Stories of Girls’ Resistance


“I think for them living here every single day, waking up, going to a job that they probably don’t like because people are treating them bad. I think that is resistance in itself because it’s like, I don’t care what you say, I’m doing this because I have to, I’m doing this for me, this is a goal of mine ”

Ashelica's Story

By Ashlee Cox
Former BVI Pageant Queen Ashellica encourages young girls to never take no for an answer when it comes to pursuing your dreams.

Former Miss Teen British Islands Pageant Queen, Ashellica refuses to take no for an answer, especially when it comes to pursuing her dreams of becoming a lawyer and through her platform, encourages other young women to do the same.

Speaking to the Girls Narrative Project, this self-proclaimed self-motivated and success-oriented individual credits her innate resilience to be successful as the driving force that keeps her on track for her goals.

She also noted this was something her father helped to cultivate within her and her four other siblings from a young age, as he encouraged them to never settle for less than they were capable of doing and receiving.

“So I think my need to push back all the time came from my dad instilling that there’s always room for improvement. Don’t ever settle and think that this is it; because there’s always room for growth. Because he would say if I accept a ‘B’, the next time you’re going to come home with a ‘C’ and think it’s okay. No, we want you to go farther than your forefathers, go farther than your father.

So he always preached that to us. If I’m finishing my high school diploma then I’m pushing you and growing you so you can take it a step further. Graduate your Bachelors, and then your Masters and then you keep it going, so at the end of the day the future generation to come can know that they’re capable of doing so much more than settling for mediocre,” she said.

This attitude has been the backbone from which Ashellica draws her motivation to find new and creative ways of pursuing her dreams.

One such example of her resilience was her decision to enter the pageantry world for the first time, where she was the runner up, and then again, where she actually won the title and the prized scholarship.

Ashellica revealed that the first time she signed up for the pageant, her father was very against the idea, however, due to her own perseverance she entered, even as she believed she had no artistic talents, but was lured by  the challenge, her love of pretty dresses and the prize of an academic scholarship.

While she did not receive the scholarship from that pageant, she did however, receive a scholarship coming out of highschool as she ranked 22nd out of 180 students that year.

Speaking on the pageant she did win, she said that the second time around elevated her confidence in herself, especially as she is a very petite woman and she became not only a public speaker, but also an ambassador for the BVI territory.

“So I think wearing that crown kind of opened a door because I got to participate in other regional pageants where I never came home empty-handed. It gave me the ability to go beyond my comfort zone and push my limits as to what I’m capable of. Because there were many times I’m like – nope, I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s too much work.

It not only represents for me, my resistance and resilience towards doing whatever I put my mind to, but it captures a little bit of my personality where I love to speak, I love to encourage others, I love to be a representative of my territory. And it captures the girly essence of makeup and beauty and being all pink and girly,” she said with a laugh.

So what does the term resistance mean for Ashellica?

She told the Girls Narrative Project that it was about never taking no for an answer.

“If it’s an innate desire, a really great idea and something that you’re absolutely passionate about, keep going until you succeed. No matter what life throws at you take those blocks and build on them. Use them to your advantage,” she said.

During the interview, Ashellica spoke candidly about her dealing with depression, when she finally did use her government scholarship and went to study in England.

She explained that over the three months she was overseas, she went through ‘ a very bad phase’ in her life, where she was ‘ beyond depressed’ and requested to return home, even as her relatives were encouraging her to tough it out for a year first.

Once home, she applied to go to the University of the West Indies (UWI), calling it the best decision for her at time, as it even allowed her to meet those who have become like sisters to her.

Speaking more about her depression during her time abroad, she said while she usually had a very optimistic mindset, she had to come to terms with the fact that she had no control over her depressed state or the external factors that fed it.

“So for me as much as I tried, and I tried to be optimistic it just wasn’t there and there were a lot of other external factors, I was worried about finances, the weather in England was absolutely horrid. And I think weather does affect my mood. I’m so accustomed to the bright, sunny blue skies and beaches. Going to England it was just grey skies and rain. I don’t think I was mentally prepared for it, so it really did affect me,” she revealed.

At the time of this experience, Ashellica was around the age of eighteen, soon to become nineteen, and said that it taught her that sometimes life came at you really fast and she just had to do through the phase, taking it day by day. She admitted that there were times when her thoughts become very suicidal and she felt the only way to stop the disparaging thoughts in her mind was to end it all.

“I was literally a battle in my mind, where on one side it’s like you have family that loves you and cares about you and then it’s like no …, nobody loves you and you literally think you have voices in your head and they are talking to you and they are screaming at you and you don’t want to do nothing else, but to shut them up and the only way you think you can shut them up is by ending it. Just ending it all and so that was a big struggle for me,” she said.

She revealed that her breaking point was discovering her long-term boyfriend was cheating on her on top of everything else however, it was her vision of the life she still had for herself that helped her to come from that dark place, as well as turning to God to learn the lesson she was supposed to learn as she navigated her emotions.

At the time of this interview, Ashellica was preparing herself to return to England to continue her studying towards her dreams of becoming a lawyer, and she shared how her refusal to take no for an answer helped her to achieve this goal.

“…But knowing the greatness and the impact but I really need to finish this schooling, it kind of pushed my resistance to another level where I would just to go to… people that I’ve never spoken to before or persons that are of such high prestige that you’re kind of intimidated by them, but you put the intimidation on the side and realize you really have to do this, so just do it.

I think the past year I’ve definitely seen my resistance grow. And I think this upcoming year I’m going to see it grow even bigger because I’m going back to England, which obviously did not end very well for me, but I’ve created my mind set and I’m still working to just remember the end goal, the why you are here, whatever obstacles come you just have to keep pushing, because you have no other choice right now,” she said firmly.

Ashellica already has three programmes that she would like to launch after she is a lawyer including a reading mentorship programme, a cultural programme, which would involve the elders of the territory’s participation in preserving their history and an agriculture program which would help the youth to really connect with themselves through nature.

For Ashellica, the world she is trying to create for girls is one where they can be their true selves, with no one trying to force limiters onto them.

“I think they [girls] tend to bash each other and make things a competition when it’s really not. I think if we can all just come together- and you know, iron sharpens iron. And like I say, I think it goes back to knowing who you are; because if I know who I am, then who you are and what you do shouldn’t phase me. So I think encouraging young girls to reach their optimal potential and knowing who they are and finding their true identity is a must have,” she said.


Artist Description

This image of Ashelica was created by Elizabeth Barrera, who explains their thoughts behind the illustration: Ashelica is a lawyer and something that is very important for her is the crown when she won a beauty pageant. I was inspired by the image of justice is blind, dressed in traditional colors from the British Virgin Islands. The drawing is welding a sword representing the strength and power of a woman’s interior warrior.

Secrets of a BVI model

Aphia Blugh

Iv bin to hell and back , as a survived of depression a hero to my heart and  a suppresser of emotions, letting like take my hand one step at a time has bin nothing but a test run that I keep on failing  people keep on asking me questions “what makes you happy “ on that stage a state of shock always passes on my face as if I don’t know the answer to it , it would appear that I do but deep down I ask myself that everyday.

Suicidal thoughts always infiltrate my mind , so there’s no room left for positive thinking,  I try my best to let positivity take control but it only happens on the stage , they say the world is a beautiful place but if u look at the world through my eyes it’s just bad , the voices in my head can protest on how bad it is .

The voices that always keep me up at night , the voices that tip the scale all the time , I can never get them to stop , my brain and heart always at war fighting a war that is always left at a draw for there’s no winner.

Being told your loved and seeing it is suddenly a norm but I heard it to much and now I don’t believe it . The person I even loved more than myself ruined me , was the death of me , contributed to my mental destruction . Life mentally was already deteriorating and my boyfriend contributed to life being the death of me . He knew that he can do damage but still managed to let me fall.

“I remember thinking about the way I was going to die and the way I was going to die was , I was gonna do it “(billie eilish) .Crying behind the bathroom door wishing for God to appear and speak to me waiting for my sorrow to go away I could feel all the main wanting to force its way out my chest the burning sensation the aching heart , pounding headaches , tired eyes and weak body  . The pain  could only be seen from the marks on my hand . He didn’t hurt me , my expectations did and that’s what’s killing me inside . “you broke my heart but I still managed to cry for you “  words I want to say but can’t because some things are better off left unsaid ,” but go ahead and break my heart again I’m used to all of it why not take your beat shot “.

And even if u look closely the pain still wouldn’t be seen because I’m “ the confident beautiful bvi model “ I have to live up to the crowds expectations in the process of suppressing  emotions to justify the actions of others in my life . It was always and still is a norm of suppressing my emotions to smile to others and pretend that everything is okay I’m used to lying about my emotions that way.

I’m still searching for that deeper meaning behind the voices , we know it’s not true when I say I’m fine but it’s the quickest answer to give someone to avoid questioning right? I do what I have to do to prove something to the crowd but who am I fooling  I do it to suppress what I feel inside ,so often I contemplated on drugs and alcohol as a source to get rid of the voices but I couldn’t cause I have something to prove and a purpose on earth hoping to see that sooner than later.