Name: Ashley Hanna
Family: Jodi (mother), Dave (father), Jordan (sister)
Hometown: Newport News, Va
Current Town: Los Angeles, Calif
What Years at UGA: 2008 – 2012
School/Degree: Grady School of Journalism, BA Mass Media Arts, Music Business Certificate
Profession: Television Writer/Producer
What life lessons did you learn while at UGA?
“Really being on my own for the first time taught me how to be independent and rely on myself, but it also revealed the power of relationships. Knowing how to show up for yourself is one of the greatest things you can learn, but having other people in your corner and friends you can count on is such a gift. I think being able to understand and find that balance was really special.”
What professor did you most admire (and why)?
“David Barbe, Tom Lewis and Ansley Stewart were three of my favorite people at UGA. David and Tom had taken over the music business program right before I started it and they just made it so much fun. They were so accessible to us and being in their classes just felt different; it was less about learning“what to think” and more about “how to think.” They gave us incredible opportunities to really dig into the community and get involved in things, from putting on benefit shows at Nuci’s space, to working at places like 40 Watt. They let us learn by doing and were incredibly supportive every step of the way. They still do a great job of keeping in touch and connecting alumni and they made my experience at Georgia really special.”
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
“I don’t think I can claim something as powerful as a ‘greatest achievement’ at this point, but I would have to say I’m really proud of the life I’ve built in LA and what it’s given me in return. I moved here just 11 days after I graduated from UGA. I immediately started a night job where I was basically alone at a desk covering breaking news, in a city where I only knew a handful of people, on the opposite side of the country from my family and friends. It wasn’t always easy and unfortunately, apartments in LA don’t come complete with a foolproof guide to making it in Hollywood. There was so much I had to figure out. I just really leaned into everything I could and tried to learn as much as possible. Somehow it worked and I’m still here almost six years later. So to be able to have carved out a space for myself here feels like a real accomplishment. I feel really lucky to wake up here every day and get to create things.”
Who are your heroes in real life?
“My mom and dad because they’re simply the best humans I know and have shown me what hard work and determination really looks like. Beyond them, women who are bold and stand up for what they believe in inspire me every day. I think women are the ultimate heroes, especially in 2017.”
Quote to live by:
“Find your joy and let it run your life.”
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
“My idea of perfect happiness is being surrounded by friends and family on the beach where there’s orange wine on ice.”
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
“I value honesty, kindness, and loyalty above all else. And humor. My friends are all so funny and we’re really quick, so you have to be able to keep up in this group.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I don’t know that there’s something I’d necessarily change. We’re all too hard on ourselves, so I think for me, it’s less about trying to change things and more about learning from whatever those things might be and evolving. At the moment, I’m defnitely working on being more present and living in the now. I feel like I’m always 10 steps ahead of myself, trying to figure out ‘what’s next.’ Sometimes I don’t do a very good job of being in the moment and soaking up the experience, so I’m trying to lean into slowing things down.”
Who are your favorite writers (and why)?
“There are a lot of TV and comedy writers that I’m obsessed with: Megan Amram, Joe Mande, Paula Pell, Katie Dippold, I mean, there are just so many and I don’t even really know how to unpack all of them. I also love reading about bold, funny women, so Mindy Kaling, Whitney Cummings, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Jessi Klein – I have all their books stacked up in my bedroom and they’re so, so good.”
Fave social media and who to follow (and why)?
“I really love Instagram because it can be used so many diﬀerent ways. It’s a creative space, but I also get a lot of information there and my feed is an eclectic mix of things I love. @bonappetitemag, @rapo4, and @alisoneroman are some of my go-to accounts for all things food-related. @marissaaross and @helenswines are great wine resources and just all-around awesome women. @shopbando and @jengotch because the brand is all about having fun. I’m also super obsessed with @elainewelteroth right now. She’s the Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue and she’s just the epitome of cool.”
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