Ashley Tisdale Shares Her Secrets for Success
Maintaining a work/life balance with one full-time job is challenging enough, but five? Well now that’s just crazy, right? Not for Ashley Tisdale. The actress is redefining what it means to be a girl boss with her impressive, ever-expanding résumé, which includes owning a production company (Blondie Girl Productions), co-founding a lifestyle site (The Haute Mess), launching a cosmetics line (Illuminate), and serving as the newly appointed creative director for T-shirt brand Signorelli. And at 30 years old, Tisdale tells us she’s just getting started.
Slowing down is not an option for Tisdale, who at the Michele Marie PR offices in Los Angeles, home of Signorelli, revealed that she is often her happiest when she is busiest. So with a career going full speed ahead, the questions had to be asked: How does she manage it all? And where is Ashley Tisdale, the entrepreneur and the brand, going from here? Keep reading for our exclusive interview with the star.
MYDOMAINE: You have acting, your production company, the website, a cosmetics line, and Ashley Tisdale x Signorelli. How do you juggle it all?
ASHLEY TISDALE: Obviously acting is my main and number one priority, but I’m just such a workaholic and love being creative, and with these different ventures I’m able to do that. You know, I’m not always in front of the camera. I may do a series and then I might have time off, or do a movie and then have time off, so even when I am doing that series or movie, I’m still actively working on all of these different projects. I started to realize, You know I’m turning 30 and I want to do all these different things. I always had a fear of what if it doesn’t work out, or what if this happens, or what if people don’t see me as an actress anymore. But nowadays you can do it all. I saw throughout having a production company for eight years that yeah, I produce and stuff, but I’m still able to do acting, I’m still able to balance that, and so I can balance even more stuff. I just felt like, why not? Just go out and do what you want to do and be creative. I’m 100% within in everything and I love being a part of that process, but it’s about aligning myself with really great teams.
MD: Do you have any motivational tips or tricks for those days when you're feeling flat?
AT: There are definitely days, in any business, where you have a bad day. It can be something that doesn’t turn out right, a design doesn’t look as good as you thought, the packaging isn’t exactly where it should be, and it can feel defeating. I think for me, I always like to start every day as a new day. I don’t like to drown in that negative space. I’m a very positive person. It’s like yes, feel this now, and know that there’s got to be corrections or this is something you have to handle, but tomorrow is a brand-new day and it will bring brand-new ideas, and we’ll figure this out. I only allow myself a little bit of sadness or defeat. Especially in the acting business, things can change over night. And for friends of mine who have been in acting and are trying really hard, I say: Listen, it’s amazing how things can change if you just keep going at it and you keep learning and growing and don’t quit.
MD: What is a motto, phrase, or affirmation that drives and inspires you everyday?
AT: I have to say Girl Boss inspires me. I love that. My girlfriend gave me a cup that says Girl Boss for Christmas, and it’s so great for coffee in the morning, because it just inspires me for the day. But then there is a funnier saying that my team and I always joke about, which is “shut it down.” That is usually, “Oh no this isn’t good, just shut it down.” That’s something we have fun with and it makes us laugh. But I think, you know, just never give up. It’s not a quick saying, but I have a whole thing that I’ve always lived by, it’s something that my mom wrote me in a card when I think I was like 14. It says: “What matters most is not reward, praise, or pride. What matters most is at the end of the day you tried.” And that’s all you can do in this life is just try.
MD: Do you write a goal list or create vision boards to keep you on task?
AT: Vision boards are a must. I’ve been doing them for a long time, and I believe in that stuff, because a lot of stuff comes true on my vision boards. I feel like it helps organize your thoughts. I can obviously be all over the place with everything I do, so setting goals for each of those projects and having it there to look at every morning and remember is important.
MD: What is your morning routine?
AT: I have to say coffee is the first thing. Usually I will go through my Instagram and Twitter. I feel it’s a newsfeed at this point, so I will go through those to stay on top of everything. And then I will skim through Deadline for production and a couple of other websites on what is hot and happening. I look at The Haute Mess daily, just because I’m not always in the offices and I like to see what’s happening on the site every day. And then I go to my office at Blondie Girl Productions. I like to start my day off there, because it just immediately gets me into work mode and I feel like I can be on top of what’s happening on the production side and also what’s happening with everything else. Really, I’m just on the phone a lot. I’m a go-getter; I’m not someone who waits to hear about something, I will always ask. I like to be on top of things. I have to check the calendar on my phone daily. I live by that. If I don’t check it, I won’t show up.
MD: The Haute Mess is a great lifestyle space where your audience can share their personal stories. What prompted you to start the site?
AT: I have so many followers on Twitter and Instagram and I felt like there was a need for something in the digital space of things for me, and I just wanted a place for [my fans] to go to where they really got to know who I am and what I like to do and where I am in my life. I knew I wouldn’t have the time to do it all my own stuff and to do it daily, so I got together with my team and talked about how we could do something that is different, and we decided to do an editorial content platform to use my audience and to have contributors contribute their stuff exclusively to The Haute Mess. And really the voice behind The Haute Mess was that for me, at every stage of my life I’ve always felt liked a hot mess. I remember telling my husband when we first started dating, “Oh, if only you had seen me at my best.” But he loved me for that any way, and I realized to embrace that part of me. I love to be a perfectionist, and I love seeing fashion bloggers with the perfect outfit every day, and that’s amazing to live up to, but are we really always like that? A lot of the time we aren’t. So I’m all about women empowerment, and I really just wanted to have a space where women got together and figured their stuff out together and were honest about being a hot mess at times and that that is okay and to embrace it.
MD: What about Signorelli and your cosmetics line, Illuminate? How did you get involved there?
AT: Specifically, what I love about Signorelli and Illuminate is the price point. A lot of why I was inspired to do a clothing line was because I didn’t realize the other lines that I purchased were so expensive. Even with the makeup line. Yeah I love having really awesome designer makeup, but at the same time, it’s makeup. You can still do a great formula at a better price point for the fans and my audience. So that’s really what inspired all of this.
MD: Do you have any favorite pieces from the new Signorelli collection?
AT: I love so many of them. I love Need Coffee ($39), Let’s Brunch ($39), and Surf Paris, which I wear in the lookbook. It’s hard to pick a favorite.
MD: Who are some women who have inspired you throughout your career?
AT: Jennifer Anniston as an actress, for sure. I love her comedy, but also that she does dramas as well. I think she is absolutely amazing. But I always was a huge fan of Jessica Simpson from the very start. Monique Coleman from High School Musical always used to make fun of me about it. She was like, “Why Jessica Simpson?” And I was like, “I think she is a lot smarter than people think.” And then to see what she has built! It was recently that Monique was like, “Now I get it, now I understand why you liked her so much.” I just knew it. I knew she had it in her. Seeing that and what she’s done with her company was just so inspiring.
MD: What have been some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?
AT: To never give up, first and foremost. I’ve been in the industry since I was three, and I remember right before Suite Life of Zack and Cody, I almost gave up. I had been doing it for so long and wasn’t getting to that point and then that happened. So I think throughout everything you have to have faith and know that it will work out if you just keep going at it and keep learning, because it’s important to grow and get better at what you do. But yeah, take control of what you want and go after it. And know that it’s going to be hard work. The most valuable lesson, too, is don’t think about what it will do, just be in the moment and present and excited for what you’ve created. And that’s all you can do. And then hopefully everyone loves it!
MD: What was the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome professionally?
AT: Probably that everyone still thinks I’m the character from High School Musical. It’s like a blessing and a curse. It was the best thing that we did and I’m so grateful, however, every project I’ve gotten since then has been me proving to them that I’m not that character. It’s a little hard at times, but I know who I am and know that I don’t always play that character. It’s just easy to put someone in a box. It only takes time.
MD: What do you know now that you wish you knew in your early 20s?
AT: That everything is going to work out. I just feel so much more confident and solid in myself. I had bad relationships and was trying to figure things out. Now I’m just like oh my gosh, if only I knew, I would have been like I’m cool. But also, in my 20s there was so much stuff going on. I was traveling the world touring with music and doing movies, and I loved doing all of that stuff, which is what prompted me to do all of this now. I had a minute where I was auditioning and not really using my creativity, and I felt like I was more at the mercy of doing things for other people. I took control over that and started doing things for myself. That’s why I created a production company. It’s awesome to go out for roles that you really want, but also it’s nice to be able to create the best thing for yourself. I would definitely miss being busy.
MD: What are you looking to accomplish next?
AT: I think developing my own series to star in. Over the last couple of months I’ve thought to myself if I’m not finding the character that would be really different for me, then why not create it myself? So that’s a main priority for me.
Who are the girl bosses that inspire you? Tell us in the comments below!