The rising star grew up on the west Mountain and attended St. Thomas More High School. She has been dancing since she was just two years old, starting with baby ballet, and she began competing at the age of eight. Roles at Theatre Aquarius expanded her repertoire. "Ashley draws in the audience with her sheer love of performance. If you truly love what you are doing, it radiates, and then the audience feels it," said Karen McLean, mother of Leggat's former dance coach, Tiffany McLean. "I always have this feeling of euphoria onstage," said Leggat. "(Acting) doesn't feel like work and that's why I love it."
But the brown-haired, blue-eyed celebrity has certainly put in a lot of overtime to get here. As a teen she would go to school, attend dance class until 10:30 p.m., do her homework and then get up and do it all over again. She and her mother, Patty, were constantly driving into Toronto for auditions, workshops and gigs. But Leggat says her break came when she put herself out to be criticized. "There's a lot of rejection that comes with this industry," she said. "But if you can take it and use it to pursue (jobs) you are going to book them."
A perfect example? At 12, she auditioned for a fundraiser variety show that called for dancers 16 and older. She could have been laughed off the stage, but when executives saw her audition, they made room for her. "Luckily for me there were agents in the audience and afterward they came up and asked if I was interested in joining them." From there stemmed modelling gigs, commercials, recurring roles and the role of Marcia (a mean girl) in the Disney movie Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen -- that's where she first became close with Lindsay Lohan.
She has since hung out with Paris and Nicky Hilton in Las Vegas. "It's nice to go to L.A. and hang out with Paris and different people, but that's not what I'm looking for." Now, since her big break in 2004 playing Casey MacDonald on Family Channel's Life With Derek, Leggat can't even go to her brother's hockey game without being mobbed. Her role in the Canadian sitcom -- a "Brady Bunch story gone wrong," she calls it -- about rival stepsiblings is one she decided to take on because of her four older brothers. "I'm around boys all day," she said. She admits she was a little nervous about her brothers and father Roy seeing her sporting only her bra and jeans for her debut show as Baby on Aug. 19.
Life With Derek is on hiatus for the moment. A Life With Derek movie was scheduled to begin shooting, but has been pushed back.