Today, Ashley Graham is a bonafide supermodel, with dozens of magazine covers under her belt and big-name designers flocking to dress her. But getting to this point wasn’t easy. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the 30-year-old model opened up about the vicious body-shaming she experienced growing up and how her own father told her to lose weight to succeed as a model.
Graham admitted that one of the lowest points in her life was when her dad suggested she slim down after she was discovered by a modeling agent at a mall at 15 years old. The agent—who considered Graham’s size, a 14, too large for the industry—advised her to lose a drastic amount of weight. After the conversation, Graham’s father took her into their living room and echoed the agent’s sentiments.
“The really hard moment was when my dad said, ‘Honey, if an agent is telling you to lose weight, then maybe you should lose weight,'” Graham said. “I was 15, standing in our living room having a moment I will never forget. I never had a parent tell me to lose weight and it hurt.”
Despite the pain, Graham made sure to note that her dad was “thinking like a businessman” and his suggestion didn’t reflect his opinion on her beauty. “Of course, he was thinking like a businessman,” she said. “It’s not that my father didn’t love me. He wanted me to succeed.”
Graham also revealed that it was her mother’s support her size and body that pushed her to become a pioneer in the curvy model movement. “She told me, ‘You’re like all of the women in our family. You’re like so many women in the world,'” she said.
We’re glad Graham stuck it out through the criticism to become an inspiration to many.