Aesha Ash and the Power of Image

Images are doggone powerful. 

We come across ones that stop us in our tracks nearly every day. Images that shock us and inspire a visceral reaction. 

It’s never ‘just an image.’ 

Especially when you’re a minority. 

Growing up in Rochester, New York, today’s guest, Aesha Ash, quickly realized she was different. An inner city girl, her mother enrolled her in the urban-suburban programme where city kids got to attend suburban schools. 

That’s when she realized that as a person of color, there are certain stereotypes that she always would have to fight against. Especially in her ballet career.

Instead of withdrawing into herself, Aesha decided that she needed to change the way people saw and perceived Women of Color. 

And change she did. 

Images she took in her hometown after she’d retired from ballet went viral – images of her with a pair of ballet shoes, her teaching two little girls ballet in the middle of the street, her cutting an ethereal figure dancing around the streets of Rochester. 

In these images, women of color could finally see a Black woman who didn’t adhere to media stereotypes. A woman who showed them that it WAS possible for Black women to be graceful, beautiful, and swan like. 

They wrote back to her in tears. And Aesha knew her work had just begun. 

Join me as I chat with Aesha about her start in ballet, the struggles she faced along the way, how she helps young girls through the Swan Dreams Project, and why representation matters. 

Y’all, this episode is as emotional and inspiring as Aesha’s journey itself, but more importantly, it starts an important conversation, one that we should be having. 

In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • Aesha’s backstory and what she says she has wanted to change from a very young age
  • A major turning point in her life when she decided “enough is enough”
  • How she got into her work with images, and why they are so powerful {and needed} today
  • What shocked Aesha most about who her work speaks to
  • The ways she is empowering others during these difficult times – and how you can help out too 

With grit & gratitude,


P.S. If you are looking to reach out to Aesha & The Swan Dreams Project you may contact her via her website or direct email


Photography credit: Thaler Photography

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