NYCC: Ashley Eckstein Talks Her Universe, Ahsoka’s Future

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What is the future of Ahsoka? Is her future connected to Mortis? How did a small clothing brand become a leading voice in the Geekgirl movement? Voice actor and entrepreneur Ashley Eckstein has answers.

This week we were fortunate enough to interview Ashley from the floor of New York Comic Con. What follows is a close paraphrasing of the interview, not exact quotes (listen to the podcast episode to hear all of what Ashley had to say). Check it out!

Riley: Welcome back to the Star Wars Report Ashley!

Ashley:  Thank you!

Riley: So I was walking with my sister downstairs, and I saw the Marvel area and I see the incredible display of the Marvel Her Universe dresses. I just thought to myself: ‘I remember when Her Universe was founded and just starting with the Star Wars license.’ And now we’re walking by (the display) at New York Comic Con with this incredible line of clothing, and I see the Hot Topic sign. Her Universe has become such a phenomenon. Take us through your journey these last few years with Her Universe.

Ashley: It’s been a ride. It’s been so much fun. Her Universe is 6 years old – can you believe it? We launched in June of 2010 and we just started with t-shirts. Because back in the day, in June of 2010, as fangirls we couldn’t buy T-shirts. There were no t-shirts that were made for us. But then of course as girls, we want more.

(Ashley smiles) We just don’t want to stop there. We want dresses – we want jackets – we want skirts. We want to be geek chic from head to toe. So I’m very fortunate to have partnered with Hot Topic, Disney Parks, and Kohl’s to be able to grow and offer so much more for fangirls.

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Riley: And what has that process been like? We talk so often about fandom and what some of these characters mean to us, but actually, if you will pardon my curiosity, as a business how has this changed you as a part of the fan community?

Ashley: Oh goodness, I’ve learned so much in the world of business. I went to school for acting. I didn’t go to school for business, so I’ve been learning on the job. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity. Honestly, being the voice of Ahsoka allowed all of this. Star Wars truly changed my life and gave me a platform to use the force, to do good. And I feel like with such an iconic franchise, I want to use it for good.

And this wasn’t just me, this was a group effort by all of us. I say united we stand divided we fall. The reason we have been able to grow it’s because the fans have asked for growth. They asked for change. I’m so thankful for everyone’s support.

Bethany: Do you see Her Universe moving into different types of products? What are you looking forward to right now?

Ashley: I would love for her Universe to be a lifestyle brand which encompasses everything. We have started to do other products for like the Studio Ghibli brand, we’ve done some more accessories, mugs and glasses. Being a fangirl is a lifestyle, it’s a part of you. It’s a way of life. It is not a trend. So I would love to expand to other things beyond just apparel. We did broaden our apparel category this year with our activewear. I was super excited to debut activewear this year. Hopefully, we’ll continue to expand two other sorts of apparel. And also maybe some more home goods and accessories as well.

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Riley: I think that that is one thing that Her Universe unlocked. It’s not just that girls want shirts too, you used the example, the activewear. It is that sort of lifestyle brand at this point. I can’t wait to see the future.

Honestly, I’ve heard many guys say “I wish Her Universe made guys shirts” which I think is a compliment because it shows that you are serving a community that wasn’t served for decades, to be honest. It was waiting for the right moment and you came at that time. It’s been so amazing to see.

Let’s talk about Ahsoka – she’s changed quite a bit over the years.

Ashley: She’s gone on quite a journey these last few years. I feel so grateful to have voiced Ahsoka from the beginning and to be associated with this character. If you think about it, how many characters get the chance to have their storyline explored for so long? I mean, she has had six seasons on The Clone Wars, two seasons on Rebels, video games, comic books…. Not that many characters have that much of their own back story. And now she’s getting her own book.

Riley: I understand you’re doing a signing?

Ashley: Yes, I narrated the audiobook.

Riley: Which I cannot wait for by the way. I’m a big audiobook guy, so I can’t wait.

Ashley: Oh goodness, well this is my first audiobook so be easy on me. (Laughs)

Riley: Well you have the advantage of playing the title character so I’m sure that would come naturally, but audiobooks have to be a whole different game.

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Ashley: I have to tell you it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Because you do all the characters. I joke about this on the Star Wars show – I did an interview with them. It’s the first and last time I’ll ever be asked to voice Bail Organa. So that was interesting! I would say about 60% of the book was Ahsoka’s lines or narration that you could imagine would be from Ahsoka’s voice. But the other part of the book is other characters. So I just changed my tune – so hopefully it’s not too distracting.

Riley: What’s funny is we were actually watching that episode of the Star Wars show last night. I have full confidence that Jimmy Smits will be enormously jealous upon hearing the book. (Laughs)

I was lucky enough to be at Celebration Europe and the feel was so kind to the fans that… and I know you can’t talk specifics, – but we know at least now that there is some kind of future for Ahsoka and that speaks so much to her legacy.

Ashley: Yes, so in full disclosure, Dave said she would come back in Rebels in some way. I haven’t recorded it yet so I can tell you I don’t know what happens. We don’t know what happens until we go into the studio. But in my opinion, I think that Ahsoka lives, but that’s just my opinion! I really don’t know yet.

Riley: We agree.

Bethany: Do you enjoy participating in the speculation?

Riley: Yeah, like is she a ghost, is she not a ghost?

Bethany: Or the Convery!

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Ashley: Oh yeah! The Convery has something to do with it! If you’ll notice, the colors of the Convery are the same as the colors from the Daughter in the Mortis trilogy. There’s something there… I don’t know what it is yet but there’s something there in my opinion.

Bethany: Ahsoka has a lot of connections to Mortis.

Ashley: Well the daughter gave up her life for Ahsoka. Ahsoka dies in the Mortis arc and the daughter gave up her life for Ahsoka, so there’s something there. I just don’t know what it is.

Riley: And that’s what I love about Rebels so much right now because of it’s timing compared with The Clone Wars. And I know Dave’s a fan, and it has so many mythological, almost Lord of the Rings like elements to it. And I love the idea of an Ahsoka Reborn. Ahsoka the white, to use a Gandalf reference. That would be so amazing. Time will tell.

Ashley: Yes, yes.

Riley: Thank you so much for giving us some time here at New York Comic Con. And seriously, congratulations with all the success of Her Universe! It’s been absolutely amazing to see it grow. 

Ashley: Thank you! Thank you for having me on.

See Ashley and the Star Wars: Ahsoka author E. K. Johnston at the following dates for their book tour!

October 9th – 5:00pm
Barnes & Noble Store
97 Warren St.
New York, NY 10007

October 11th – 7:00pm
Barnes & Noble Store
2418 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803

October 14th – 4:00pm
Once Upon A Toy @ Disney Springs Marketplace
1375 Buena Vista Drive
Orlando, FL 32821

October 15th – 2:00pm
Barnes & Noble Store
213 N. Dale Mabry
Tampa, FL 33609

October 21st – 7:00pm
Barnes & Noble Store
10775 Westview Parkway
San Diego, CA 92126

October 24th – 7:00pm
Barnes & Noble Store
313 Corte Madera Town Center
Corte Madera, CA 94925

November 6th – 2:00pm
Barnes & Noble Store
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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