20 Ways Ashley Graham Encourages Body Positivity
by Faith Brar
This past year, curvy supermodel Ashley Graham has been everywhere. She’s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated; she delivered a TedxTalk in Spain; she strutted her stuff in New York Fashion Week; but most importantly, she taught women to embrace and love their bodies. Graham has become a voice for the average woman, urging society to reevaluate the definition of beauty. Here are 20 ways in which Ashley Graham makes us feel confident just being ourselves.
She’s Not Afraid of Her Curves
In April of 2015, Ashley Graham did a TedxTalk in Valencia, Spain about how, like many women, she was insecure about her body. That insecurity, she says, is a result of the standards society has set about what is beautiful. Throughout the talk, she empowered women by speaking up about how she embraces her rolls, curves, and even cellulite.
She Proves Strong is the New Sexy
By joining forces with the Curvy Fit Club, Graham works to teach curvy women they can be fit without necessarily wanting to change the natural shapes of their bodies. She is an advocate for being healthy at the size you are.
She Owns a Bikini
When she posted this picture of herself in a bikini on her Instagram account, Graham challenged 1,000 women to do the same. She always aims to prove that there is beauty beyond size, and she wants other women to believe that too.
She Wants to Be A Role Model
In an interview with Details, Graham says, “You’re either too fat and not pretty enough or your just über-duber sexy like the Marilyn Monroes or Jennifer Lopez’s of the world… just because they were two of the most notable curvy women in society. But at the end of the day, they weren’t that curvy… nobody sat down and had a fat roll hang over their stomach. That was the struggle—I never had anybody to truly look up to. That’s why I said, ‘I’m going to be that person.'” And she is that person for so many women.
She is Living Proof That True Beauty Has No Size
In Elle UK’s June 2015 Body Issue, Graham talked about her pledge to help women overcome self-loathing and embrace themselves for who they are.
She Changes the Rules Surrounding Body Image
By posting inspirational pictures and quotes, Graham constantly pushes boundaries to create a new norm for women with curves and women who feel insecure about the way they look.
She Surpasses Expectations
Graham was selected to be a part of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Art and Style last year. Forbes labeled her as someone who not only stands out in the fashion world, but also influences a particular market of women who are often ignored.
She is Humble
Graham posted this no-makeup selfie to her Instagram to tell the world we needed to change the global vision of beauty. She talks about a Dove survey that interviewed thousands of women in ten countries; only four percent of those women believed they were beautiful. This shocking statistic is why Graham does what she does.
She Believes Confidence is Sexy
Graham used the hashtag #iamsizesexy to encourage women to be confident regardless of their size, and to have a positive outlook on female bodies of all different shapes and sizes. “There is no comparison. Just celebration,” she says.
She Leads By Example
Graham gives “practice what you preach” a whole new meaning. From appearing on several talk shows and campaigning for curvy women to being a voice for body positivity on social media, Graham has done everything in her power to start a conversation about feminine beauty.
She Ignores the Haters
To get to where she is now, Ashley Graham has gone through some tough stuff. In 2010, she shot an ad with Lane Bryant that was banned from television. Why? Because it aired during family hour and was considered “inappropriate.” Graham has also had people discredit the fact that she is a model because of her size. Regardless, she continues to push the negativity to the side and do what she loves.
She Teaches Women to Love Themselves
Graham encourages women to love each and every part of their body. And that is something that starts on an individual level. Even if you are insecure and don’t like the way you look, Graham says to keep telling yourself that you are beautiful. “It doesn’t come overnight, but if you keep working at it, eventually you’ll believe it,” she tells Health Magazine.
She Teaches Women to Love One Another
“Women are the hardest on each other! It’s crazy, I don’t understand why,” Graham has said. And she is right. So now, she encourages women to bring positivity into each others lives. To do that, we must stand by each other and build each other up.
She’s a Foodie
The supermodel is not afraid to show the world she loves her food, especially cupcakes.
She Encourages Women to Keep Moving
Being a curvy model is anything but easy; especially when no one can agree on what sizes fall under the full-figured heading. Graham has been a sizes 14, 16 and 18 during different stages of her life, but urges women that no matter what size you are, it is always important to keep moving and stay active.
She Admits That She Hates Jean Shopping
Graham posted this picture on Instagram announcing that she hated jean shopping, but thought it made her booty look damn fine. Now if only we could all be that confident.
She Starts Revolutions
In 2015, Graham was signed by IMG Models and joined the ranks of Candice Swanepoel, Chanel Iman, Gisele Bundchen, and Gigi Hadid. Graham is one of the first plus-size models to be signed with such a high-profile agency. IMG believes that they are “furthering the conversation around true, diverse beauty” by adding Graham and other curvy models to their roster.
She is Changing the Face of Lingerie
Growing up, Graham could never find bras that fit her body type. She decided to change that for women like her by creating a sexy lingerie collection with Addition Elle. She even flaunted it at New York Fashion Week. It’s safe to say it was a hit, especially with curvy women who have limited options when it comes to underwear.
She Has a Great Sense of Humor
Weight can be a sensitive topic. But somehow Graham finds a way to make the topic lighthearted by posting sayings like this to her social media.
She Changed the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
Everyone’s success story starts somewhere and for Graham it started with a photoshoot with Sport’s Illustrated. In 2015, she became the first plus-size model to grace the pages of the infamous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She has been changing views about body image ever since.