"Really? People think I'm too political for my first day as Mrs. Universe. Did you really think I was going to just sit there and look pretty? Definitely not. I have a title, a platform and a voice to make change and bring awareness to First Nations issues in Canada. I'm getting all this media attention and I'm going to use it to the best of my ability. I'm not your typical beauty queen. Look out... I have a voice for change and I'm going to use it!" ~Ashley Callingbull - Mrs. Universe 2015
Ashley Callingbull also known as Ashley Burnham (married name) is a 25 year old Cree First Nations woman from the Enoch Cree Nation in the province of Alberta, Canada. She is very devoted to her culture and people, and takes pride in her Native Cree heritage, and has shown this through her volunteer work with community elders and aboriginal youth. She's a big supporter of No More Stolen Sisters, an organization that is trying to raise awareness about the BIG problem with violence against indigenous women.
"People think pageant girls are just tall, beautiful, and have nothing to say. I have a lot to say."
Photography (c): (L) AmandaDiaz.com (R)
"It's really terrifying to be a First Nations woman in this Country. I believe we're not getting the attention we deserve... I'm going to keep fighting for justice." ~Ashley Callingbull - Mrs. Universe 2015
She is a professionally trained dancer in tap, ballet, jazz, pointe and performed in the Nutcracker. By the time Ashley reached 10 years old; she had consecutively won all Enoch’s princess crowns.
The first First Nations woman to win Mrs Universe, Ashley Callingbull Burnham, speaks out against the Tory government in Canada: “We are being treated like terrorists if we are fighting for our land and our water.”
In June 2010, Ashley placed 2nd Runner up in the Miss Universe Canada 2010 Pageant. She is the first Cree First Nations Woman to achieve this goal. During her reign as a Miss Universe Canada 2010 finalist, she traveled to hospitals and schools speaking about her life and reaching out to others. The loss of some very close family members have led Ashley Callingbull to also support the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Walk for the Cure, Run for the Lung and mentor underprivileged aboriginal youth. Ashley is also currently the Youth Representative for the Stollery Family Centered Care Network for the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation.
Ashley Callingbull is also an international motivational speaker and role model for many educational institutions, workshops, conferences and award ceremonies. Ashley has spoken at Harvard University, Boston as the keynote speaker for an All Ivy Native Council, TED Talks and WE Day. Ashley's hard work and charity work was recognized as she received the Role Model Award at the Dreamcatcher Gala and she also received the Top 20 Under 30 Award in Canada.
IMPORTANT: Not to be confused with the Miss Universe pageant, Mrs. Universe requires its contestants to be married, and there is no bathing suit portion of the competition. Contestants are judged on the basis of their advocacy, not their looks.