Ashley Monaghan – People to Watch 2016

Digital media strategist and content creator, musician, LSU student
Hometown: New Orleans

She’s still a full-time college student, but Ashley Monaghan somehow manages to fit much more into her day than just studying for a public relations degree.

Monaghan is the lead singer in the popular local indie band Ship of Fools, a social media wiz for several businesses—such as ETCH Studio and Gaudet Bros.—and a sought-after fashion guru creating look books and promotional materials for brands and fashion designers with her team #GIRLSQUAD.

May her youth work in her favor, because we’re feeling exhausted for her.

• A friend asked her to tag along to NOLA Fashion Week (now Southern Coalition of Fashion & Design) a few years ago, and she fell in love. She volunteered the next year, was asked to return as a coordinator the following year and now—five years later—she’s the operations director for the coalition’s runway shows.

• On working with creatives: “[You meet] the most amazing, inspiring people that work tirelessly to make New Orleans and Baton Rouge greater. Being involved so young, I feel a strong ‘little sister’ bond with a lot of makers and businesspeople in the city. They’ve watched me grow up—which is a little weird, but I’m thankful.”

• On being on stage with Ship of Fools: “Nothing compares to the feeling you get when you’re on a big stage, and everyone in the audience is dancing and screaming your lyrics back at you. I am usually busy and have trouble remaining in the present, but being on stage allows me that luxury of being fully there, mind and body.”

Her plans for 2016:
Besides an internship in New York, thinking about a coinciding East Coast tour with Ship of Fools and maybe even launching an online or print magazine focused on local makers, Monaghan thinks it’s time to dive into working with just one company for a while. “I’ve paved my way for a long time … but as a 20-year-old, there is so much to learn! I’m thinking of working for an agency or something more corporate. My true passion is small businesses and start-ups, so it’ll definitely be a challenge for me personally to step away from what I truly love.”

“The only thing that matches Ashley’s powerful presence on the stage is her masterful marketing abilities in the fashion industry. A vivacious voice in the emerging creative class.”
—Casey Phillips, The Walls Project executive director