You can find a lot of beautiful things in the ocean, but there’s only one Anastasia Ashley, and she may be the most dazzling of them all. Anywhere she goes, Anastasia takes center stage; on a surfboard, she takes waves like she was born in them, and on dry land, she’ll simply take your breath away. But she also has a whole lot to give, as we found out when she patiently took the time to answer our star-struck questions.

We found out that she’s been competing since she was 7 years old and that she plans on one day being a world champion, but there’s a lot more to Anastasia than just wicked frontside air. She’s determined to make a difference in the world, and she knows that one of the easiest ways to do just that is by going vegetarian—which is why she agreed to star in a stunning new peta2 ad, with the tagline “Ocean Creatures Are Too Beautiful to Kill.”

Anastasia Ashley peta2 ad

What have been the highlights for you this year?
Probably being nominated for PETA’s 2005 “Sexiest Vegetarian Alive”—pretty cool to be up against Pamela Anderson. And shooting a feature for FHM magazine—and getting to go on cool talk shows, like ESPN’s Cold Pizza and G4 TV’s Attack of the Show.

Why did you choose to go vegetarian? Was there a specific incident that influenced you?
I always felt tired when I used to eat meat—I got sick of that. Also, I wanted to start a serious training/nutritional program for my surfing competitions. I tried it out (not eating meat) and loved it—I felt so healthy and energetic. I’ve never looked back since!

Who are the people you look up to the most, and why?
I definitely look up to Jessica Simpson, because she is outspoken about being a Christian (I’m a Christian too), and for surfing, definitely Kelly Slater and Jamie O’Brien.

What would you tell your fans about the importance of having compassion and getting active to help animals?
I think it’s very important to stand up for what you believe in. … I think people should try and help, even if they think they can’t do much, because every little thing helps!

Are there any animal issues that you feel strongly about (e.g., factory farming, fur farming, animal experimentation, etc.)? What is it about that particular issue that affects you?
I think testing cosmetics on animals is completely wrong. I think that maybe huge cosmetics companies make enough money to hire humans. I also think that it’s ridiculous to be trying out a product meant for humans on animals.

PETA has a campaign right now that’s focused on trying to get KFC to apply more humane standards in the way it treats the chickens it slaughters. How do you feel about corporations like KFC, which refuse to take even the smallest steps to reduce the suffering of the animals they use for profit?
I think it’s selfishness. I believe those companies have the means to take those extra steps. I think they should just think of their pets—if they would like their pets treated like that—and then ask them if they want to continue doing that.

What would you say your biggest goals are, in surfing or in general?
Definitely I want to become a world champion surfer one day, but more importantly, being a good role model for kids and promoting a clean lifestyle.

What’s up next for you?
Launching my Web site, publishing my wall calendar for 2007, working with my sponsors (Op, Oakley, Infinity Surfboards, Kicker Audio, and Powerbar), and having some upcoming acting roles.