The 25-year-old beauty said: "In my second year in Los Angeles, when I was 18, I wasn't getting any bookings. So I stopped going out, stopped partying. It was a matter of getting to the work. I had to focus."
Ashley also revealed how she's looking forward to turning 30 as she thinks she will have more choices when it comes to work.
She told Esquire magazine: "It's a good age. It's an age of choices. What 'Twilight' gave me was years to consider how I wanted to work otherwise."
Ashley - who played Alice Cullen in the vampire franchise - will next be seen alongside Hugh Jackman and Olivia Wilde in 'Butter', an independent film about a small-town girl who discovers her talent for butter carving and finds herself pitted against an ambitious local woman in their town's annual contest.