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From Ashro Model to Ashro Contest Judge: Meet Dana

Ashro catalog with a Black model wearing a black top

Dana Todd Pope started modeling for Ashro when we were founded in 2003. As a result, she was one of our first Ashro models on our catalog covers! She was featured on our catalog cover in Fall 2004 (look how beautiful she is 😍). We reconnected with Dana working with Patricia Andrews-Keenan at Pigment International. Dana is a Pigment International artist.

Currently, Dana is a full-time mother and award winning Independent Chicago based visual artist, author and entrepreneur. She co-owns the Women LIVE Artist Studio at Navy Pier, in Chicago, where they feature the artwork of local women artists and makers. She also owns a kids home décor line called Fearlessly Hue® that she sells through some major online retailers! Even with all this, she still finds time to model on the side as well.

Welcome Dana as our new judge!

Black woman posing and smiling for headshot.

We are excited to share that dana is a new judge for our 2023 Onward and Upward Artist Showcase Contest going on now until 9/15/2023

Early Modeling Career with Ashro

Dana worked for a modeling company known as Ford Models in Chicago at the time she first started working with us in 2003 and was selected. Dana shared, “Ashro paid well, treated their models well, and was a good, clean cut brand! That’s why I started modeling for them. Even in my early 20’s, I was careful to align my image with wholesome brands. I knew that I would have to explain it to my future kids one day.”

Dana eventually moved to Los Angeles and had her first child with her ex-husband where she put her modeling career on hold to start a family.

More About Dana’s Art Career

Dana knew at the age of three that she wanted to be an artist however, she didn’t have a lot of support to get to where she is today. She is not formally trained but, started to model as a way to expose herself to the arts. After she became pregnant with her daughter, she decided it was time to pursue her passion. She wrote a business plan with the help of some mentors and then stepped out on faith. “God has been my increase every step of the way. I really do operate in a faith with works mindset.”

The Women’s LIVE Artist Studio in Chicago was started for the community of female artist who are passionate about creating and sharing their art with others. Its members come from a variety of backgrounds but, share the goal of empowering women in the art world. They are located in the Family Pavilion at Navy Pier, right next door to the Chicago Children’s Museum.

A group of women standing in front of art display posing for picture

Greatest Struggle & Triumph, and Dana’s Influences

When we asked what has been Dana’s greatest struggle and triumph, she said, “The answer to both sides of that question is motherhood! It is no small feat raising a human child in this landscape. There are so many negative, outside influences pulling at our children today. When you can successfully raise a well adjusted, well-rounded child who is positively contributing to society, then it really is a triumph. My children make me so proud. I have one entering college and one entering high school. Guiding them through life and witnessing their growth has been the greatest joy of my life!”

Dana’s Influences:

  • My mom, who taught me to eliminate the excuses for why something can’t be done, then do it.  
  • My beloved Chicago!! I love my city! This Midwest work ethic is real. We wake up to blizzards, shovel our cars out, and still make it to work on time. No excuses!
  • Hyde Park- It’s the neighborhood that I grew up in, but it’s so much more. It taught me what a community was supposed to look and feel like. It also taught me what excellence looked like with so many examples of business owners and professionals all around me. It shaped the notion that I can do anything I set my mind to…
  • All of the amazing women in the Chicago arts community, past and present, whose shoulders I stand on. They paved the roads I walk on with ease.  

Volunteer & Mentorship Work

Although Dana does not have a lot of time to spare beyond all the amazing work she does, she still finds time to volunteer as a mentor to other business owners and artists. She also finds time to volunteer for the small business program at her church, donates to charity auctions, and occasionally volunteers to support initiatives helping the homeless.

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