Meet the real Rose Ashton: art legacy, actress, and model

Rose Ashton is a Corona model, TV/film actress, and a legacy of one of the most well-known Australian artists: Julian Ashton. We caught up with the Vogue and Cosmopolitan model to find out about her upcoming nude art exhibit, her future in acting, and what it’s like following in the footsteps of her acclaimed great, great grandfather. 


The Chic Edit: Your face is one that’s recognisable: where might we have seen you before?

Rose Ashton: Since my first photoshoot at the age of 14 for Cosmopolitan magazine, I have worked as a model for most of Australia’s fashion magazines (Vogue, Cosmo, Cleo, Harper’s Bazaar, Dolly, Girlfriend, Women’s Weekly, etc.) and with designers for various Fashion Week shows (Zimmerman, Akira Isogawa, Third Millennium, etc.) In 2000, I was the face of Mercedes Fashion Week.

Soon after that, I began acting, working in television with guest roles on White Collar Blue, Young Lions, and Gangs of OZ. I was in the 2005 feature film, Feed, directed by Brett Leonard. Over the last few years, my modelling/acting work has been consistent, with campaigns including WA Tourism, NT Tourism, Corona, Cotton On, New Balance, Commonwealth Bank, Woolworths, and Mortgage Choice.

In 2014, I became a Global Brand Ambassador for US brand STANCE. I was asked to be part of SXSW in Austin, Texas. I had the privilege of painting and drawing Willie Nelson and his beautiful family many times over that week. I made great friends with his sons, Lukas and Micah and have worked creatively with Lukas and his band, Promise of the Real, since then. Painting on Willie’s ranch was, to this day, one of the most exciting canvases I have worked on.

As a brand ambassador, I have had the honour of designing my own socks as a collab with STANCE and have my third pair due for release worldwide in 2018. 

CE: According to IMDB, you’ve not been credited in any films/TV series for several years. Do you have plans to return to the screen?

RA: The past few years I have received great encouragement for my artwork and had opportunities to explore that more. This has taken up my time and attentions have been focused inside my own studio. However, I have enjoyed exploring the medium of film and television since my first role and am always happy to consider projects as they are presented to me.

CE: Your great great? grandfather is acclaimed artist Julian Ashton—what lead you to follow in his footsteps, pursuing art yourself? Where do you garner your influence?

RA: Drawing is something that has always come second nature to me. I have been drawing since I was a child and received my most valuable training and inspiration from within the family and under the guidance of the teachers at the Julian Ashton Art School. My pursuit in art stems from the fact that I have an instinct to paint and to draw, just as I do to eat and to sleep.

I never really imagined that it would become a profession but I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to do so through my commercial work with STANCE, Corona, and others that has propelled a hobby into a career. 

CE: Given his high profile, do you feel any pressure to live up to your familial artistic achievements?

RA: Naturally, yes I do. To honour my family’s name is something I take very seriously. Being a student at the Ashton art school was extraordinary but sometimes tough for me; I felt that there was an expectation that my style would reflect the classical, traditional teachings of Ashton’s. I very much enjoyed learning to see the way they do, to describe the form the way that is taught—but my personal style is a little different to that. Learning to draw there, I learnt the rules. Painting in my studio and for my clients, I enjoy figuring out how to break them.

CE: You plan on doing a solo exhibition featuring your artistic renditions of nude celebrities—can you tell us about that?

The notion of celebrity is strange. The curiosity of people on both sides of the camera, of their bodies, and their outfits, and their personal lives is one that is almost unavoidable in these times.

Recently, I was considering my first solo show. I was lucky enough to be given some great advice by Ken Done—another Australian pioneer artist—who suggested that I should always paint what I love to paint, and that is most certainly nudes. For an emerging artist to be afforded an audience with an artist of such wisdom and experience is something I treasure, and advice I will most certainly heed.

Whether the subject of my pieces are celebrities or not, I aim to reveal something unseen, something a photograph or classical approach may skip over—something that only imagination can see.

CE: Can you name-drop any of the celebs to be featured?

RA: Haha, not yet. rose ashton

CE: Given the newfound curiosity about who you are, what would you like readers to know about you that they otherwise might not?

RA: I have worked very hard from a young age. The sudden curiosity is something I cannot be anything but grateful for and I hope that my work across canvas, paper, screen, and print continues to evolve and to be enjoyed.

If I can put a smile on someone’s face and put bread on my own table, then that is enough for me.

CE: Where can we expect to see your work (in any creative capacity) next?

RA: I’m currently working on various private commissions and have just finished the design of my third artist’s collaboration sock with STANCE for release early next year.

As mentioned, I’m in preproduction for my solo show, the details (and subjects) of which are to be announced as they become available.

Follow Rose Ashton on Instagram.