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Actor Appreciation

Ashley Eckstein

Ashley Eckstein is an actress, advocate, entrepreneur & author; what can’t she do? Best known for voicing the role of Ahsoka Tano throughout the Star Wars franchise, Ashley has also had a variety of roles over the years. She cemented her place in Star Wars through Ahsoka and founding HerUniverse, the fangirl fashion company and lifestyle brand “whose mission is to create stylish, fashion-forward merchandise for female sci-fi fans”. She is also a big advocate of mental health, speaking about her own struggles and uplifting fans who share their own. This ray of sunshine and strength deserves a moment to be appreciated. Let's dive into Ashley Eckstein's career and all of her accomplishments.

Origin Story

Ashley was born in Louisville, KY but was raised in Orlando, FL as Ashley Drane. At the age 12, Ashley played (the real-life disability advocate) Helen Keller in a community-theater production of The Miracle Worker. In her early years, she performed on stage as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and Mary Tilford in The Children's Hour. She then became one of the hosts for Sea World's Shamu TV, airing on the Discovery Channel for three seasons. 

Launched in 1997, Ashley was named the National Spokesperson for the TRUTH anti-tobacco campaign. She starred in the first two commercials and was featured on Good Morning America. 

Ashley starred in the Independent Feature Ancient Warriors, starring Daniel Baldwin and Franco Colombo, in which she filmed in Sardinia, Italy for six weeks.

After she moved to LA, she played Admiral Chegwidden's goddaughter, Lisa Rossbach, on the military-justice drama series JAG. Then, in 2002, she played Jan Brady in the TV-movie The Brady Bunch in the White House.

She had a recurring role on the Disney Channel sitcom That's So Raven as Muffy, who was part of Alana's posse. She also played a small role as Alicia in the film Sydney White and Ms. Cole in the film Alice Upside Down (both 2007).

Portraying Many Characters

Let's take a look at some of Ashley Eckstein's roles.

Sofia the First

A small purple bird wearing a necklace and looking cautiously at someone off screen

Ashley lent her voice to Mia the bluebird, the helpful and kind friend to the titular character, Princess Sofia. Mia misunderstands figures of speech and takes them literally. She helps Sofia from the air and provides a bird's eye view of situations. 

Ultimate Spider-Man

Dagger from Ultimate Spider-Man stands looking serious with blue energy around her hands

Dagger, a superheroine and member of the New Warriors, was on Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man. In season 3, Dagger, Cloak and many other young heroes were inspired by Spider-Man's heroic activities. Initially on the Taskmaster's team, Dagger switched sides and joined Spider-Man.

Only Yesterday

Two characters sit at a table looking at a blank piece of paper

In 2016, Ashley was the voice of Yaeko, is the sister of Nanako Okajima and older sister of Taeko, in the English adaptation of Studio Ghibli's beloved film Only Yesterday. Yaeko is very fussy and makes a big deal over things and can be harsh with her younger sister due to Taeko's spoiled attitude.

I am no Jedi

Originating the role in 2008, Ashley has loaned her voice to the former Jedi Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. She has portrayed the character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Forces of Destiny, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Ahsoka is stubborn, reckless and impulsive, while also loyal, generous, and kind-hearted. She has become a fan-favorite and an amazing role model for young fans. 

Affectionately known as "Snips" by her former Master Anakin Skywalker, she was given her nickname during the battle of Christophsis. Her and Anakin have a relationship akin to siblings. This dynamic between these two characters was an important part of the heart of the series. Viewers are able to see the similarities between these two characters, growing attach to them, and ultimately (spoilers!) are heartbroken by the tragedy of Anakin turning to the dark side.

In Ashley's Words, "Ahsoka has become a beacon of hope, light and genuine goodness... It’s my wish that Ahsoka continues to bring people joy, light and most importantly hope. This is the way of Ahsoka Tano."

Her Universe

Founded in 2010, Her Universe came from Ashley’s goal “to build the company into a stand-alone entertainment and merchandise brand and, today, Her Universe is leading the way". Ashley saw that there wasn't that much sci-fi and fantasy merch for female fans. So, she created Her Universe, a groundbreaking fangirl fashion company and lifestyle brand that celebrates fangirls with fashionable styles.

Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Studio Ghibli all license their brands to Her Universe for fantastical fashion and merch. Her Universe is now a stand-alone subsidiary of Hot Topic, Inc., and is expanding into entertainment.

Ashley is quite the entrepreneur and was chosen by Good Housekeeping magazine as one of their 25 Awesome Women for 2016. Her hard work and dedication in creating a space for fangirls to express their love is so amazing and has helped many to be able to share with the world their passions.

Her Stories

In addition to her acting and entrepreneurship, Ashley has also written some books as well. Grab a comfy spot and some Star Wars themed snacks as we take a look at her work.

I Am a Padawan

The book cover of I AM A PADAWAN by Ashley Eckstein

I Am a Padawan is about how Ahsoka Tano learns the ways of the Force from her Jedi teachers Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. A cute little Golden Book is for fans of all ages!

Star Wars Everyday

The cover of STAR WARS EVERYDAY by Ashley Eckstein

This is a unique lifestyle book that has crafting projects, recipes, mindfulness exercises, and party planning ideas. This book's goal is to continue the Star Wars lifestyle all year long.

It’s Your Universe

The book cover of IT'S YOUR UNIVERSE by Stacey Kravetz and Ashley Eckstein

Ashley Eckstein and Stacy Kravetz share Ashley's journey and life lessons from her experiences and some iconic Disney characters to inspire girls to dream big and make their dreams a reality.

Star Wars Mindful Matters

This digital series on StarWarsKids.com and the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel teaches lessons based on the ways of the Jedi. These explore topics such as mental wellness, including breathing techniques, grounding oneself, and facing fears. Not only are Jedi skilled fighters, they also learn how to understand their emotions. With these lessons, children are able to learn the ways of the Jedi and practice it in their lives to have a healthier relationship with their emotions.

Ashley has noted her interest began with her sister, who struggled with issues of anxiety. From her own struggles with mental health, she "use[s] mindfulness techniques of meditation and deep breathing to help me in my daily life”. Whenever she can, she celebrates fans who share their experiences with mental health and illness with her. She is always supportive of her fans and champions the notion that mental health is not a taboo topic and should be talked more freely.