Ashley first came to the world’s attention in Barneys New York’s groundbreaking Brother, Sisters, Sons & Daughters campaign, shot by Bruce Weber and featuring other models who happened to be trans. However, as he tells trans activist Paris Lees, the spotlight had a darker side.
“People were really nasty and for about three weeks, I just couldn’t stop reading the comments,” Ashley said of the Instagram trolls. “I knew I shouldn’t have, but I kept reading and the more I read, the worse the comments got.
“I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone.”
But, as he went on to reveal, Laith learned to love himself and ignore the haters through therapy. “I would self-destruct, I would disappear because I didn’t want to be here. For a long time I prayed to God to let me die,” he said. “I’d think I hate life, hate being trans, hate the world. I was very negative. I still struggle with that from time to time but remind myself I’m pretty blessed. I have a family who [is] supportive. They may not agree with who I am, but they do love me. I had the privilege of going to school. I have the privilege of this experience. I love who I see in the mirror now.”