West London local Ashley James has reinvented herself from Made in Chelsea alumnus to celebrity DJ and body confidence advocate. She has big plans for 2018 – but she has to survive Celebrity Big Brother first…
Ashley James is one of those people who throws herself into every opportunity that comes her way, which is why you’re seeing her on your screens in Celebrity Big Brother right now.
Bursting into public consciousness on the infamous reality show Made in Chelsea, James has used that platform to branch out as a presenter, DJ, blogger and, most recently, travel writer.
‘Made in Chelsea is one of the most-loved shows on television, so to have been given the opportunity was huge,’ she says. ‘I owe a lot to that show and I feel very grateful. That said, it has taken a lot of hard work and tenacity to get to where I am now.’
She’s now one half of DJ duo Bittersweet DJs with her friend Charlotte de Carle, which came to be following heartbreak: ‘It started when Charlotte and I both got our hearts broken and moved in with each other,’ says James. ‘We both had an interest in DJing and hated each other’s music so we started to play around mixing it up on the decks and it kind of worked.
‘Charlotte loves a lot of old music that I think is boring, and I love when artists ‘improve’ old songs by covering them. We have found a good happy medium and find people love our mix of old and new school.
‘There is constant room for improvement. Each time we play we think of ways to make it better, and every set is completely unique as we play to the crowd. There’s never a dull moment.’
Travel is also something that is very important to James and this year she has decided to start ticking destinations off of her bucket list.
‘In January I am driving from New York to Los Angeles,’ she says. ‘I’ve decided to start doing more of those things since a friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer early this year.
I feel so lucky to have a platform and a modest following, and I think it’s so important to utilise that space to try and inspire others to feel good
Such a jet-set lifestyle sounds like a dream, so what is it that keeps her here in London? ‘This is an interesting question, because I actually hate the British weather,’ she laughs. ‘But I come back each time because there’s a buzz in London that is incomparable to anywhere else in the world.
‘I’ve lived all over London, but Fulham has always felt like home. It’s beautiful and green, close enough to the city to feel connected, but far enough away to be surrounded by green, plus nearly all of my friends live around south west London.’
But it’s not all fun and games. Recently, she worked with Vice on a body confidence and empowerment campaign. ‘I feel so lucky to have a platform and a modest following, and I think it’s so important to utilise that space to try and inspire others to feel good,’ says James.
‘I try to think of the advice I would have liked when I was a teenager and that’s the message I put out. Plus I think authenticity and honesty is the most important thing in the world and I want to make it clear that no matter how successful you become, or how much “fame” you get, we all still have the same insecurities. I just want everyone who follows me to feel happy in their own skin.’