News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

February 19, 2013

Indiana woman’s reality TV win is icing on the cake

JEFFERSONVILLE — Some people might do just about anything for the chance to win a small fortune, but don’t count Jeffersonville resident Ashley Holt among them. By staying true to herself and her beliefs, the 25-year-old beat out 13 of the country’s most talented pastry chefs and won the title of TLC’s “Next Great Baker.”

With her Feb. 11 victory, she also earned a $100,000 cash prize, a feature in Redbook magazine and an apprenticeship at host Buddy Valastro’s famous New Jersey bakery.

“It’s a huge deal winning,” Holt said. “I’m just so thankful and grateful for everything and for the opportunity that Buddy has given me. Now I’m finally going to have the resources necessary to open up my new shop.

“It’s really just a constant reminder for me to never give up and always fight for what you want, because if you fight hard enough, you will get it.”

Holt didn’t always have a taste for cake decorating. After she graduated from Loganville High School in Georgia, she moved to Manhattan to pursue a career in modeling. There, she worked for designers such as Marc Jacobs and Valentino and appeared in high fashion magazines such as Vogue, Allure and Glamour.

Following a three-month stay in Japan, Holt decided that modeling might not be the right fit for her, especially when some in the modeling world criticized her decision to get a tattoo.

“It’s a very constricting industry,” she said. “After I came back from Asia, I had some work done on my back and they just flipped out. That was just the final nail in the coffin for me. I was like, are you kidding me? Why am I doing this to myself? I’m not happy. I’m starving myself. And now I’m getting yelled at for getting a tattoo on my own body.”

Soon after leaving the runway behind, Holt returned to Georgia. Falling for a man from Clarksville, Ind., would eventually lead her to make the move to the Louisville area. She met her fiancé Bryan when he was touring as a guitar tech with the band Avenged Sevenfold.

In addition to fostering a romance, the transfer to the area also gave Holt the opportunity to attend culinary classes at Sullivan College. Having not made her first cake until the age of 19, the accomplished baker attributed her success to both her childhood love of sculpting and old-fashioned hard work.

“It’s just my own determination and my drive. I have this natural urge to succeed and to be the best at what I can possibly be the best at,” she said.

After experiencing some difficulties with financial aid, Holt decided to take a more hands-on approach to her learning and not re-enroll in culinary school, a decision she said she does not regret. Instead, she worked at several local cupcake shops. One thing led to another, and she eventually landed her current job as a pastry chef at Louisville Country Club.

As for her first involvement with the “Next Great Baker,” the cookie didn’t always crumble the way Holt would have liked.

Despite applying for the previous two seasons of the reality show, she was not chosen for the final casts. But the third time was a charm, and she received word last August that she had made the cut.

“This time, when I filled out my application, I was much more blunt and more like myself because before I think I was trying too hard to be someone that I thought they wanted,” Holt said.

For 10 weeks beginning in August, Holt competed against the other 13 contestants at Valastro’s bakery in New Jersey. Although she dominated the individual challenges of the reality show, the contest wasn’t always a piece of cake. With little sleep and limited contact with the outside world, filming the show could be stressful. Opponents didn’t always help.

One baker, Paul Conti, argued with Holt throughout the competition. During the finale, he even insulted the finalist by asking, “How does a 25-year-old kid have the life experience to become the ‘Next Great Baker?”’

Holt’s answer almost cost her the title and the money. Having had enough of Conti’s attitude, she replied with a few chosen expletives and a refusal to answer what she deemed an underhanded dig. Valastro’s family, who also were the judges, mentioned during the finale they didn’t like the outburst.

“I do admit it was the wrong time and place. But after running on like three hours of sleep, that question just offended me so bad,” Holt said. “Talent has no age. I don’t understand how you can disrespect someone for going after their dreams just because they are younger than you.”

Not one to participate in shenanigans, Holt discovered after the airing of the show that the other finalist for the top spot had been sabotaging the contestants. On several occasions, Gretel-Ann Fisher purposely made mistakes on group projects in an attempt to send a teammate home. She also resorted to turning up the temperature on her competitors’ ovens as a means of altering the finished product during the lead up to the finale.

“I’m a very blunt, tell-it-like-it-is person, which gets me in trouble sometimes,” Holt said. “But I’d rather be an honest person and have someone have a problem with me speaking my mind than go behind your back and be sneaky.

“I think everyone in this competition tried their best, and she tried to sneak her way to the top. I guess she did not feel confident in herself that she had the talent to succeed. I just find that disgusting behavior.”

Despite all of the drama, Holt pulled out the victory, as an impressive seven of her competitors voted for her.

What’s up next for the newest “Next Great Baker?” Fans can still follow Holt as she completes her year-long apprenticeship at Carlo’s Bake Shop on the TLC reality series “Cake Boss.” Between her visits to film in New Jersey, she’s also busy establishing her own bakery called Sugar Monster Sweets. While plans are under way for a Frankfort Avenue opening, she continues to offer custom-made cakes to clients via her website, sugarmonster

sweets.com.

And what about all those additional prizes she won in the smaller challenges? With her upcoming May nuptials, Hunt and her fiancé plan to use the all-inclusive Mexican vacation she received for their honeymoon. All the others will help build her new business.

Even with her recent notoriety and busy schedule, Hunt said she’s still the same woman she was before her appearance on “Next Great Baker,” and not even $100,000 will change that.

“I’m just a normal person. Just because I was on TV doesn’t make me any different,” she said. “Modeling never got to my head and neither will this.”

 

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
  • MET071114  St bens ellis.jpg Annual St. Ben’s community festival kicks off

    The St. Ben's Community Festival kicked off Friday night and continues from 5 p.m. until midnight today.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 071114 DELISH GREENE.jpg Adding to the mix

    The mix of local food choices will get a fresh stir in the near future, as a café opens a second location, a pizza place moves downtown and a national chain sprouts in two more spots.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET071114 guard bennett.jpg Shift from jets to intelligence

    Loud, impressive fighter jets once zoomed regularly across the sky in Terre Haute, their roars drowning out the sounds of televisions and telephones all around the area.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos 2 Stories

  • MET 071114 MANN P.C..jpg Candidates’ views clash over more education testing, vouchers

    Indiana needs to change direction to improve education, said Democrat Jim Mann, who will face incumbent Rep. Robert Heaton, R-Terre Haute, in a rematch race for Indiana House District 46.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET071114bad check.jpg Fraudulent checks with an extra ‘t’

    A Terre Haute woman who received a large check in the mail this week wants to warn others that though the check looks legitimate, it is a scam.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Truck, van collide, stopping some U.S. 41 lanes for an hour

    Northbound traffic on U.S. 41 south of Terre Haute was blocked for about one hour Friday because of a two vehicle crash.

    July 11, 2014

  • council mtg 013.JPG Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy

    The Terre Haute City Council took well more than  an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit

    A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET 071014 181 02EXPO.jpg ISU, 181st Intelligence Wing show off capabilities at expo

    Communication and getting unmanned eyes in the sky can be vital parts of responding to a natural or man-made disaster.

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments

    An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.

    July 10, 2014

  • united way.jpg UW kicks off pilot campaign

    Dottie King remembers the day she saw a young man leaving St. Ann’s Dental Clinic after having 17 teeth pulled. He had not received sufficient dental care before that day so his need was dramatic. That was unlike King, who had visited the dentist regularly since childhood, but still found getting a tooth filled not on her list of fun things to do. “I thought to myself, ‘I never have thought about the blessing of dental care,’” King recalled, sharing that story on Thursday morning with other volunteers for the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071014 181 HILL.jpg Indiana’s director of homeland security sees unmanned systems’ potential

    Integrating unmanned flight systems into use for domestic surveillance can provide first responders with key information in responding to fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters, said John Hill, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Stunt performer scheduled to be at Wigwam

    A celebrity stunt man named Jim “Crash” Moreau is scheduled to perform at Terre Haute’s Wigwam Skate and Event Center on Saturday.

    July 10, 2014

  • Rain barrels offered for sale

    The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for 55-gallon rain barrels.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ash.jpg Tips lead to meth lab bust

    Two people were arrested after police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab Thursday in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg VIDEO UPDATE: Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Children Face Deportation Without Attorneys LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Raw: Militants, Israelis Exchange Rocket Fire
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News