These days, Ashley Greene isn’t just a role model to her fans; she’s a source of style inspiration, too.

“It’s certainly something that I’ve read and people have voiced that they do consider me one of their fashion icons, and it’s really flattering and I’m really thankful for it,” she told PEOPLE Thursday before a meet-and-greet at Macy’s Herald Square. “But it’s always interesting to me — growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, I never considered myself a fashion icon at all, or anything even close.”

But now, Greene — the face of DKNY and DKNY Jeans — has many a stylish eye looking her way thanks to the premieres and parties she attends. “It’s really fun for me to be able to be exposed to the red carpet and the dresses and the clothing, and working with Donna [Karan], because it’s broadened my horizons,” she said. “And now other people are responding to the things I’m wearing, so it’s fun for me, too.”

Greene, who said she grew up in flip-flops and cut-off shorts — “All the things you probably would not consider that fashionable here,” she joked — really got into style on the set of her first Twilight film. “All of a sudden there were carpets and events and press tours,” she recalled, “and I got to work with people on set about creating [character Alice Cullen's] look, so that sparked my interested and it spiraled from there. I fell in love with it.”

The actress said her favorite Donna Karan fashion moment so far was the 2011 Met Ball; she wore a custom blush gown by the designer. “It was a fairytale moment,” she shared.

But seeing her billboard in Times Square was a very close second. “They tell you about it, but then you actually see it and your jaw kind of drops,” she said, laughing. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’m humungous.’”

In fact, the experience was so big that Greene’s parents came to New York to see the image for themselves. “I had my family come out for Christmas, and that’s the first thing my mom wanted to do was see the billboard,” Greene recalled. “She landed and was like, ‘OK, let’s go look!’ It was a really huge moment.” Literally!

source