Walk through any store and you will see Ashly Covington’s hands on everything from the product packaging of Reynolds Wrap and Hamilton Beach to book covers for the Eat This! Not That! series. Turn on the TV and you can catch Ashly’s hands pouring bottles of Miller Lite, swirling razors for Gillette or opening delicious desserts for Jell-O. Ashly’s hands have appeared in numerous magazines including Woman’s World, InStyle and O Magazine. She has been the celebrity hands for Brooke Shields, Charlize Theron, Adrianna Lima and Marilu Henner.
No matter the medium, Ashly Covington is enjoying earning her place in the world of body modeling as one of the top hand models.
Growing up in Virginia, Ashly’s first love was acting and she started pursuing her dream at a young age. When she was 12 she landed a spot as one of the co-stars for the Saturday afternoon children’s TV show WTVR TV 6’s For Kid Sake Ambassadors, where she learned about public speaking and news broadcasting. Ashly acted with the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Theatre with Children for Children program and in many productions throughout her high school and college years. Ashly attended James Madison University, where she was active as a Theatre Major working in all areas of production from lighting & costume design to directing. As an actress at JMU, Ashly played a wide range of characters including Arkadina in The Seagull, Climene in School for Wives and (her favorite) Lady Nannycoo in The Frog Prince. After college Ashly planned to pursue acting, but then her hands were noticed by a local agent. The agent suggested a place for Ashly to experience her very first manicure and within a few weeks booked her on a job for Wintergreen Resort. Quickly, Ashly’s career as a hand model began to take off. Ashly later found out that she was, in fact, a Legacy hand model – following in the footsteps of her grandmother whose long and graceful fingers had shown off typewriters ads in the 1930’s.
Ashly went on to spend several years honing her skills as a hand model with Hamilton Beach. While working for this corporation she had the unique opportunity to develop her craft and fine-tune her techniques by working multiple shoots each week with many different types of products.
“Being able to work with such a fantastic client and amazing photographers early on really gave me the confidence to do what I’m doing. Each day was different, and because of that, I learned a lot of the tricks early on–the arch that is needed in a finger so you don’t cover the on/off switch, the angles to hold my head with over-the-shoulder lighting so that no shadow is cast, how to hold things without looking like you are exerting pressure,” remembers Ashly, laughing. “That last one is hard! Veinless! Effortless! That’s what they want (usually), and that’s what I learned how to do. Though, I did do this one shoot where my wrists were all tied up with ivy. They had my hands clenched tightly in fists. I got to make my hands all veiny. That was a first – my bondage shot!”
Expanding out into billboards, magazines and commercials for Campbell’s, Wal*Mart and Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Ashly continues to work steadily up and down the east coast, residing in both Virgina, New York City & LA. Enjoying any excuse to travel, she is known to go wherever a hand is needed.
Many of the jobs offer interesting physical challenges. Ashly has found herself standing with her arms outstretched, squatting, or bending over low tables, all while holding her breath under hot lights on shoots that can last up to 14 hours. “It’s very important to keep in shape, so that I can hold the products for long periods of time without shaking or showing signs of strain. It’s hard on the back and shoulders, but that is what makes for the best perks of the job–massages! I love my masseuse!”
In addition to Ashly’s beautifully shaped hands, long nail beds and even skin tone, it’s her steadiness, the ability to hit the mark and amazing attention to detail that makes her a sought after talent. “It’s a great job and I really enjoy it. It’s demanding work as well, which is always a fun challenge. People are depending on me to get the perfect shot and the faster that can happen, the more money the production company can save. So it can be very high pressure. I worked on one shoot where we had to get my spot in 15 minutes, and not one minute more. The shoot was nearing golden time (the time on set when everyone starts making their daily rate EVERY hour) and everyone had to wrap in 15 minutes. That was when they first called me to set and we nailed it. Bam-Bam-Bam – 3 in a row. I held the product and did the move 3 times and hit the mark each time, so the client had 3 perfect takes to pick from. And we wrapped with 4 minutes to spare.” Ashly’s work ethic and commitment to getting the perfect shot makes her a favorite among clients and photographers. To keep her hands in camera-ready condition, Ashly wears gloves “almost all of the time” and has an extensive hand care routine: ”Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! And sunscreen – Always!”