This Latina’s Abuelita Encouraged Her to Compete on ‘Project Runway’ and She Won

credit: @ashley_nell_tipton / Instagram

Say hello to Ashley Nell Tipton.

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The San Diego native is the season 14 winner of Project Runway.

Her winning collection, which was inspired by 1950s Mexico City, was featured at New York Fashion Week. Get a closer look at Ashley’s collection here.

Ashley is the first Project Runway winner to focus on creating plus-size clothing.

I wasn't lying when I said this back in high school class of '09

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And she called it when she was in high school! Some people just know what they are meant to do and totally nail it.

Get it, girl!

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READ: How A Plus-Size Latina Model is Using Social Media to Encourage Women to Be Healthy

Ashley’s greatest inspiration is her abuela, who taught her to sew when she was just 7 years old.

“She taught me how to sew at a young age, and I felt like I had nothing else to lose, so I might as well take this chance,” Ashley told People Magazine about her decision to try out for the show. “I’m very, very glad that I did.”

Just two days before her audition for Project Runway, Ashley’s abuela died.

Dear Grandma, You are the most beautiful woman I have ever see. Your smile and laugh lights up a room. I love everything about you from your beautiful blue eyes to your big wear heart. You always knew how to make me smile. You always told me how beautiful I was. Your a mother to me and always be. You have taught me so much, you taught me how to sew and helped me find my creativity. For that I think you for made me the woman I am today. Just to see you smile wears my heart up. You used to spoil me rotten with all my favorite foods. I remember you use to drag me to all your favorite thrift store as a kid, what I would do to just go back to those days with you. Every time we went out you always make sure you looked your best. I'm pretty sure I got that from you. I loved watching The price is right and the Young in the Restless with you every morning. You would call me 10 times a day, just to see what I was doing and to tell me you were thinking about me. I remember when I was a little girl we would have candle lite dinners together, just because. You were the only one who showed me to pray. I'm your little girl, your angle, your pumpkin, your world, your everything. Being able to see you last night to share our last moment, will be something I will never forget. You had me crying, laughing and smiling all at the same time. Watching you take your last breath was beautiful. Now that your gone I've never felt closer to you then now. I've saved you voice mail to never forget your beautiful voice. I know you will always be watching over me and guiding me the right direction. I love you grandma to the moon and back. Love, your Pumpkin. Your in peace May 22,1928-February 24, 2015.

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“I feel like now that she’s gone, I really have nothing to lose and I want to do this for her because she pushed me so much and she always asked me why I’ve never applied for this show,” Ashley said in her application video.

Your abuelita would be so proud of you right now, Ashley.

Credit: Empire / FOX / Empire FOX / Giphy

Don’t mind me. I think I have something in my eye. And now it’s in my other eye.

With the memory of her abuela and determination to change the idea of beauty on Project Runway, Ashley was off to compete.

Do you know what day it is!?!? It's a new episode of #projectrunway don't miss it on #lifetimetv tonight at 9/8c #designerashley

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“I decided to become a fashion designer when I couldn’t find clothing that was fashionable in my size when growing up,” Ashley told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “The lack of more fashionable and bold clothing for the plus-sized woman inspired me to create what was missing in the plus-size fashion industry.”

READ: Hot, Plus-Size Latinas Redefining Beauty

When the competition got tough, she remembered her abuela and how much she believed in her.

“I wanted to see how far I could go and here I am today,” Ashley told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “I’m so glad that I did, and I know that my grandmother would be proud!”

Ashley’s whole family played a role in supporting her through this journey.

And let’s face it, with an awesome Latino family like this, it’s hard to lose.

@timgunn and my mom. Look how cute they are!!! #designerashley #projectrunway #lifetimetv

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Kudos, girl!

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