At last! We finally got in touch with Ashley, and not a moment too soon — since Rock of Love Bus didn’t air this week, we figure now is the perfect time to catch up with the show’s most outspoken, polarizing personality. Below, our epic chat with Ashley attempts to leave no stone unturned. From her self-elimination to her baby-daddy to her criticism working as tough love to her misconceptions about basil, Ashley tells it the only way she can: like it is.
I told Farrah that I thought you guys put the Rock of Love back in Rock of Love.
Yeah, who wants to watch people like Taya and Mindy and Beverly? You don’t even want to see those kind of people. I see those kind of people at Wal-Mart all the time.
Farrah told me she was conscious of making good TV while on the show. How devoted to that cause were you?
I never thought about what would make good TV. I was just being myself. After I watched it, I was like, “Wow, that was funny.” I didn’t even know what I was saying was funny! When I said, “I didn’t know they could make bikinis in size fat f***,” like, who says that?
How accurate was your portrayal on TV?
That was exactly me. I said how I felt. I talked about the people I talked about because that’s what I’d say about them in real life. Like, if I ever saw Natasha walking down the street, I’d say, “Wow. That’s a man.” Or, “Wow, Mindy really looks like a gopher.”
What about picking a fight with Marcia because she was brunette? Is that something you do in your daily life?
It wasn’t really that. Marcia was obnoxious and a really drunk, annoying person. She just happened to have brown hair, but even if she had blonde hair, I still would have made fun of her.
I don’t know if it played out differently in real time, but from what we saw on TV, it seemed like Bret gave you the opportunity to stay and you chose to eliminate yourself. Is that what happened?
I think Bret gave me the chance to stay, but at that point I was sober and I realized that I didn’t want to date Bret Michaels. I wasn’t drunk for that elimination like I was for all the other ones. I just wasn’t feeling him anymore, and it was like, if he wants to keep people like Taya, Mindy and Beverly around, why am I still here?
So this was an eventual realization? Because it seemed in earlier episodes that you did have a connection with him.
I did like him. He’s a cool guy. But if he’s into girls that are nothing like me and are not on my level at all, then what was the point of me being there? If he would have kept Farrah, I would have thought, “OK, Bret’s a smart guy. He knows what’s going on. He likes different types of girls.”
Did you feel like an endangered species as the last blonde standing?
Oh god, yes. I felt like killing myself. Seriously, if I didn’t leave, it wouldn’t have been good for my mental health being around those girls. They were just so lame. They seriously sat around and talked about pillows and cereal. Taya was crimping her hair. I didn’t think crimpers still existed. She had a crimper! That’s how I know she was 1986 prom queen. She was trying to say she was 27 or something. Yeah right. My mom had a crimper.
Did you find Taya to be as condescending as many of your peers did?
I think Taya was just there to rep Penthouse. I don’t know if Penthouse paid her. I don’t know what the deal is. I didn’t even think Penthouse still existed. I know it’s a strip club, but I didn’t think the magazine still existed. I think that she was there just trying put it back on the map.
Have you been dancing since the show started airing?
On and off. I don’t really have to do that anymore. I kinda just do my own thing. I dance maybe once every couple of weeks if I get bored sitting at home. But I usually stay at home with my son now.
How is that?
It’s awesome. Rock of Love really helped me in that way, just showing me that there’s other stuff out there for me.
Do you watch the show and feel like you’re the star or a star?
I don’t feel like I was any kind of star. I still go to the s***ty bar down the street. I still drink dollar shots of tequila. I still go to Wal-Mart with my son. On the show, I was being myself. Love me or hate me. If you’re listening to what I’m saying, I obviously have impact. I think I said a lot of things people wanted to say but were too scared to. I don’t care if you like me, I’m gonna tell it like it is.
And the haters aren’t bothering you?
I don’t read message boards or blogs. People who comment never have a default picture. It’s like, “What do you look like?” OK, Bessie who’s 800 lbs., at home, mad because I’m talking about fat brunettes. I’m sorry. I wasn’t talking about you, but look: if you have the time to write a comment about me, you probably have time to go to the gym and make yourself somebody that I wouldn’t make fun of.
What was it about Farrah that you were able to connect with so intensely?
I don’t know. The second that I saw Farrah, I was like, “That girl is gonna be my friend.” She was just funny, pretty, smart, witty. She’s me. Farrah and me are like the same person. I feel like she’s my sister. We talk every single day. I went on TV thinking I was going to date Bret Michaels, and I walked away with some really good friendships.
Who else are you tight with?
Me and Brittanya are friends. I talk to her a lot. Really, I don’t talk to anybody else from the show. I would not want to walk into a club with any of those other girls. I would feel embarrassed.
It seems like you started out rocky with Beverly but then you two turned it around.
I don’t dislike Beverly. I think she’s a very lost person. I think there are a lot of things we don’t know about her. She’s been through a lot. It’s not that I don’t like her, I just can’t relate to her. I don’t know what her deal is, but I think she needs to find herself.
It says something about her character that she accepted the nickname “Boots” so good-naturedly, right?
The thing about Beverly is that she could handle that. If somebody would have talked to me the way I talked to Beverly, I would have beat her ass. But she just kinda rolled with it and that was cool of her to be like, “F*** it, this is me.”
I definitely wouldn’t want to cross you. I might wind up with salsa in my suitcase.
The thing is that I don’t like when people act like they’re better than me. Mindy and Taya were trying to act so much like they were. They were in high school, like, 30 years ago, but those are the kind of girls in high school who hated me because all their boyfriends wanted me. I think they wanted to sit around and talk about me and Farrah because they were jealous of us. I think they wanted to be us. I could talk about them all day long, but it’s more fun to throw salsa in Mindy’s suitcase. It’s not like I ruined anything. All her stuff sucked, anyway.
Do you think that you’re mean?
I think some people could take it as mean. I think everything I did, people deserved. I think Mindy deserved the salsa in her suitcase. I think Kami deserved us making fun of her. I feel like I help people. Like, Kami, you do not need to wear brown lip gloss — it’s ugly. Or Taya, you are wearing gowns for every elimination — you’re not going to prom.
It’s tough love.
On the lighter side of things, you were really good with the kids during the babysitting challenge. People were surprised.
I think people look at someone like me with fake boobs and blonde hair and tattoos and think, “Oh, she’s trash.” People don’t understand that I’m a full-time mom. I have my son every single day of my life. I had my son when I was 19-years-old. I’ve been a mom for a while. I know what’s up. The longest time I was away from my son is when I was on the show and I knew he was in good hands because he was with his dad. At least the show gave me the chance to change people’s minds about what a mom is or looks like.
Do you feel misunderstood?
I don’t care. Well, maybe I feel a little misunderstood. If you don’t like me because of what you saw on TV, that’s fine. But we were on a tour bus. We were with a rock star. You don’t think I’m gonna get drunk every single night and party and have fun? This show was like my spring break. I never got to do that kinda stuff. If people don’t like me because of what they saw on TV, I probably wouldn’t like them anyway. Me and Farrah were just being ourselves and there are people who can’t handle that. People loved Beverly so much, but what did Beverly do? She kissed Bret’s drummer. She doesn’t have custody of her children. It’s funny to me what people think of a person just by looking at them. I think just because somebody looks a little homely and is overweight, everybody’s automatically going to assume, “She’s a nice girl!” Even before the show aired, when it was just our pictures that were up, people were saying how sweet she looked. I judge people, too, but at least I judge people based on their character, not by what they look like.
You do sometimes.
Well, if you’re wearing really horrible shoes, yeah, I’m gonna make fun of you. That’s part of your character, too, because if you allow yourself to wear yourself like that, what does it say about you?
Can you shed any light on what went down in Bret’s room on his bus that made Kami freak out and leave the competition?
She thought that this was The Brady Bunch. Like we were just gonna go back there and play Scrabble. I’m sorry, but if you go on a bus with a guy who you’re supposed to be dating and you go to his bedroom, what do you think is gonna happen? She got a little bit upset that she saw Bret doing some stuff with me that…I don’t know. She has a kid, she knows what’s up.
But that’s as far as you’ll go? You won’t tell all?
No, not everything. I’ll give Bret that respect. I won’t put all of that out there. I think people know what happened. Everybody obviously knows what made Kami freak out.
You had a hard time dealing with the fact that your ex James was going to be on the show. Was there a lingering relationship that you wanted to keep hidden?
No. James and I were not together when we were on the show, but when you have a kid with somebody, the situation is a little different. I love James. I’m with James now. I’ll always love James. At that point, I was looking for something different, but sometimes you don’t realize that what you want is right in front of you.
So you’re back together?
You know that not everyone who eats basil is lame, right?
Not everyone who eats basil is lame. I don’t even know what basil is. Maybe I think stuffed cabbage is lame. I don’t know.
You should try Thai food. It is full of basil and deliciousness.
I eat Thai food!
When you said, “Get over it. People puke and they poop their pants,” were you speaking from personal experience?
I didn’t poop my pants! But even if I did, I don’t care. People do that. Hey, if you gotta go, you gotta go. That’s part of being a rock star.
That’s very open-minded of you. Are you happy that you did the show?
I’m thrilled that I did the show. I got a really good friend out of it. It was the best possible situation that could have happened for me. There are tons of people who hate me, who talk all this s*** about me and I don’t give a f***. The people who love me, my son and James and Farrah and my friends, they’re the only ones whose opinions matter.
Plus, you’re no dummy. You know going into it that when you talk the way you do, some people are going to have issues with it.
Of course. Of course there’s going to be backlash. But I’m not going to sit there and hold back because I want people to like me. I have things I have to say and I have opinions. If you don’t like my opinions, don’t watch the show. If I wasn’t on Rock of Love and if Farrah wasn’t, what would have been the f***ing point of watching? I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but looking back on it, we were the people on the show that made it fun and interesting. Nobody wants to sit and watch Taya go, “I’m a Penthouse Pet.” Or watch Mindy…I don’t know. What did she ever do? I don’t even know if Bret cares about the show anymore. I think he’s just like, “Whatever.” I think Rock of Love maybe should have ended on Season 2, but I guess it needed to go out with a bang, with some characters.
And so it did.
Keep up with Ashley via her MySpace.