Reigning Miss World Barbados 2018 Ashley Lashley is the founder of Schools Against Non-Communicable Diseases. The former student of The Lodge School who was a finalist in the Miss World Competition held in Sanya, China spoke to Positive Vibes about her journey and her passion to educate young people about the effects of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Q: What is your mantra for life?
A: My mantra for life is to ‘Always let no obstacle be greater than the cause’.
Q: You are Miss World Barbados 2018. How has the journey been for you so far?
A: My journey has been punctuated by many highs and lows which have shaped me into the young woman that I am today. The preparation process isn’t always a walk in the park but with hard work and dedication it pays off. Because of this, I was not only able to represent Barbados at The Miss World Show in Sanya, China but I was able to place in the finals of the show out of 118 delegates. To me, this accomplishment has been nothing but a blessing. After Miss World, I was given the opportunity to model for world-renowned fashion designers and international magazines in New York and Los Angeles Fashion Week.
Q: You also started schools against non-communicable diseases. What led to this formation?
A: The creation of the Schools Against Non-Communicable Diseases began while I was a student at The Lodge School because of the impact NCDs was having on many of my colleagues. The aim of this group was to create a greater level of sensitization and awareness to teach students about the impact of NCDs.
Q: You have also worked with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados as a Youth Champion for the Switch It Up campaign. What led to this?
A: I became involved due to my passion to fight the scourge of NCDs, particularly amongst our nation’s children.
Q: Do you support the proposal for a ban on soft drinks in schools?
A: I am of the opinion that everything which is drunk or eaten should be done in moderation, I believe it is a step in the right direction because the Caribbean is facing an epidemic where one in every three children is overweight or obese.
Q: There is this misconception that pageant girls are all beauty and no brains. Have you found this has been changing in the modern era?
A: The Miss World organization gives young women across the world the opportunity to be involved and become an advocate for a cause that they are passionate about. In this millennium we are seeing beauty queens who are multi-faceted and multi-talented and the misconception that pageant girls have only beauty and no brains remains a stigma.
Q: As the daughter of the former Minister of Social Transformation, do you find there was a lot of pressure placed on you to succeed in life?
A: I have always established my independence to pursue my lifelong dreams and aspirations. In that aspect, I was not pressured to succeed but the negative forces always propelled me to be successful.
Q: If you could be the Prime Minister of Barbados for one day what would you change and why?
A: I would enact a policy that would see the creation of far more job opportunities for our people, especially for those who live in stigmatized and marginalized communities. In addition, I would create and enhance a policy that gives more autonomy to persons who are dyslexic.
Q: What’s next for Ashley?
A: I am currently coordinating a camp entitled Get Up and Move which is a weight loss programme for kids under the Schools Against Non-Communicable Diseases which seeks to assist Government’s efforts to eradicate NCDs. (LG)