Possessing a sweet, soulful voice and innocent good looks, singer-turned-actress Ashanti (born Ashanti Douglas) exploded onto the music scene in 2002 and quickly became one of the top selling R&B artists in the industry. Originally from Glen Cove, Long Island, NY, Ashanti was raised in a musical family-her dad used to sing and her mom was a dance instructor. At six years-old, she began singing gospel in her church choir, and in 1994, while performing at a local talent show, she attracted the attention of industry players. Meanwhile, the singer had other talents: she was a track star at Glen Cove High School, where she was the youngest member on the team after impressing them with her speed in the 100- and 200-meter dash. But it was her skill at the triple long jump that attracted the attention of scouts from Princeton and Hampton University, both of whom offered her scholarships. She turned them down, however, to focus on music-thus the potential derailing of her fledgling music career was averted.