I give my good friend Ashley Coffey a huge hug as I see her at the front of Sunny Spot in Venice Beach, CA. I'd just paid seven dollars for valet, I was slightly hungover from drinking prosecco and then half a miller light 40 oz (I went from classy to trashy pretty fast in my drink choices) the night before, and I drove from Atwater to Pasadena to Venice beach with a migraine, but none of that mattered when I sat down and began to catch up with my old friend.
Ashley and I met by chance right as I was graduating from UCLA at the end of 2015. A mutual friend of ours out in North Carolina coordinated an Anderson .Paak interview with her, and suggested we meet since we both lived out on the West Coast. Surprisingly, what would normally be a typical story of two people bailing on plans actually turned into impromptu drinks and the blossoming of a solid friendship. I can't say I see her as often as I'd like to since I moved to the East Side, but over the last year and a half, she's been working on some beautiful projects that reflect her equally beautiful soul, and there was no one I'd rather talk to first than her for Kiku.la.
Privately, her every day focus is still in branding and PR in the music sector, much like how it was when she was working for The Chamber Group when I first met her, but beyond that, she's been focusing on crafting Wetakenote, a budding company that hones in on the inner and outer beauty of everyday people. I can't say for sure that I understand the full details of the direction it's heading towards, but for Ashley, that apparently seems to be half the fun. Spontaneity and being able to adapt to the grooves of this crazy city are Ashley's particular strong suits. While it is technically still under construction, and has been for the better part of the year, stories submitted by regular people are starting to pour in for the page, and Ashley positively glows when she tells me about what she and her boyfriend (also her co-partner on the site) have been building there.
When I ask her what she's been up to lately, she tells me she's been 'spreading positive vibes.' On anyone else on the planet, that would be sure to elicit an eye-roll, but on her, it's the most natural sentence in the world. In reality, she's been working on a couple of different projects. She'd always been a publicist for musicians with a twinge toward marketing and branding, and she exudes a calm, collected cool as she comes up with new ideas and builds her friends and artists to become stronger, smarter, and better versions of themselves.
It's hard to find too many other people who celebrate humanity the way she does. With her, the world looks half full again, as optimistic and as bright as the days of my youth. It's weird, Ashley helps make the world make sense again, and when I'm interviewing her, she easily helps me understand more about my life and we often dive into moments where I realize that suddenly, we're talking about my life and its issues. There's no mountain high enough for either of us, and with Ashley, I suddenly believe that I can walk those high mountains with her.
I catch up with her one more day to wrap up the interview- we grab drinks with a few other girls, and as we talk, she seems vastly interested by every single word that comes out of all of us. Whether we work for a regular office or are a blogger, everything is beautiful and worth celebrating with Ashley.