Ava Sambora: Everything We Know About Her

Ava Sambora is the daughter of Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora and actress Heather Locklear. As a successful model and college student with aspirations in the entertainment industry, Sambora's life seems to be tracking in the complete opposite direction of her mother's.

Arrested in June 2018 for allegedly assaulting a police officer and EMT, Locklear had generated nothing but scandalous headlines in the preceding months. Domestic violence charges, alleged threats against herself and others, and addiction struggles have all plagued the former TV starlet. One bright spot, however, was a Mother's Day outing with Sambora in between rehab stints.

Fortunately, apart from the stress of being connected to her mother's unfortunate issues, Sambora seems to be thriving in her own life. She's got a great relationship with her dad, a respectable spot on the board of her sorority, and she's advancing in both her modeling and acting careers. Let's take a look at everything else we know about Ava Sambora.   

Don't believe the hype

As of this writing, it's clearly a turbulent time for Heather Locklear and her family. But it wasn't always this way. In fact, according to Ava Sambora, there was a time when the tabloid press seemed intent on fabricating tension among them that just wasn't there.

Speaking with Entertainment Tonight in July 2016, Sambora adamantly refuted scandal sheet reports that her mother was "jealous" of her, telling the entertainment news show, "All she wants in my life is for me to do great things, and for me to be happy and successful." She went on to say that she was "really, really upset" by tabloid headlines she saw about her family when she was a young girl, and that the "biggest misconception" people have about them is the idea that her mom and dad, who divorced in 2007, don't get along.

Sambora has a similarly healthy relationship with her rock star dad, who once told People, "She and I are close and have a candid relationship. ... I'm really proud of her — she's just a joy. My favorite girl — her and my mom, I always say."

The First & the Finest

One of the things Ava Sambora seems to take a lot of pride in is her membership in Alpha Phi, a "women's fraternity" founded at Syracuse University in 1872. Sambora — who, at the time of this writing, is enrolled at Loyola Marymount University in Malibu — serves on the executive board as Greek Council Delegate for the school's Zeta Beta chapter. The chapter's motto, "the First & the Finest," comes from its distinction as the first-ever sorority on campus, established in 1976.

Though that sounds pretty official, Sambora's experience with the sorority seems like an absolute blast, if her Instagram account is any indication. She celebrated her entry into the greek organization by posting the above photo on Jan. 26, 2016. From there, her timeline has been peppered with loved-up photos of Sambora with her "sisters," enjoying events like Red Dress Galas, formals, and lip synch battles.

But don't worry, she's not getting crazy with her sisters from other misters. "I'm not into partying. I'm not about it, that's how it is. Don't try to persuade me, it won't work," the Psychology major once told ET. On top of that, she entered her higher ed era with a pretty clear focus on academia.

She's got spirit, beauty, and brains

Speaking with People in 2015, a representative for Ava Sambora's dad spoke of her high school accomplishments, which the family celebrated with a fun trip to Bora Bora. "They are celebrating her 4.2 GPA and her 11 scholarship offers from schools," the rep said of Sambora, who, at the time, had yet to decide on a college choice. "They are proud of her."

When she wasn't hitting the books to become a standout pupil a Viewpoint School in Calabasas, Calif., Sambora was rooting for the school's sports teams as a flier on the cheerleading squad, which she documented on social media about as thoroughly as she later did with her sorority exploits. Speaking with Teen Vogue about her choice of high-flying extracurricular activity, a then-15-year-old Sambora said, "I like being thrown in the air! It's an adrenaline rush." Everyone needs a hobby, right?

She started young

Believe it or not, Ava Sambora was something of an overachiever even before high school, kicking off her modeling career in 2010 at the impressively young age of 12. Of course, she had something of a leg-up in getting the runway gig, which was at the debut of her dad's fashion line, White Trash Beautiful.

According to The LA Times, Sambora did a fine job strutting the catwalk (above) in garb that a reviewer described as inspired by "groupie wear." Her mom was in the front row, taking video and tearing up, but her dad, oddly enough, missed the show on account of being "stuck in Canada." Regardless, Sambora must have gotten the modeling bug, because she continued her career all the way to present day.

By 2016, she had become "the face of swimwear line Baes and Bikinis," according to ET. She's even gotten in front of the camera for Joe Simpson — yes, Jessica and Ashlee's dad and former manager — who made the jump from talent management to photography.

As of this writing, Sambora is currently repped by The Industry Model MGMT, a talent agency based out of New York City and Los Angeles.

No Harry Potter for her

Given her academic success and clearly driven approach to both her modeling and acting careers, it probably won't come as much of a shock to fans to learn that when it comes to Ava Sambora's reading preferences, she's got no time for fluff.

"I'm not a huge book person, as far as new releases go, but I love to read old books," Sambora told Teen Vogue in 2015. She continued, "I have The Great Gatsby with me whenever I want to read something, and I love magazines." Just what periodicals does this literary-minded up-and-comer like to peruse, you may be asking. The Economist? Forbes? Surely, The Nation makes the cut, right?

"I always carry Teen Vogue with me — and I'm not just saying that, I swear." Oh. Well, maybe there is some room reserved on her Kindle for The Hunger Games or Fifty Shades of Grey, after all.

Reality TV came calling

Though her acting efforts have landed her a few mainstream projects like This is 40 and Fresh Off The Boat, Ava Sambora's biggest part was probably in the YouTube series SummerBreak 3. A spin on the MTV reality-but-not-really series, The Hills, SummerBreak follows a real group of high school students (above) through their — you guessed it — summer break after their senior year.

Speaking with People about the web series, Sambora said she was recommended for the show by a friend who was already cast. She also said that the show was unique because episodes were posted just days after shooting, which allowed the cast to interact with fans on social media almost in real time as the episodes aired.

Entertainment Weekly shared the cast bios for the show which seemed to find inspiration in the puntastic intro catchphrases of another popular reality series, The Real Housewives. "Ava isn't always the center of attention, but she's impossible to ignore," Sambora's bio begins. "She's cheerleading captain, music-lover, and boy-crazy. But she'll choose her girls over anyone else. Ava loves her independence and to chase the things she can't have. Summer, get ready for Ava's subtweets." Oh, the teen drama!

She has anxiety issues

Though Ava Sambora has had success in the realms of modeling and TV, she doesn't boast a huge media presence. She doesn't do many interviews, and she seems to enjoy engaging with her fans via social media with a lot of lighthearted, fun posts. But in April 2018, she shared a surprising personal struggle.  

Posting a screenshot of a long iPhone note, Sambora revealed, "I'm a very anxious person and have suffered from anxiety my entire life." She went on to describe some difficulty she had with her passport on a connecting flight from London to Milan. "I was alone in a different country and was about to fly another 11 hours which sounded awful to begin with," she wrote. "BUT after a few minutes of anxiety and talking to my loved ones I looked on the positive side and saw that I should be proud of myself." She wrote that she realized that her personal triumph of making it through what ended up being 22 hours of travel without having "a huge anxiety attack," was a "small victory." She encouraged her fans to "be proud of the things that you pushed yourself to do even if others don't see it as a big deal."

Her fans loved the honesty. One user reassured her, "That's a big deal." Another thanked her for sharing, adding, "You will help many by being transparent about your anxiety. I agree you should feel very good about conquering your fear."

No doubt she's a daddy's girl

We've already established Richie Sambora's deep affection for Ava Sambora, so it only makes sense that, as a musician, he would want to immortalize the sentiment in song. He did so with his track, "I'll Always Walk Beside You," which includes tearjerker lines like, "When you feel alone / I will sing you home / I'll be there / To help you make it through." What? We're fine, it's just allergies.

In an interview with Huffington Post, Papa Sambora described how his love for Ava is above all else. "I'm a really good father. The biggest joy in my life is my daughter," he said, before describing how he consulted with a psychologist after his divorce from Heather Locklear to ensure a stable environment for Ava.

He then revealed that the true inspiration for the song was a photo taken of him and Ava from behind "when she was little." As a birthday gift for her, he had it blown up, framed, and had "Ava, I'll always walk beside you. Love, Daddy," written below it.

Seriously, is it dusty in here?