The Hot Right Now singer sits alongside the fashion star on the new panel of America’s Next Top Model, which returns to U.S. TV screens later this month (Dec16). Ashley has broken boundaries with her body, being one of the first women of her shape to appear in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue before becoming the first plus-size star to grace the cover earlier this year (16), and Rita is in awe of her determination.

“I feel like this show is really going to make people understand not only her struggle, and what she had to do to get there, but also inspire the contestants - it’s OK to be said no to,” Rita told Out magazine. “She knows more than anybody what ‘no’ feels like. People told me all the time, even me: ‘You’re too big to be in campaigns.’ So I can only imagine what Ashley goes through. Not only that, but I also thought she was a really good judge to keep the girls in check when they feel like, ‘I’m too big.’”

As well as adding to her TV resume, Rita has been designing with Adidas since the release of her debut album, 2012’s Ora. She recently unveiled her 15th and final collection with them and has plans to establish her own brand within the next year, with the star hinting the sports giant may come along for the ride.

“It’s not the end. It’s just a new chapter,” she smiled. “I’ll never stop collaborating. But it’s all about doing it on your own, I think. It will take a long time. Look at Victoria Beckham. She was in the Spice Girls, and now she’s an incredible designer.”

Rita hasn't ditched music completely though as she revealed her next, currently untitled album is well underway and almost ready for release.