After the vibrant female energy she felt during a No Doubt concert in 1997, SF State alumna Ashleigh Castro realized she wanted to become a photographer. Castro is now freelancing for Dope magazine a publication that focuses mainly on cannabis and hopes to get more women in the cover.

“My main goal here is to bring women into the pages spread, also people of color,” said Castro.

Ashleigh Castro, office manager and photographer for Dope Magazine poses for a portrait outside of the Fox theater in Oakland on Nov. 12, 2017 (Laila Rashada/Golden Gate Xpress)

She graduated from SF State in 2012 and got her degree in fine art photography with a minor in journalism. She moved from Sacramento, California to San Francisco because she loved the city and wanted to be somewhere where she felt was inspiring.

Castro said she had many motivating professors at SF State, like journalism professor Raul Ramirez or professor of art Lewis deSoto.

DeSoto describes Ashleigh as hardworking, experimental and someone who loved vintage styles of cameras and someone who always had a passion for music. deSoto told Castro to always let photography guide her.

Ashleigh Castro, office manager and photographer for Dope Magazine poses for a portrait outside of the Fox theater in Oakland on Nov. 12, 2017 (Laila Rashada/Golden Gate Xpress)

“If you love photography, you will let it take you where it wants you to go,” said deSoto.

Castro was also inspired by protests which she attended with her dad and started photographing them. She worked in Oscar’s photo lab editing pictures and felt ready to start taking photos of her own.

“I seen life unfiltered through scanning people’s film and traveled the world from my seat and that’s when I got bored …  I was like ‘oh yeah time to go see the world from a different lens,’” said Castro.

Castro started freelancing for Dope magazine, a publication that writes on cannabis culture but recently rebranded themselves to race, gender and culture. Castro said she started photographing weed and realized not many people know they can make a career for themselves in the cannabis industry.

“I love the cannabis industry, and I think it’s the most open space I’ve ever worked in in my life,” said Castro.  

Gabby La La, a friend of Castro, said Castro loves working for Dope Magazine, taking photographs and connecting with people that share a passion for cannabis like she does. According to Marijuana daily, 36 percent of women hold a title as executives in the cannabis business. La La said that it is not only very important to have women in the cannabis industry but every industry.

“I think Ashleigh’s genuine nature is what really sets her apart from other women on my radar. In my experience, she’s a true friend who shows up and follows through in every way,” said La La.

Castro advises all SF State students to always take on internships and partnerships. She also recommends all college students to clean their pipes, bongs or anything in between.

“Everybody should clean their pieces a lot … I noticed about being in college everybody’s busy with homework and not exactly what goes into dirty glass but there are a lot of molds and toxins that develop,” said Castro.

Castro is currently working on her own cannabis product, which she only said is going to be in liquid form. She also said that she is in no rush but will continue her education and probably attend California College of the Arts.

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