American newcomer Ashley Smith is the breath of fresh air we've been waiting for. The 19-year-old Texan has the standout face, buxom body, and spunky personality that make the fashion industry lick its chops with excitement. She first caught our attention late last year, when photographer Chadwick Tyler shot graphic portraits of Smith. Those images caught on like wildfire, and everyone from i-D and Elle to Miuccia Prada and Terry Richardson lined up for a slice. This month, you can see Smith in W magazine, shot by Alasdair McLellan, and in new ad campaigns for Sisley and Levi's; next month, she'll be in British Harper's Bazaar, shot by John Akehurst. Click ahead to read a brief Q&A with Smith, and then visit her new model profile to see loads of on- and off-the-runway pics.
How do you maintain such amazing shape?
By eating right, working out, and staying active. I try to go to my gym, Ludlow Fitness, at least five times a week, making sure to have a minimum of a half-hour of cardio. But the most important part is eating right. I try to stay away from processed and fast food. Notice I say try. [And] H20 is the most important ingredient.
What's your favorite junk food?
Half Baked ice cream from Ben & Jerry's! It's my kryptonite.
Who are your favorite designers?
Miuccia Prada. The last collection was absolutely amazing. I always get excited when I see the new line on the stylists' racks. I love playing the sophisticated Prada lady. I also appreciate the more rock and effortless sexy sense of an Alexander Wang piece. The shoes make me want to go kick some serious ass and look sexy as hell while doing it. Plus, his T-line is the best for these hot summer days. Nothing better!
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I'm a certified heart surgeon. Not really. I never really know how to answer this question. I haven't been to a dentist in seven years; they scare me. I cry almost every time I watch a movie, even if it's not sad. I'm a bit of a game nerd; I still have my see-through purple Nintendo Game Boy with every version of Pokemon. And I play the blues harmonica. Are you surprised yet?
What are your favorite places in New York?
My favorite restaurant will always be Takahachi on Avenue A. Go there and order a Superman roll with jalapeño. You will literally die — in the good way! And for brunch it's Schiller's on Rivington. You can't get better waffles and Bloody Marys than Schiller's. My favorite bar is 169 Bar. There's always a diverse crowd with the best music playing. Also Max Fish is pretty fun, though the bartenders are a bit pretentious at times. Lower East Side vintage shops are the only places to shop; I recommend TheCast, a rock-and-roll vintage and clothing shop on Orchard. And as for hanging out, I love kickin' it out on Kenmare in front of La Esquina with my friend Brandee Brown!
Any words of wisdom for aspiring models?
Hey, models! This can be a tricky and pampering industry sometimes, but never doubt yourself. Always stay true to the person you started out as and always stay in touch with your friends back home if you're away. Your fashion friends may not last forever, but your hometown buddies will. And never forget your heels. They may be a pain in the ass, but it comes with the job.
Explore other rising stars (plus all the big names) in our extensive Model Manual, featuring runway pics, glamorous editorials, model bios, career timelines, and more.