A brainy student from the University of Tennessee can speak four languages and is an exhibited artist, but claims she is constantly underestimated because of her looks.
Ashton Clarke, 22, can speak Norwegian, Persian and Spanish (and English), and has had her artwork shown in galleries. But despite her achievements, she says people don’t take her seriously due to her fondness for the ‘Barbie look’.
At the age of 16, after becoming fascinated with make-up, Ashton gave herself a dramatic makeover and started styling herself like a Barbie. She dyes her hair blonde, applies fake tan, undergoes lip fillers and wears contouring make-up, false eyelashes, hair extensions and coloured contact lenses.
Ashton, from Knoxville, Tennessee, says she feels happier and more confident as a ‘Barbie’, even if people are quick to judge her appearance:
For years I was terrified of doing the ‘Barbie look’ because I thought people would make fun of me. But for me when I look ‘fake’, I feel more like ‘me’ than I ever have been in my life. People are always so taken back when they meet me, they expect me to be an airhead or shallow.
But now Ashton has gained an online following through her inventive make-up tips and extraordinary before-and-after photos. Fans of her Tumblr page regularly praise her make-up skills and the images showing her incredible transformation have gone viral.
People weren’t always so positive about her look and she now hopes to challenge the Barbie stereotype, saying:
There are so many individuals who believe that you can’t be a successful academic whilst also dedicating time to your appearance. I want to show that it is possible.
She is in the process of proving her doubters wrong, and was one of only a handful of undergraduate research assistants selected to conduct research in the university’s clinical psychology department and is applying for PhD programs.
Three years ago, Ashton started a blog about the Barbie look and it gained a large following, she explains:
When I started my blog it was originally just an archive of photos of girls that I personally found aesthetically inspiring. I was surprised when people took interest but it’s given me the opportunity to connect with other people who like experimenting with hair and make-up. The positive feedback is well-worth any hate comments. When someone makes a rude comment on my photos, I make sure to let them know that my make-up isn’t for them. It’s for me.
Good on her we say, if you love the way you look and you are winning at life then who is anyone to tell you otherwise?