Age: 23 | Height: 5’11”
Hometown: Enoch, AB
Ashley Callingbull is a 23 year old Cree First Nations woman from the Enoch Cree Nation in the province of Alberta. She is currently enrolled at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in the Television Program.
She is very devoted to her culture and people, and takes pride in her Native Cree heritage, and has shown this through her volunteer work with community elders and First Nations youth.
By the time Ashley reached 10 years old; she had consecutively won all Enoch’s princess crowns. She is a professionally trained dancer in tap, ballet, jazz, pointe and performed in the Nutcracker.
Ashley’s interest in acting led her to starring in a commercial for The Hudson Bay, and has appeared in television mini-series, acted in countless stage performances and has lent her voice for cartoons.
She appears in Blackstone, a television show that airs on APTN, Showcase and on Maori Television in New Zealand. Ashley was also featured for her acting work on CBC’s 8th Fire Series.
Ashley also has a documentary featured on her life in the Catch The Dream Series. Her youth foreshadowed her young adulthood, as she continued with acting and dancing.
In June 2010, Ashley placed 2nd Runner up in the Miss Universe Canada 2010 Pageant. She is the first Cree First Nations Woman to achieve this goal. During her reign as a Miss Universe Canada 2010 finalist, she traveled to hospitals and schools wearing her MUC sash, speaking about her life and reaching out to others.
The loss of some very close family members have led Ashley to also support the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Walk for the Cure, Run for the Lung and mentor underprivileged aboriginal youth. Ashley is also currently the Youth Representative for the Stollery Family Centered Care Network for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Ashley was chosen as Miss Canada for the Miss Friendship International Pageant held in Hubei, China in September 2010 and represented Canada at the Queen of the World Final held in Germany 2010. She also represented Canada at Miss Humanity International in Barbados in October 2011. Ashley was also Top 10 at the Miss World Canada competition in 2012.
Ashley truly believes that education is the basis of all her success. At the age of 16, Ashley graduated from High School and is continuing with her University studies to pursue her Bachelor of Arts degree focusing on drama and acting/television. Ashley hopes to provide inspiration to other young First Nations Youth.
Since Ashley’s achievement in the Miss Universe Canada 2010 Pageant; she continues to be a motivational speaker and role model for many educational institutions, workshops, conferences and award ceremonies around the globe. Ashley got the chance to speak at Harvard University, Boston as the keynote speaker for an All Ivy Native Council,TED Talks and at WE DAY. Because of Ashley’s hard work and charity work she received the Role Model Award at the Dreamcatcher Gala in Calgary 2011. Ashley also received the Top 20 Under 30 Award in Canada in the fall of 2012.
Sponsored by: Enoch Chief & Council, Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation, Mechet Charities Limited, River Cree Resort & Casino, Edmonton Marriot at River Cree Resort, Wingate by Wyndham, Alberta Indian Investment Corporation, Indian Lakes Golf Course, The Comic Strip – West Edmonton Mall, Ivory Teeth Whitening, Sana Dental, Angela DeMontigny – Fashion Designer, Bethany Yellowtail – Fashion Designer, Josh Hill, Lisa Nider – Registered Massage Therapist, The Canadian Brew House, Schanks Sports Grill Edmonton and Triple 5 Corporation, Family and Friends.
Languages spoken fluently (please include your native language if English is not your native language).
What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?
Acting, traveling, working with youth and spending time with my family.
List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.)
Trained in Competitive Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Pointe
Competitive contemporary Jingle Dancing
Acting & Voice-over workshops
Trained in musical theatre
In what sports, if any, have you participated?
Volleyball and Track & Field
Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?
My late Kokum (Grandmother in Cree). She helped raise me and showed me unconditional love from the day I was born. Her heart was so big that she raised over 25 foster children. She taught me the importance of my culture and to always be grateful for the things I’ve been given. She also taught me the importance of living, to live for you and the ones you love, and most importantly always love yourself. To devote her life to the ones she loved is something I will have always have the upmost respect for.
What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?
My most proudest moment would be when I graduated grade 12, because it was my Kokum’s (Grandmother’s) last wish to see me graduate. She was dying of a lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis, and the only time she left the hospital was to attend my graduation. At the banquet I performed by singing in Cree and playing the hand-drum, it was my proudest moment because I got to do something for my Kokum before she passed away and that is something that I can always hold dear.
What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you?
I got the honor of speaking at Free The Children’s WE DAY. I was overwhelmed with joy to be getting a chance to share the stage with Larry King, Martin Sheen and Craig and Mark Kielburger. It was an experience that shook me to the core because I got to share my story with over 20,000 youth and the response was unbelievable. The feeling I got from the youth that day inspired me and makes me feel like I’m doing something right.
What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal?
I graduate this spring and I plan to use my education to further my career in the film industry. I also plan on creating a charity foundation for underprivileged First Nations Youth over the next 5 years.
What would be your “dream job” in life?
I have two “dream jobs”. My first is to be an award-winning actress. The second is to continue working with youth internationally around the world and give back any way I can.
Are you currently a student?
If yes, where?
Area of study:
Northern Alberta Institute Of Technology (NAIT)
Are you currently employed?
If yes, what is your occupation?
Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.
I never had the perfect childhood everyone dreams of. I had an incredibly difficult childhood and was raised mainly by my mother and grandparents. I have never had a proper father figure and grew up in poor conditions. My mother as strong as she is, raised me to be grateful for what I have and showed me all the love in the world. Things that occurred in my childhood were incredibly painful and it is very hard to discuss. It was difficult to grow up the way I did, but it made me appreciate everything I have and most importantly made me the strong woman I am today.
List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.
I worked for MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) – being a host for videos that are distributed across all schools in Canada.
Doing voice-over work for Cree cartoons and movies.
I am also on the cover poster for a Fight The Violence Ad, to stop abuse in homes.
Reporting, Shooting and Editing for Nait Newswatch Broadcasting Station.
List any volunteering you have done.
Stollery Children’s Hospital – working with children and families.
Elder’s Drop In Center in my community – cooked, cleaned, bingo caller and performed dance recitals.
Soup Kitchen – distributing food to the homeless.
Festival Of Trees – selling products, playing with children and performing dance recitals.
SOS Children’s Villages – Raising funds and putting together charity events.
Variety Children’s Charity – Raising funds and putting together charity events.
What is your most unusual talent?
I can make really strange voices and impersonations. I can perform dead on impersonations of Gollum from Lord Of The Rings and Yoda from Star Wars. It’s my geeky side, but I find that to be my best side.
Where is the most interesting place you have been to?
I know it’s corny, but Disneyland. It honestly is one of the happiest places in the world. Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain have the best rides, and the experience is something I’ll never forget. No matter how many times I go there, it’s just as fun. It’s my family’s favourite vacation spot and it’s great to be around them and enjoy that experience with them.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
I’d like to be known for my acting internationally. I’d also like to be running a Charity Foundation for First Nations Youth that focuses on boosting their self-esteem through acting, sports and whatever they are interested in. I hope I would have traveled the world by then and continue doing so.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?
I started living by a motto I created for myself. That is to “Love and Live Fearlessly”. Growing up I had to learn from my hard times and grow to love myself and be thankful for life. I also learned to not live in fear in everything that I do. I push myself to my full potential and never let fear stop me from achieving my dreams.