This Latina’s Abuelita Encouraged Her to Compete on ‘Project Runway’ and She Won

@ashley_nell_tipton / Instagram

Say hello to Ashley Nell Tipton.

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The San Diego native is the season 14 winner of Project Runway.

Her winning collection, which was inspired by 1950s Mexico City, was featured at New York Fashion Week. Get a closer look at Ashley’s collection here.

Ashley is the first Project Runway winner to focus on creating plus-size clothing.

I wasn't lying when I said this back in high school class of '09

A photo posted by Ashley Nell Tipton (@ashley_nell_tipton) on

And she called it when she was in high school! Some people just know what they are meant to do and totally nail it.

Get it, girl!

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READ: How A Plus-Size Latina Model is Using Social Media to Encourage Women to Be Healthy

Ashley’s greatest inspiration is her abuela, who taught her to sew when she was just 7 years old.

“She taught me how to sew at a young age, and I felt like I had nothing else to lose, so I might as well take this chance,” Ashley told People Magazine about her decision to try out for the show. “I’m very, very glad that I did.”

Just two days before her audition for Project Runway, Ashley’s abuela died.

Dear Grandma, You are the most beautiful woman I have ever see. Your smile and laugh lights up a room. I love everything about you from your beautiful blue eyes to your big wear heart. You always knew how to make me smile. You always told me how beautiful I was. Your a mother to me and always be. You have taught me so much, you taught me how to sew and helped me find my creativity. For that I think you for made me the woman I am today. Just to see you smile wears my heart up. You used to spoil me rotten with all my favorite foods. I remember you use to drag me to all your favorite thrift store as a kid, what I would do to just go back to those days with you. Every time we went out you always make sure you looked your best. I'm pretty sure I got that from you. I loved watching The price is right and the Young in the Restless with you every morning. You would call me 10 times a day, just to see what I was doing and to tell me you were thinking about me. I remember when I was a little girl we would have candle lite dinners together, just because. You were the only one who showed me to pray. I'm your little girl, your angle, your pumpkin, your world, your everything. Being able to see you last night to share our last moment, will be something I will never forget. You had me crying, laughing and smiling all at the same time. Watching you take your last breath was beautiful. Now that your gone I've never felt closer to you then now. I've saved you voice mail to never forget your beautiful voice. I know you will always be watching over me and guiding me the right direction. I love you grandma to the moon and back. Love, your Pumpkin. Your in peace May 22,1928-February 24, 2015.

A photo posted by Ashley Nell Tipton (@ashley_nell_tipton) on

“I feel like now that she’s gone, I really have nothing to lose and I want to do this for her because she pushed me so much and she always asked me why I’ve never applied for this show,” Ashley said in her application video.

Your abuelita would be so proud of you right now, Ashley.

Credit: Empire / FOX / Empire FOX / Giphy

Don’t mind me. I think I have something in my eye. And now it’s in my other eye.

With the memory of her abuela and determination to change the idea of beauty on Project Runway, Ashley was off to compete.

Do you know what day it is!?!? It's a new episode of #projectrunway don't miss it on #lifetimetv tonight at 9/8c #designerashley

A photo posted by Ashley Nell Tipton (@ashley_nell_tipton) on

“I decided to become a fashion designer when I couldn’t find clothing that was fashionable in my size when growing up,” Ashley told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “The lack of more fashionable and bold clothing for the plus-sized woman inspired me to create what was missing in the plus-size fashion industry.”

READ: Hot, Plus-Size Latinas Redefining Beauty

When the competition got tough, she remembered her abuela and how much she believed in her.

“I wanted to see how far I could go and here I am today,” Ashley told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “I’m so glad that I did, and I know that my grandmother would be proud!”

Ashley’s whole family played a role in supporting her through this journey.

And let’s face it, with an awesome Latino family like this, it’s hard to lose.

@timgunn and my mom. Look how cute they are!!! #designerashley #projectrunway #lifetimetv

A photo posted by Ashley Nell Tipton (@ashley_nell_tipton) on

Kudos, girl!

Share this story and show your friends how Latinos are changing the world of fashion!

Moments You Know are Too Real If You Were Raised By Abuelita


Moments You Know are Too Real If You Were Raised By Abuelita

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If you were lucky enough to grow up with abuelita in your house, you know that life couldn’t get any sweeter.

She taught you the importance of blending music and cleaning.

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Even though she always did the cleaning and wouldn’t let you do so much as wash a dish.

That said, made sure you knew how to dance.

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After all, how is she going to have nietos if you can’t bust the moves to attract your future esposa?

You were always her princesa no matter what.

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And she always let you know that you could do anything you wanted with a little persistence.

READ: 13 Adorable Photos of Abuelitos and Abuelitas that’ll Make You Believe in True Love

Every day was Christmas when you lived with abuelita.

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Like, literally, every day was just another excuse to spoil you rotten with things you didn’t even know you needed.

And you loved when she shook your hand.

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Because you know it came with extra cashflow.

Abuelita would never let mami or papi lay on finger on you.

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She may have been a disciplinarian when she was a mother, but becoming a grandmother brings out her softer side.

No one encouraged you to chase your passions more than abuelita.

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Me: Mami, yo quiero ser un pintor!

Mami: Ya, mijo. Go study to be a doctor.

Abuelita (on the sly): Mira, hay pintura en mi cuarto. No le digas a tu mamá.

Me: ?Did you ever know that you’re my hero.?

READ: Abuelitas Know Better: Try these Beauty Secrets Now

She was never shy about telling you how beautiful you were.

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Even during your questionable-semi-goth-but-you-still-loved-pink phase.

She taught you how to raise the bar when it came to men.

Credit: @marcorg_ / Twitter

Never settle.

Every meal tasted like it came straight from your favorite restaurant.

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Only packed with love.

And she never skipped dessert, which was always divine.

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Dulce de leche, flan, arroz con leche…the possibilities were endless.

And she always pushed you to eat more.

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It was never just one more bite.

When you were feeling down, abuelita was always there to pamper you.

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Abuelita: Ya, mijita. No llores. Eres mi cielo.

READ: Abuelita’s Nonsensical Tips She Swore Would Help Us Grow Our Hair

And after a long day at work or school, you could always count on abuelita to give the best hug in the world.

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In fact, I could go for one right now.

Share this story so you can your friends can remember the good days. And call your abuelita. She would love to hear from you.

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