Human Trafficking Survivor Shares Her Story of Triumph

Ashley Nadine is a bold leader, bridal shop owner, author, speaker and business coach who uses faith to overcome the many obstacles life has presented. As a result of being a victim of human trafficking, she was faced with the decision of continuing to live a constrained life filled with fear or pushing forward into a more promising future. After many years of uncertainty, dismay and confinement, the powerhouse rose from the depths of despair to build a life of success. 

Her elegant and luminous shop Ashley Nadine Bridal provides the royal treatment to brides looking to feel grand and sumptuous on their special day with one-of-a-kind wedding dresses. She expresses, “Knowing that I play a part in helping them come alive inspires me. I also love marriage. I love what it stands for and the commitment to another [person].” Her passion is to make women feel beautiful and elevate their special day. 

In her book, Pursue Your Startup, Nadine breaks down how to build your business in five simple steps. The book provides a personalized business plan that motivates rising business owners to step out in faith and inspires proactiveness, which she also implies in her business coaching strategies. Nadine says, “I did not know where to start or what to do when I began. Every business needs a business plan because, without vision, people fall to the wayside.”

Through her nonprofit organization, Limitless, she advocates to stop human trafficking and helps victims through the process of healing. Nadine is dedicated to encouraging people to get back on track and increase confidence by rebuilding their mindset and style. She explains, “I’m not just another number or person. My pain has a purpose. I have passion and drive.” With prayer and faith in God, Nadine has used her gifts and talents to serve others and help make their dreams come true.

HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR

Ashley Nadine: I was mesmerized by my parent’s marriage; my dad adored my mom. I always wanted that prince charming. One day, I was meeting a friend at a party where I met a man who was a lot older than I was. He began to tell me how beautiful I am, leading me to think “This is it, this is the one for me.” A few months later, he took me to a park and I was so excited to know what he was going to tell me. Instead, he slapped me across the face and told me “You’re going to be working for me now, you’re going to be making grown women money.” I was terrified and didn’t know what he was implying from what he said. We went over to his apartment and he drugged me. I was forced into strip clubs at 17 years old, he took my money, identification, located where my parents lived and controlled my life. If I were to tell anyone, they would come after my family. I was living a double life, going to high school in the daytime, getting good grades and being a good student to then go to work at nightclubs. 

THE FACE OF GOD IN THE MIRROR

Ashley Nadine: It got so hard, I moved out and lived with my pimp. I worked at strip clubs for years until I got pregnant. I knew I wanted to keep the baby, but I knew my pimp would have been upset. I decided it was time to tell someone. I snuck away from my pimp and confessed to my friend Amanda from high school about what I was doing and how they were controlling me. She told me, “Ashley, there is a God named Jesus that loves you so much, that if you keep your baby and you leave this lifestyle he is going to provide and protect you.” She gave me a verse about the sparrows that If God provides even for the birds and the sparrows, how much more will your heavenly father provide for you? I was so torn down and felt worthless at the time. 

I was getting ready for work in the back of the strip club dressing room and I took one last look in the mirror and I saw my baby bump. I felt as if God was looking at me through the strip club mirror––I felt his presence. I immediately thought to myself, “I can’t do this, I can’t be in here, I have to get out. God is chasing me right now.”It was a miracle, because I don’t know how I got there. I went home and there was a book on my dresser called “God’s Promises for Women.” For the first time in my life, I opened up the book and read a verse; the verse said, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and I will open the door.” Right in my room with just me and God, I had a moment and said, “Lord if you’re real, then I need you to show me.” I felt the love of God come right into my heart and it changed me forever. I’ve never been the same since that day. Today, my daughter is the joy of my life and continues to give me purpose. 

ASHLEY NADINE BRIDAL

Ashley Nadine: The dream chased me down. I’ve always loved to style women. I started as a personal stylist. I worked with “America’s Next Top Model” and at a retail clothing store. From [those experiences], I’ve found a passion for making women feel beautiful. A lot of women have insecurities. Knowing that I play a part in helping them come alive—finding their style and certain items that make them feel confident inspires me.

PASSION & DRIVE

Ashley Nadine: I know what it feels like to be broken, to have no hope and not believe in myself. I have so many moments like that, but I draw [on] my faith in Jesus. I connect to my Savior and my God in prayer. He is one of the main reasons I have confidence and courage. I believe in prayer and faith in God.

God always has [something] better right around the corner. Your call and your dreams––they’ll chase you. You don’t have to go chasing them. The doors that are open, will open. The doors that are supposed to be shut, will be shut. if you allow the process to take its place, you’ll get where you’re destined to be.

Photography: Raelene Cota
Designer: Kenneth Winston

Makeup Stylist: cindyprostylist 
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