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Hit the Runway with our September Curvy Girl of the Month - Ashley Nell Tipton

I'm passionate about sharing women's stories, especially women going against the grain and battling society's traditional standards. So, I'm happy to announce our September Curvy Girl of the Month is Ashley Nell Tipton!

This violet haired beauty will look familiar to anyone watching Season 14 of Project Runway. Ashley is a plus size designer making her mark on the popular Emmy awarded show. She even won the first runway competition! Go Ashley, it's your birthday, Go Ashley, it's your birthday! (Big smile, I literally sat in front of my T.V. & sang this when she won.)

I was lucky enough to catch up with Ashley and learn a bit more about her style and how she really feels about Project Runway. Hint: She loves it. Here's Ashley, in her own words.

Who is Ashley Nell Tipton?

Ashley is fun, funky and fat. She has a voice and she wants to be heard!

In one sentence, tell us how you're embracing the FortheLoveofCurves mantra and living life to the fullest.

Wear your personality through your clothes!

I saw your high school senior picture on Instagram. Your Senior quote in high school was "I am America's next top fashion designer for plus sizes." Now you're on Project Runway. I'd say that dream has come true. - Please tell me about the path from there to here.

After high school, I went to a private fashion design school (Fashion Careers College in San Diego). It was after studying fashion and lovingly being nudged by my grandmother to audition for Project Runway that I finally did. I finally chose to audition shortly after she passed away. I did it not only because I needed a distraction during that hard time, but also because I knew she wanted it for me. And I’m so glad I did!

Do YOU feel the dream has come true? Why or Why not?

This dream is COMING TRUE! Through Project Runway, I’m getting to bring my voice to the need for plus sized fashion.

Ashley's winning design in Season 14, Episode 1 of Project Runway

I talk to a lot of curvier women, about confidence and overcoming fear. Have you ever had a time in your life where you really had to push through your fear to reach success?

Yes – being on Project Runway means you’re putting yourself out there for the world to see – you don’t know how the world is going to receive your message. Or, how they’ll receive you as a person… Personal insecurities (having been bullied for my size throughout my life) rise up when you’re on national television – but I pushed through and it’s been NOTHING but positivity that has come out of this experience – and I’m glad that I’m able to inspire other people.

Your favorite design of yours , in your entire career so far is __________? Where can people find it?

It’s my “Boyfriend Shirt/My Dress… on! (The site will be available mid-October. )

Best part of participating in Project Runway? Most surprising part of your Project Runway experience? Most Challenging aspect of this experience?

Best Part – getting amazing feedback from the judges

Surprising – I was constantly always being friendly and trusting everyone…I had to remind myself that this is a competition!

Most challenging - Believing in myself!

You were a part of Full Figured Fashion Week in 2012 , how important are events like that for the plus size fashion community?

Very important – because it makes us feel like we’re normal people, and it’s a place where we can all come together and be who we are, without being looked at. We all accept each other.

What's next for the Ashley Nell Tipton brand?

You gotta wait and see!

All images provided by Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

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