Since my experience away from the Midwest was such an interesting time for myself, I often think about other people who have left the Midwest and what their experiences are like. I decided to launch a series called "Midwest Expat" where I chat with a Midwesterner who has moved elsewhere to see how their Midwest is showing.
Ashli and I have actually never met IRL, but we hit it off right away via Instagram. She came across My Midwest Is Showing, and did a little mention in her story – I messaged her to thank her, and we discovered we had all sorts of things in common, a home base of the Midwest being one of them. I loved doing a Q&A with Ashli and am looking forward to meeting her someday!
Read along to learn more about her life in New York City:
My Midwest Is Showing: What is your hometown, and where do you live now? How long have you lived there?
Ashli Pollard: Born and raised in St Louis, Missouri!!! (314 represennttttt! Yes, I love Nelly). I live in New York City and have for almost 7 years, which is INSANE to me because I moved here thinking I'd spend one year here and go somewhere else more reasonable. Apparently, it's reasonable for me to stay I guess. :)
MMWIS: Tell me about your job. What does it entail?
AP: I have a full time job in the fashion industry working for a very well known UK brand - I work in sales in the corporate office selling outerwear (jackets + coats, etc) to different department stores and I LOVE it! It's way less sales and more psychology. I basically have to predict what people in every major city are going to be buy from those stores about six months ahead of time. It's a lot of pressure, but I love that! I also do some social media consulting for a couple travel brands, small businesses, and online retailers.
MMWIS: What's your lifestyle like? Describe a typical day.
AP: PACKED, which is how I like it!!
I always say it's better to be busy than bored. I like to be at work about an hour early so I can get organized before the chaos begins.
I want to get back into working out in the morning so my day would start around 5am for a workout, then shower and get ready to be in the office by 8:15ish. I'll be in and out of meetings and phone calls until about 5:30ish, and after that I'm either meeting someone for happy hour or dinner or heading home to cook. Cooking dinner is maybe my favorite part of the day – it just makes me feel more relaxed and happy, and I love to do it!
I then try to spend two hours a night working on my blog, Ashli with an Eye, so I will either be writing, planning my posts and my calendar, or scheduling all my Instagram posts for the week. Yes, I do almost my whole week at one time with captions and time of day through an app called Planoly, so that I have the highest optimization power of my social media (I'm crazy).
I tryyyy to do my night routine of washing my face/using serums/moisturizing around 9pm. I drink my chamomile tea and either watch a tv show or read part of a book and try to be asleep by 11pm which never happens lol.
MMWIS: Favorite thing about where you live now?
AP: What I love about New York is that you have everything at your fingertips! Broadway shows, amazing art museums, world renowned restaurants – it's so fun to be able to sample different tastes of life all right outside your doorstep.
MMWIS: What do you miss most about the Midwest?
AP: SPAAAAAAACE!!! What I would do for an affordable apartment with decent space and a dishwasher! I definitely miss that the most. Although, a small space does teach you that you really don't need much.
MMWIS: What don't you miss?
AP: Hmmmm I hate to say it, but I'd say lack of diversity. There are so many ways my eyes have been opened and my views challenged and my boundaries pushed just by being around so many different cultures, ethnicities, languages, religions, etc., and I had zero access to that kind of variances in human nature. I love the compassion it's given me and the ability to empathize in a much deeper way.
MMWIS: What's something you know now that you didn't know living in the Midwest?
AP: How cool the Northeast is!!! Being in NYC, you're just a couple hour drive to Boston, Vermont, Maine, Cape Cod, Philly and super close to other places like DC and Baltimore. Makes quick weekend trips so fun and exciting!
MMWIS: How does your Midwest show in your new location?
AP: It's actually gotten me jobs, believe it or not! My current employer told me that she "loves hiring people from the Midwest because they're always the hardest workers" - everyone on my floor is from the Midwest! It's hysterical! Also, I find that people always say I'm "so happy" or that I'm nicer than most people, and I think that growing up in the Midwest you're just taught a little bit of kindness that maybe other parts of the country don't? Which is strange to say, obviously there are kind people everywhere! But I do hear that consistently.
MMWIS: Do you think you will ever live in the Midwest again?
AP: .....no :( makes me sad to say but I've really fallen in love with the East Coast. All of my father's side of the family is still in St. Louis as well as my brother and his kids and my best friends from college, so I still make trips back at least twice a year. For me, that's good enough if I get to see my people and have a taste of home :)