We have official confirmation. The founder of Her Universe and the power behind Ahsoka Tano, Ashley Eckstein is the coolest person on the planet!
Have I mentioned that I’m a fan of Ashley Eckstein? Only 500,000 times? Well, let me say it again for the people in the back: I am a HUGE fan of Ashley Eckstein!
I mean, how could I not be? She voices Ahsoka Tano, arguably the best character in the Star Wars universe (seriously, she’s a fantastic and groundbreaking character). She is the founder of Her Universe whose goal is to make it possible for fangirls to represent their fandoms in the most fashionable way possible (something that, before Ashley Eckstein stepped in, was severely lacking). Oh, and she wrote a fantastic, inspirational new book called It’s Your Universe: You Have the Power to Make It Happen. If you haven’t bought her book yet, go buy it now!
Speaking of her book, Ashley Eckstein recently launched her book tour. Fortunately for me, she came to St. Louis and I road tripped with my buddy and fellow Site Expert, Neil Harrington, to go listen to her speak and get our books signed.
They say that meeting your hero is never a good idea, because you are, more often than not, disappointed. However, Ashley (can we be on a first name basis now that I met her and am one step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming her friend? Yes? I’m gonna roll with it) is most definitely an exception to this rule. She was even cooler and kinder than I had expected, and I really didn’t think that was possible because I had the highest possible opinion of her, to begin with.
There were 700 people that showed up to the event instead of the 300 that were originally expected…that is a lot of people to greet and sign books for. I would’ve been completely exhausted, maybe even a little bit grumpy. Not Ashley though. She was all smiles and enthusiasm with every single fan that came to her table to get a book signed.
In addition to the signing, Ashley Eckstein gave a brief talk and did a quick Q & A with fans about her book. Another special guest appeared with her: her husband, former MLB star and 2006 World Series MVP, David Eckstein! He is seriously just as awesome and cool as she is! In my humble opinion, they’re basically the ultimate power couple.
Neil and I made sure to get front row seats for the Q&A (if you look closely you can see us right up front in Ashley’s Instagram video). Ashley and David were so much fun to hear speak. The two shared stories from the book and some personal anecdotes that had the whole crowd rolling.
One of the funniest things that the Ecksteins shared with the crowd was how little David knew about Star Wars before meeting Ashley. Apparently, for the longest time, he thought it was a ‘lifesaver’ and not ‘lightsaber’ (I mean, it does save lives…so I suppose that makes sense).
After he retired from baseball, David joined Ashley when she went to various comic conventions and helped at the Her Universe booths. He told us during the interview that basically he now sells women’s clothing. It was so cool to see and hear about how much they both support each other in their endeavors.
Another one of my favorite stories was the story of how Ashley landed the role of Ahsoka. It was such a fantastic story of resilience and determination.
After a long day of auditions, Ashley went into an audition for the role of Padme in the animated Clone Wars film. She was feeling so discouraged because she didn’t feel like she could do a good imitation of Natalie Portman (who the voice was supposed to be modeled after) and was sure that she wouldn’t land the role.
So sure, in fact, that she considered leaving the audition. She actually got into her car and called her agent to tell him that she was about to ditch the audition. Thankfully, his response was to tell her that she’d better not leave and to get back inside.
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I’m sure we are all so glad that she did because even though she was right about not getting the role of Padme, she was asked to audition for the new, secret role of Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s Padawan.
So, she auditioned and eventually got a callback. She was told that for the callback she needed to work on her Icelandic accent. Can you imagine Ahsoka with an Icelandic accent?
So, she went to an accent coach and spent four hours learning how to sound Icelandic. When she got to the interview, she only got a couple of sentences in before Dave Filoni stopped her and said that her accent wasn’t Icelandic enough.
Having just spent ALL DAY with an accent coach, Ashley was, understandably, a little frustrated by this so she told Filoni:
"“I’m actually doing an Icelandic accent, so I’m not really sure what you want from me…”"
Those of you who know anything about Ahsoka probably won’t be surprised that this is what got her the role. Filoni and crew were looking for a someone who was snippy (Ahsoka’s nickname in The Clone Wars series is Snips, after all) but not mean or bratty. And so, we got our Ahsoka!
What a cool story of resiliency, of hard work, and of being yourself always!
After the talk, Neil and I got in line and got our books signed! Getting to meet Ashley was SUCH a dream come true for me! We even got to snap a quick picture with her and David, AND I got to give my hero a hug (so, we’re officially friends now, right?).
Seriously you guys, Friday night was awesome and Ashley Eckstein is truly just the coolest person on the planet. She is such a fantastic example of hard work, positivity, and helping others.
If you want to know more about Ashley Eckstein, give her book a read and you can learn all about her journey into the world of Disney and how and why she created Her Universe. Also, sure to follow “Her” on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!