Posted on October 25 2016
ASHLEIGH Ridgeway made a vow. Kate Watts had a dream.
A year ago Ashleigh’s vow was to lose weight. Weighing 102kg, she knew she had to change for her own “health and well-being”.
“I wanted to feel good about myself,” she said.
But the discipline of a diet was tough because the 34-year-old was surrounded by food. She owns Dome cafes in Victoria Park and Mount Hawthorn and Wasabi Monkey at Fiona Stanley Hospital.
She couldn’t beat the bulge on her own so she followed a diet created by Perth psychologist Ali Dale called shrinked.com. And it worked.
She lost 37kg and was confident enough to enter yesterday’s Myer Fashions on the Field contest.
Kate Watts’s dream is to showcase WA fashion at the big racing carnivals around the world.
The Perth designer created the label Only One Ashley in memory of her late daughter, Ashley. Born with a terminal brain condition, Ashley passed away in 2009 aged 18.
Watts was only 14 when she fell pregnant with Ashley, after being sexually assaulted by an older man known to her family.
So when Ashleigh searched Instagram for an outfit and saw Only One Ashleyshe contacted Kate because of the same-sounding name.
As they chatted, the designer revealed her back story to Ashleigh who broke down in tears.
“I phoned Kate to talk about my outfit and I ended up crying down the phone,” Ashleigh said.
After their emotional connection, Kate designed a dress for her new friend and Ashleigh warily “strutted her stuff” at Ascot yesterday afternoon.
The judges liked what they saw. She won first prize in an A-line skirt and high-neck top in orange citrus contrasted with cobalt blue. She wore a headpiece by self-taught WA milliner Anita Carr.
The designer and the dress-wearer hugged and cried after the announcement with Watts saying: “I started a racewear label to put WA on the map for race day fashion so this is a dream come true.”
And Ashleigh’s vow was also fulfilled.
“This was my reward,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to wear this dress if I hadn’t lost the weight”.
The mother of two will go on to represent WA at the National Final of Myer Fashions on the Field at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Crown Oaks Day, on Thursday November 3.