It should be common knowledge now that celebrities are human beings and they too get hurt by vicious online comments. And yet, Internet bullying still exists. Ashley Graham was the latest subject of web trolls after backlash over her 2016 Sports Illustrated cover (which she looked damn good in, btw) made her cry. (Tell us, Ashley. Who do we gotta fight?)
While the 29-year-old curvy model received widespread praise for gracing the magazine’s 2016 Swimsuit Edition, she also faced some not-so-nice criticism—if we’re putting it lightly. Graham finally opened up about the experience in a recent appearance on the “Steve Harvey Show,” where she revealed that the negative comments brought her to tears.
“I don’t normally cry from Instagram comments because I’ve heard it all,” she said. “But in this moment, I cried because all I saw was, ‘Oh, you put a heffer in the magazine.’ [There were] women [saying], ‘Oh, I’m over here working out 24/7, but a girl who doesn’t even go to the gym gets to be in the pages of Sports Illustrated?'”
She continued, “I felt like I had ruined Sports Illustrated. I felt like I had taken it down a notch.”
However, the negative feelings quickly subsided when the cover was finally released and the model was overwhelmed with love for her positive message on body diversity.
“Lo and behold, it was a groundbreaking cover,” Graham said. “Yes, it changed my life, but that cover changed so many other women’s lives. That cover will forever be a statement in the fashion industry that size does not matter. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”
While she was on the topic of magazines, Graham also tackled her March 2017 Vogue cover, for which she was accused of hiding her body. The cover, which featured other supermodels like Liu Wen and Kendall Jenner, was intended to celebrate beauty diversity, but many critics accused Graham—and the magazine—of covering up her curves by strategically placing her hand on her thigh. She quickly shot down those accusations.
“You know what, Steve? I was posing the exact way I wanted to pose,” she said. “I didn’t want to look like the girls next to me. Liu Wen had her arm up. Kendall had her arm up. I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to do what they do. I’m putting my arm down.'”
She continued, “Of course, people said whatever they wanted to say about it. But I was just being me like I’m always being me.”
Here’s to hoping that body-shaming and Internet trolling will end soon—not only for the sake of Graham, but for the sake of humanity.