The 26-year-old brunette, who was born with the lower part of her right arm missing, surprised viewers when she appeared behind the desk in Lord Sugar’s office last week. Ashley, who filmed the show in London last summer, was booked via Zebedee Management, a specialist talent agency created to increase the representation of people who have until now been excluded in the media, including people with disabilities or alternative appearances. She joined the agency in January 2019 after getting married and moving to East London from Florida, where she had been working for five years as a parade performer and scare actor at Universal Studios in Orlando.
Ashley, who said she had not worked as a receptionist before landing the coveted role, said: “Everyone on the show was really lovely and it was like working in a big family. I filmed the boardroom scenes between June and the end of August. I’ve not worked as a receptionist before and this was my first acting role with a speaking part so I was quite nervous at first. Luckily they gave me a whole wardrobe of business clothes to wear. When I first had to take the boardroom call from Lord Sugar I was very nervous and sweating as all the contestants were looking at me, but I soon got used to it and relaxed. I’m very excited to have got the part, it’s the biggest job I have done. My dream is to one day appear on Strictly.”
Ashley, who wears a golden prosthesis with a Covvi Nexus bionic hand, was a dancer for 13 years and has ridden horses since she could walk as her mum is a horse trainer. She also spent three years working as a professional scuba driver and doing underwater shows where she grew up in Orlando. Since living in the UK, Ashley has featured in a variety of commercials, including the Cadbury’s Crème Egg advert in 2021 as the dipper.
She said: “It was great fun, but I didn’t get to actually eat any of the chocolate eggs. I had to dip my prosthetic finger into the crème egg.”
She also modelled on the front cover of Boots’ Heath and Wellness magazine in June, starred in two series of BBC3’s Glow Up make up challenge and modelled for photographer Rankin in the Great Britain Photography Challenge. Her other jobs have included modelling for Seasalt, Amazon, Samsung, Badoo, Fenwicks and Sainsburys. Ashley, who has a two-year-old daughter, juggles being a full-time mum between her acting and modelling jobs. She is also an ambassador for the Lucky Fin Project, a non-profit organisation which raises awareness for people with limb differences.
She said: “I help kids relate to their differences and really enjoy it. They are all great kids and I enjoy being a role model for them. When I do modelling and acting work I also see it as a way to help the next generation an pave the pathway for them and show them what they can also achieve. Even over the last three years I have noticed there are more and more opportunities for people with limb differences, which is amazing.”
Ashley had a gold bionic arm fitted in 2016 after experiencing pain in her back and neck because she was using one hand. She added: “I was approved to get an arm fitted and using it has now become second nature. I can also control my hand using an app and even programme it to be in the right mode for handshakes.”