Few fields are as demanding and competitive as modeling. Beauty, humility, self-awareness, drive — to succeed, a model must have all these traits in spades. With all that and so much more, Canadian beauty Ashiko Westguard truly stands out in the crowd. With an exotic allure, inimitable charm, and a down-to-earth attitude that stems from her roots as a girl growing up in a small town, Westguard has defied the odds and made a lifelong career for herself in front of the camera.
Westguard began her career when she was just 18 years old, and by 19 she was modeling in Japan and Korea. From Revlon to Garnier, Sony to Nike, innumerable companies around the globe have chosen Westguard as the face of their advertising campaigns. But throughout it all, she has remained true to the values she grew up with in the small town of Innisfil in Ontario, Canada.
“Innsifil has made me humble. Every time I would come back from Japan, Paris, London or New York City, Innisfil just made me feel like a normal person,” Westguard reminisced. “It’s grounded me and it gave me my roots.”
Possessing all the best qualities of a model, and completely free of the pretensions which mar many of those in the field, Westguard is a natural first choice for agencies and artists alike. Recently, she was featured in photographer Ben Bonnici’s Sysneye gallery exhibition. In the installment, Westguard is shown dressed in ballerina’s attire. Viewers first see Westguard holding a graceful, almost meditative pose against a white backdrop. Elegant and focused, the piece provokes a sense of tranquility in the viewer.
In the following pieces, the background and surroundings gradually transition to a darker, heavily-shadowed environment. Westguard’s poses in the pieces that follow coincide perfectly with that change in tone. In the second piece – a three-frame portrait – she stares deeply through the camera, her dark eyes peering past the lens to meet the viewer’s gaze. Her ballet slippers, carefully untied, sit by her side as she sits and lithely stretches, first reaching forward and then to either side. The gray backdrop draws the viewer’s attention first to Westguard’s face, with its exotically expressive features, then to her deceivingly delicate frame.
Though best known for her illustrious modeling career, Westguard has dreamt of becoming an actress since childhood. Growing up she was highly active in theater groups, frequently performing on stage in a variety of productions. She credits that experience with allowing her to overcome the shyness which once gripped her; today, it’s hard to imagine a time when such a versatile beauty was ever bashful.
“I had such a hard time overcoming being shy, yet I wanted to be an actress more than anything,” Westguard recalled. “I laugh now at how silly that sounds. But somewhere, somehow I got over being shy… well it’s still there a little.”
That lifelong dream is finally a reality. Through her talent and determination, Westguard now has the rare distinction of being one of a small number of models who have established themselves as actors; and in the film and television industry, such a crossover is no small feat.
“Modeling makes you so aware of your body, but as an actor you want to be natural and not pose,” she said, recalling the adversity she faced when she began acting professionally as an adult. “I think I had to earn respect from casting directors and really earn my place and show them I was not just a pretty face but a talented one.”
This year, she wrapped filming on the first episode of “The In-Between Years,” a series that looks at a family entangled in a web of drama. Westguard plays the role of Helen, a young woman who has recently married an older man. When her husband is hospitalized, Helen finds herself surrounded by his angry ex-wife and the resentful children from that previous marriage. Together at his bedside, Helen must keep her cool and remember what matters most — the man she loves. The gripping series also co-stars Andy Dick (“Love,” Road Trip”) and Katy Townsend (“Fallout 4,” “Finding Neighbors”).
Over the years Westguard has also become known for a number of roles in television series including “Painkiller Jane” and “Kaya,” as well for her starring performing in the feature film role “A Dark Matter,” a supernatural thriller released in 2013.
With immense talent as a performer, it is clear that no medium is out of bounds for Miss Westguard. Her charisma and unwavering dedication, combined with her exotic mystique and richly expressive features and body language make her an instantly captivating figure. Whether it’s on screen or on a magazine cover, the image of Ashiko Westguard is one you just can’t take your eye off of.