Sometimes I feel like I am one of the luckiest people on the planet, and today is one of those days because I had the great pleasure of interviewing someone very special. Her name is Asher Jay and she is an exceptional writer, speaker, artist, and changemaker—not to mention one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve met. Her artwork can be seen all over the world and her artistic flair resonates with audiences around the world.
I asked Asher to take a moment and write a short piece reflecting on the challenges today’s world faces. Within minutes, she drafted this amazing piece. I encourage you to read and share it with those you care about. It’s worth the time.
Hope from the Brink by Asher Jay.PDF
After reading Asher’s comments, I asked her a few questions. I hope you will like the interview and appreciate her honest sincerity and vision as much as I did.
- What do you like the most about what you do?
I love that I learn something new daily, and learning is profoundly addictive to a curious mind. I almost love that as much as I enjoy the expansive freedom my passion affords me. I get to travel extensively and connect to life through first hand experiences: What more could a wild child like me ask for?
- What or who inspires you the most and why?
Wild inspires me the most because it unfolds in the present tense: it is adaptive, responsive, and uncorrupted. I find that time and again, simply by observing wild, I am compelled to be a better being.
- How do you stay so grounded and happy when you know animals are dying at the hand of man everyday?
An individual has power, yes, but together as an interdependent group, we are empowered. It’s the cumulative, interdependent impact that matters, not stand alone victories.
- Do you think your art is making a difference and if so, how?
A kid from Shanghai came up to me in DC after he heard me give a talk, and his exact response was, “I cannot believe you are the artist who created those campaigns. I remember seeing them on billboards in my city. They made so many people stop and take notice….I really cannot believe you are here in front of me now.” This kid, he is one of many who make me feel like what I do makes a difference, because it certainly affected him, and that is enough for me.
- Out of all the art pieces you have created over the years, which is your favorite and why?
The iStorm Faberge Egg. Because it was so detail oriented and so difficult to produce and varnish in earth safe materials for public outdoor display, it is a creation I will never forget. Compress 9 months into 1, and you’ll know what separation anxiety I felt when I had to part with this artistic offspring of mine.
- What message do you have for the youth of the world?
You have impact now, irrespective of your awareness of it. In growing more aware, you can channel your impact to make a positive difference to all living beings on earth. Grow aware. Care. Act now.
- What is one thing that you would like the readers to consider doing that will truly make a difference for the future?
Commit to evolving your participation on this planet, because whether you are apart from or a part of this irreplaceable biosphere will come to determine the fate and future of countless lives sustained on it.
I don’t know about you, but after hearing and actually absorbing Asher’s answers, I get a sort of warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that such an inspirational person is working to help animals worldwide.
Learn more about Asher by visiting her personal website, checking out National Geographic’s video profile on her, and watching Asher’s video on the slaughter of elephants for ivory.
Stay tuned next week as we learn all about The Kraft Family.
Olivia Ries is our National Geographic Society Youth Empowerment writer. Together with her brother Carter, she hopes to inspire others to realize that “Anybody can make a difference… if they can, you can too.” Make sure to check out their TEDxYouth presentation along with their website at OneMoreGeneration.org and also ‘LIKE’ their FaceBook page as well 😉