“Life is not as it should be, not as it could be. It is what it is. Get on with it.”
Ashley Hayden is one of South Africa’s favourite Master of Ceremonies. The face of M-Net, the familiar voice behind countless brands, South Africa’s in-demand MC and public speaker, Ashley is one of the best-loved personalities, bringing her warmth and authority to her work; a balance achievable only through many years of experience in the industry.
Ashley has various fields of expertise; in addition to her voice-over and live anchor work, she produces and directs for television and she provides media training courses, presentation skills training and her personal ‘Women Mean Business’ course.
However, there is always time for a bit of fun; Ashley’s jive on SABC 2’s Strictly Come Dancing is still talked about and she’s tried her hand at deprivation on M-Net’s Celebrity Survivor in 2010.
Proving that blondes are in fact smarter than the competition, she won the centenary Weakest Link against a field of determined (brunette) rivals.
About Ashley Hayden:
Ashley grew up in small towns across Zimbabwe. “Kinda nerdy”, she only “grew into her teeth at the age of 18”. Ashley attended eight schools growing up, so she was always somewhere new: “I look back nostalgically to a time where kids could ride their bikes unsupervised and splash through puddles after rainstorms. I love the holidays that we take with our kids where there is no technology, no cell phone signal and we actually have conversations” she says.
Ashley has been in the circuit for a couple of decades and it all started for her when she was asked to talk to a group of mothers and daughters for a Mothers’ Day talk: “I loved it and I never looked back. Women are wonderful listeners.”
We asked Ashley how she has changed since she first started speaking: “I have realized that you can only include the stories that will resonate. We all have stories – some of them are self-indulgent and not relatable. I try to pick ones that will speak to people”.
“I love the thought that something I related made people feel something” says Ashley on what she enjoys most about professional speaking. “… Whether its inspiration, amusement, tenderness, outrage – you gave them a rainbow for those minutes that you spoke”.
Ashley’s life ambition is to achieve balance in all things. She tries not to push herself too hard in any one area. With that said, “Life is darn busy, so never mind push – it often feels like you are being pulled in many different directions at once”.
A few things you may not know about Ashley:
Ashley volunteers with the Guide Dog Association and she has been a patron for their charity ball for the last couple of years. The Homestead is one of Ashley’s favourite charities – “I went to try to win the money on Celeb Survivor for them – they look after street children”. Ashley also loves the work that the Reach for a Dream Foundation does for children with grave illnesses and she tries to help out where she can.
‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen best describes Ashley’s work ethic.
She loves to watch House of Cards – she has just finished ‘binge watching’ the first season: “Kevin Spacey’s character is deliciously, frighteningly manipulative”.
If she were not a professional speaker, she would want to be a Lotto millionaire.
“I hope there is no loadshedding tonight!” is what she thinks most often about when she’s alone in her car.
Ashley currently offers three keynotes; ‘The Game of Life”, “Women Mean Business” and “3 Suitcases and R100”.