Ashley Graham may be a super in-demand model, but she knows all about the horrors of body-shamers. And those trolls unfortunately include her ex-boyfriends. When young women tell Graham about the terrible things they’ve heard about their bodies, she feels sympathetic—but never shocked, sadly.
“Nothing’s actually surprised me. I’ve lived exactly what they’re living,” she said at the Urban Arts Partnership 25th anniversary benefit, as People reports. “I’ve lived the torment of the names. I’ve lived the torment of boyfriends breaking up with me because they were afraid I was going to be too fat later in life. It’s the same cycle, it doesn’t matter what generation we are in. Every kid is going to go through the same thing.”
Though Graham still gets down on herself sometimes, she embraces herself just the way she is—and uses affirmations to practice self-love and body positivity. “I wake up sometimes and I think ‘I’m the fattest woman alive,'” she said. “But it’s really about how you handle it when you wake up. I look in the mirror and I have my affirmations. And mine are simple. [I say] ‘You are bold. You are brilliant and you are beautiful.’ And then if my lower pooch is really puffing out that day, I say, ‘Lower pooch, you are cute.’ And we have a moment. And if the hips are really popping, I say, ‘I love you too, hips.'” OK, yes! We couldn’t love this any more if we tried.
The more models of all sizes we have in the industry, the easier it’ll be for everyone, no matter what their size, to feel good about themselves. “Having more role models, more women who are like ‘Yeah, I have cellulite. Yeah, it’s even on my arms, not just my legs. My butt is a really bizarre shape, but you know what, whatever, I’m just going to go rock it.’ I think if we had more role models like that that, that were really just speaking their truth about their body and the skin that they’re in, then maybe young America would be different,” she said.
We certainly hope so. As Graham said herself, things are changing in the modeling world, however slowly—and that is so important. “I think that my career has been a huge testament to how the industry is changing right before our eyes,” she said. “I don’t think that a girl my size, as a model, would ever have been on the cover of Vogue and I’m still so shocked at that,” she said.
Well, that Vogue cover had its problems, but—yes, we were so happy to see Graham on the cover as well, and we hope she lands a solo American Vogue cover ASAP.