. She just didn't expect them to come rushing back with a vengeance at the happiest time of her life.
But Ashley fought back, hard.
A mix of determination, therapy, medication, love and support eventually allowed her to see through to the other side of her mental health struggles and after so.much.work she learned to look at herself with love, not disgust. As a new mom, she began trying to forgive her body for changing in ways she thought were unflattering, and figure out how to be happy, just the way she was.
Her "Mommy Body," as she calls it, eventually stopped being her enemy and she treasured this vessel that brought her what she loved most-- her daughters. She became curious, and wanted answers from herself about why she ever treated her body so poorly in the first place?
She chose acceptance, and began to feel compassion for herself, something she never dreamed possible. After years of listening to "diet culture," and believing she was only worthy if she looked thin in a bikini, she was D-O-N-E. Ashley was ready to "be," and to share her new revelation with the world.
Her first platform of choice was a blog, and soon after she took to Instagram and she said the things she always wished others would say. Ashley "goes there," nothing is off the table and her honesty and bravery is addictive as evidenced by her tens of thousands of followers and fans.
They not only want to wear what she wears, but they want to hear what she has to say.
She encourages others to speak out took so while she shares her experiences, she listens to theirs in return.
She is undoing the damage-- hers, and inadvertently, so many others through "real talk" with women she may never actually meet, but she knows them just the same.
House of Dorough's more than 70k Instagram followers enthusiastically engage with her heartfelt posts, grateful they are seeing a woman that looks like them and wears anything she darn well pleases.
And big brands have noticed.
As a plus sized/curvy model, Ashley has worked with major labels, including Anthropologie, Madewell, Walmart and Sephora and I get why they want someone like Ashley showcasing their brands. She's showing women what can happen when you finally get real, speak out, and stay true to yourself without changing a thing.
She's also showing them how to look, and feel good in the process ;)
Sure sounds like a winning combination to me.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...
If you still want more (and let's be honest, you do) check out Ashley's website here
Ashley talks with Plusmommy.com
House of Dorough on Instagram is here
You can SHOP all things Ashley here