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Cinders on Ella... Cinder-Ella. Oh, it's perfect! Cinderella!
Ella, more commonly known as Cinderella, is a supporting character on Once Upon a Time. She was previously a young poor servant, who eventually became the wife to Prince Thomas after sealing a deal with Rumplestiltskin. When the Dark Curse was set in motion, it trapped her in Storybrooke, Maine, where she lives as Ashley Boyd, a young maid who finally gave birth to her child when time started moving again.
Before the Curse
My life... is wretched.
Ella becomes Cinderella. ("The Other Shoe")
When Ella's mother passes away, her father marries a wicked woman known as Lady Tremaine. Eventually he passes away too and Ella is left to live with her step-family, who force her to be their maid. For years, Ella is tormented by her stepsisters Clorinda and Tisbe, usually under Tremaine's influence. One day, as Ella sweeps the outside of her stepmother's estate, she witnesses as the prince's footman arrives, giving Lady Tremaine and her two daughters an invitation to the royal ball. They head inside to pick out dresses and Ella suggests the possibility of going as well. When Clorinda questions what she would wear, the naive maid shows them her late mother's favorite dress. Lady Tremaine calls it wretched and passes it to Clorinda, who throws it into a fire. A horrified Ella retrieves the burned dress, but her stepsisters mock her for crying, stating they're just cinders; Clorinda comments that they're "cinders on Ella", giving her the idea for the evil nickname "Cinderella". Once left alone, Gus, a friendly mouse that Ella has befriended and dress up, comes to see her. As she greets him, a key drops from her mother's dress, and she recalls stories her mother told her about a magical key that fits its description; a key that can take you to a Land of Untold Stories. Stating it's too bad there's no such thing as magic, Ella locks the key away and cries into her burned dress. ("The Other Shoe")
Cinderella shall go to the ball. ("The Price of Gold")
Sometime later, Ella is sweeping the floor of her stepmother's estate, looking longingly at the castle where the prince's ball is taking place. A golden creature makes itself appear out of nowhere: the Fairy Godmother. The fairy approaches Ella and tells her not to despair, for she will attend that ball. Ella asks her who she is and she replies that she's her fairy godmother, and she's there to change her life. Cinderella is reluctant to let herself be helped, for her stepmother told her she couldn't go. The godmother then reveals her magic wand. She goes on to say that the wand has the power to take her to her ball, to her prince, and to... The godmother is unable to finish her own sentence for she explodes in a cloud of magic. Ella is taken aback by this, as Rumplestiltskin appears, revealing himself as the killer, and tells her that he was doing her a favor. Rumple steals the Fairy Godmother's wand and manipulates Ella into making a deal with him. Rumple explains that he can make all of Ella's dreams come true, by allowing her to attend the royal ball. Ella explains that she does not have anything to give him in return, to which Rumple tells her that he will receive his payment at a later date. Desperate and forlorn, Ella accepts the deal. ("The Price of Gold")
Prince Thomas proposes to his mystery love. ("The Other Shoe")
Ella arrives at the prince's ball with Gus, who has been turned into a human form for the night. After excusing him so he can eat the free cheese, she bumps into Snow White, accidentally tearing her dress. She apologizes, but the princess assures her it's fine. The two instantly bond and Snow notices Ella isn't an ordinary princess before pointing out that the prince is watching her. The two talk and dance and seemingly hit it off straight away. However, when he excuses himself, Lady Tremaine approaches Ella and tricks her into thinking he was mocking her. Distraught, Ella runs away from the ball, losing one of her glass slippers in the process. She returns home and back into her rags as she solemnly looks at her remaining glass slipper. Gus, once again a mouse, starts nudging at the box she locked her mother's key in, and now believing in magic, she uses it on a wardrobe. A portal opens and she prepares to leave through it, but Clorinda arrives and stops her, revealing the prince loves Ella. She explains that he's out looking for her and she's marrying his footman, Jacob. Ella recalls her being horrible to the footman, so Clorinda reveals it was all an act so her mother wouldn't disapprove. She explains that she's put on an act her whole life before apologizing to Ella, claiming they've both been Tremaine's prisoner. Clorinda tells Ella how she and Jacob plan on running away and living on a farm together, but her stepsister warns that Tremaine will hunt her down before suggesting an idea. After Clorinda leaves, Tremaine confronts Ella and threatens to smash her glass slipper if she doesn't reveal her whereabouts. Ella complies, but Tremaine smashes the shoe anyway. Tremaine leaves to find her daughter and locks Ella in the attic. Thomas and Snow arrives at the house, but almost leaves until Gus finds Snow and communicates with her. They find a way inside the house and Ella is reunited with her prince. Ashamed to not be in rags, she assumes Thomas won't want her, but he does. He proposes and she accepts. Ella then leaves to track down Tremaine. She does so, just as she's about to kill the footman, and she reveals she's engaged to the prince. Enraged at this supposed "injustice", Tremaine decides to "pause" her life and she uses the key to travel to the Land of Untold Stories. ("The Other Shoe")
To protect her child, Ella tricks Rumple into imprisoning himself. ("The Price of Gold")
Prince Thomas goes on to marry Ella, and she grows excited to see the palace's fireworks being blasted in her honor, for she never thought that such an occasion would be just for her. At the reception, she is happy to see that Snow White and Prince Charming are in attendance, with the former dancing with her friend and telling her how proud she is of her because she proved to the whole kingdom that anyone has the capacity to change their life. Rumplestiltskin then appears, claiming to be proud of her as well, and finally he reveals what it is he wants in exchange for all he's given her: her first born. When Ella learns she's pregnant, she's devastated, having to tell Thomas that she lied about her Fairy Godmother having sent her to the ball that night. With the truth out there, Thomas says that the way to defeat Rumple is simple, for they merely have to offer him another deal. While Charming and the dwarfs convert the old mines into a magical prison to hold him, a plan is hatched wherein Ella will meet with the Dark One and tell him she is carrying twins; that way, when he wants to strike a new deal to take the second child, which he will, she can ensnare him using a quill imbued with magical squid ink. All goes well when Ella and Rumple meet, with her spinning a tale about how she needs him to make the royal lands fertile again, and eventually she succeeds in making him sign on the dotted line. As soon as he does, he grows ensnared, giving the princes enough time to lock him up. While everything seems happy, with Thomas even proposing the name Alexandra for his and Ella's unborn child, Ella suddenly feels a twinge and needs her husband to go draw her some water from the well. However, she then feels fine... only Thomas has now disappeared. Knowing Rumple is behind this, she confronts him, and she assures that she won't be seeing him again until her debt is repaid, since she dabbled in magic and the price has gone up. The Dark One promises that in this world, or the next, he will have her baby. ("The Price of Gold")
After the Curse
I thought love would be different...
Ashley, after giving birth to her baby. ("The Price of Gold")
After Emma Swan spills cocoa over herself, she meets, in the laundry room at Granny's, a pregnant 19-year-old maid, whose name is Ashley Boyd - none other than Cinderella. She tells Emma that no one believes she'll be able to take care of the baby once it comes. Emma tells her not to listen to them: the choice is hers. Later on, Ashley breaks into Mr. Gold's pawn shop. Gold catches her in the act, but she maces him and steals a key from him. After it is revealed that Ashley made a deal with Mr. Gold about her unborn child and has run away, Emma and Henry find Ruby's car crashed on the side of the road and Ashley sitting in a ditch, in labor. Emma drives Ashley to the Storybrooke hospital, giving her a talk about what it really means to have a baby of her own – she won't be able to run away ever again. Ashley says she really does want to keep the baby. Later, at the hospital, a doctor reports to Emma and Henry that Ashley has given birth to a healthy baby girl. Emma has a stern talk with Mr. Gold that leads to him agreeing to let Ashley have her baby, just so long as Emma herself owes him a favor. Sean, the baby's father, later arrives at the hospital and brings the baby, now named Alexandra, a pair of tiny slippers. ("The Price of Gold")
Ashley becomes engaged to Sean. ("Skin Deep")
On Valentine's Day, Ashley comes into the diner with her baby and admits to her friends that she hasn't had time to get married to Sean yet, and he's been working double shifts at the cannery. Ruby overhears them talking and suggests that they all go out for a ladies night on Valentine's Day. Emma isn't interested, and then gets a call from the station about a break-in. Ashley, Mary Margaret and Ruby go to a bar that night, and Ashley starts drinking, admitting that it's her first night out since she had the baby. Ruby spots some cute guys and invites Ashley to go over to them with her. Ashley hesitates, saying that she's with Sean, but Ruby points out that Sean isn't there for her. As Ruby goes over, Ashley admits that she's right, and Mary Margaret commiserates. Ashley finally admits that she just wants to be with Sean, but that there's no point in being together if they can't be together. This said, Sean comes in, on a break from the cannery, and proposes to her. Ashley accepts as everyone applauds, gleefully, and Sean then takes his new fiancée for a short drive as their first date as an engaged couple. ("Skin Deep")
Hey, looks like a storm's coming. You better find a place to keep dry.
Leroy and Ashley bump into Will. ("Down the Rabbit Hole")
A storm hits, on a night when the employee in charge of locking up Granny's Diner is the lovely Ashley Boyd, who tells her companion Leroy - the town drunk - that he's closing up the joint. As she heads down the steps, she looks up at the stormy sky as she comments that he's gunning for the "Customer of the Week" plaque. A careless pedestrian makes his way to the diner as Leroy starts to tell Ashley that the situation is win-win for them, she gets his mug on the wall and he finally gets... He is unable to finish his thought for the man walks past them but not without bumping into Ashley and catching her off-guard. Leroy tells the man that it's closing time, and Ashley adds that it looks like a storm is coming so he better find a place to keep dry. Leroy and Ashley start walking away, and the man turns back to them with a smirk and says, "I'll get right on that." This said, he reveals that he has taken the keychain from Ashley and swings it around his finger. He then uses it to open the front door to Granny's and gets in. ("Down the Rabbit Hole")
After the Second Curse
Being a first time mother is not easy.
Ashley becomes wary of Emma's magical powers. ("The Snow Queen")
Knowing from experience how difficult it can get to be a first-time mother, Ashley sets up and presides over Storybrooke's very own "Mommy & Me" classes, attended by former fairytale personas who are now forced to bring up their babies in the modern world. She finishes the first class with the "Goodbye" song, and informs her fellow mothers that they'll be singing more songs in the next class, so she's burned them a CD. New mother Aurora - who is also new to Storybrooke - wonders what a CD is. Emma drops by the class when it ends to pick up her baby brother, to babysit him, and Ashley takes the opportunity to greet her and get in touch. Emma comments on what she's got going there, and Ashley explains that it's basically a support group, because being a first-time mother can be so hard. Emma takes this a bit personally, since Neal isn't actually Mary Margaret's first child, but she tries to shrug it off like it's nothing. However, her emotions get the best of her, as they reflect through her magical powers when the milk bottle she's holding starts to boil, causing the three former princesses to flinch in her presence, and Snow to prevent Neal from going with his big sister. ("The Snow Queen") When Snow and Charming set off to run an errand regarding the town's newest villains, they hire Ashley to babysit Neal. ("Unforgiven")
After the Third Curse
Do you know how it feels when you know all your happiness is a lie?
Ashley makes up for her past by standing up to her stepmother. ("The Other Shoe")
With a whole host of new arrivals from the Land of Untold Stories now occupying Storybrooke, Ashley heads on over to Granny's Diner to find out if any of them have kids, so as to offer them her daycare services. However, as she goes through the list of refugees, she discovers the name of her stepsister Clorinda and steals her husband's hunting rifle to go looking for her. Emma tracks her down, worried that Cinderella might be about to kill her stepsister, but Ashley reveals that she's actually trying to protect Clorinda not harm her, and make up for something wicked she did many years ago. Emma again tries getting her to punch back and see herself differently, but Ashley points out that she can't accept Emma's help because she has to be the one to throw the punch and fix this herself, and so she runs away. She eventually finds Clorinda, wounded, at the pumpkin farm belonging to Jacob. However, the wound is a fake, all a distraction so Lady Tremaine is able to grab the gun and ambush her stepdaughter. Ashley is sad that Clorinda has yet to forgive her, though her sister is overjoyed to learn that Jacob is in town... until Tremaine brings him in with the intention of shooting him. Clorinda begs Ella to fix this, like she promised she would, and so the princess stands in the way of her stepmother, and is stabbed. Emma shows up just in time to heal her with her magic, meaning all's well that ends well as Tremaine is put to work serving the community and Clorinda and Jacob are finally reunited. Ashley, meanwhile, is able to bury the hatchet with her sister and therefore stop feeling as though all her happiness with her husband and daughter is a lie. ("The Other Shoe")
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.