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Ashanti's Story

I chose Ashanti for the V.O.W Project after meeting her through Carole when I did her painting. I know this story was hard for her to get on to paper and she did it anyway. Her story shows resilience, growth and the development of self belief.

My message from this story would be to not let the things that fear you, stop you for going for them anyway. There are so many things that are covered in this story that I could mention, I suppose I will let the story speak for its self.

My childhood was spent in children’s homes. A tomboy who loved to climb trees and run around kicking leaves in the apple orchard. I loved siting in the wheel barrow to be pushed back to the large wooden and metal doors that opened up to a large fireplace there I would read the flames, when cosy I would laugh all the way down to the kitchens and help in the kitchen turning the handle of the potato peeler and help sorting the food in the pantry. 
Apple crumble is still my favourite dessert with custard. In the laundry I would beg to use the water squeezer and watch as the water squeezed out of the clothes into the barrel with the kitchen staff. I would lay the table which seemed to stretch for miles. Yes I always knew I was different, tight black curly hair, dark skin and inquisitive and the only one. A mixed bunch of children forming a family of strange and wonderful, just vulnerable. When we left to go to school or sit on the long winding staircase to listen to who was coming to call on each of us, if at all. 
I was happy healthy and strong. I looked forward to my mum coming to visit but hated having my hair combed because that would be the only time that it was combed so I knew that I was going to cry as soon as I saw her face, smily at first and then as she got closer would turn to stone as she demanded that my hair must be done with a comb and a ribbon before we ventured out to the local park to feed the ducks, have a chat and sit idly by. 
I loved church and we would visit every Sunday, all of us children’s home children marched down to the church in a straight line and we would sit and sing the hymns and read the bible in our Sunday best Ha Ha its funny I still know most of it to this day and will never take the lords name in vain.
Freedom was restricted when I lived with mum. Emotional abuse and guilt trips taught me that I was ugly and should be grateful for the life I had. If it wasn't for you I would be in the sun now. I can't wait to run as far away as I could we were poor and my mum worked most of her time leaving me to raise my brother cook clean and watch MGM movies seldom going out except to fetch paraffin for the oil heater. Unit she returned. 
School taught me that boys didn't like girls like me but they liked me as a friend to get to know my girl friends. Boobs to big, couldn't get in the new Gosard push up bras, lips not fitting under the line of cellotape. Yes the ugly feeling followed me through school. Great at sport theatre dance and popular with everyone as I soon learnt that everyone has an agenda. Tomorrows people made me run home as a girl that looked like me was in it. Gosh I can follow my dreams I can do this I want to be in the theatre. 
I lived with my mum. My mum was not happy with me wanting to dance and blocked my early move into the theatre life as getting a proper job was the name of the game. College typing and shorthand was for me until I managed to go dance without consent. Going out with friends and developing into a young women caused resentment and jealousy, hence my need to run. Hiding my shoes when I was ready to go out. Telling friends not to telephone me stating I had gone out or just was not there and threats of violence were the norm. Followed by you better not get pregnant........... I learnt that if you want to make it you need to have a piece of paper. So that’s what I did.
That was the early days dancing was my passion in my teenage years and many auditions reminded my that I had no chance unless another brown-skinned girl auditioned with me at the same time. Symmetry was the name of the game here. 
I worked my way up in my career stumbling along the way. Determined to buy a home, have holidays nice cars and be happy in my own skin. Mixing with celebrities along the way who see me because as I have learnt I am just as good as them. Confidence has taken me to the top of my career and much further than anyone would ever believe I would reach. 
I am a resilient powerful strong manifestation of success and instil that in anyone who truly wants to see it for what it is. Reading, being true, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, along with the secret powered and neutered me.
~ Ashanti~
I am Beautiful
More information can be found about Ashantis charity at
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