Since her astronomic rise in the fashion industry, Ashley Graham hasn’t kept quiet about the need for more size diversity. Whether she’s hosting the Miss Universe pageant or attending Rihanna‘s show with Puma, the 30-year-old model is never shy to put celebrities, brands, and the fashion industry on blast for not catering to curvy women.
It’s about time things have changed, and we’re glad that Graham is leading the charge. Though Graham’s recent gig as Revlon’s newest ambassador is a great stride for size and body diversity in fashion and beauty, there is still a long way to go. Ahead, we round up every time Graham has called out brands, people, and the fashion industry as a whole for their ignorance. Read her bold and inspiring statements, ahead.
Puma and Rihanna
When Graham attended Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma Spring 2018 show at New York Fashion Week last year, she saw one huge flaw: the lack of curvy models. Though Graham praised Rihanna for her racially diverse casting (including models like Adwoa Aboah and Duckie Thot), she thought the show could improve by casting more curvy models. “I was at Fenty last night, and that was an amazing show. But how dope would it have been to see some curves on the runway?” Graham told Yahoo. “It was a very diverse group of women, which was really nice.”
Graham might’ve been a backstage host at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, but her job didn’t stop her from pointing out the flaws she saw in the historic beauty competition. In an interview with Fox News, Graham called out Miss Universe and its sister pageant, Miss USA, for not including any curvy contestants in their 50-plus-year runs.
“I think that it’s really important that we continue to show diversity of all sizes, ethnicities, backgrounds and religion. So for me, I’m here to show diversity of size! Because not yet have we had a curvy girl in Miss Universe or even in the Miss USA pageant,” Graham said. “If you can see a curvy girl on the cover of Sports Illustrated or Vogue, then we can definitely see a curvy girl as Miss Universe.”
For years, Graham has been vocal about Victoria’s Secret’s lack of curvy models. Two years ago, right after the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Graham called on Victoria’s Secret to cast more curvy models, including herself, in its runway shows. “When Victoria’s Secret calls me to be on their runway, I’m going to say yes. Victoria’s Secret, I’m here for you,” Graham told TMZ.
A year later, before the lingerie brand’s 2017 show, Graham shaded Victoria’s Secret with an Instagram post of her walking down the runway with photoshopped angel wings—a signature of Victoria’s Secret shows. The post was supposed jab at Victoria’s Secret, which has yet to cast a curvy model in its runway show. “Got my wings! 🦋💐🌈😜 .. my #AdditionElle wings! #thickthighssavelives,” Graham captioned the Instagram.
In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Graham made an important point about buyers who buy clothes for stores. Though Graham saw a huge improvement in terms of designers, such as Michael Kors and Prabal Gurung, expanding their size ranges up to 20, she noticed a huge disconnect in store buyers who are supposed to be supplying these sizes to customers.
While fashion designers are taking note about the need for more size diversity, store buyers are slacking, which is why Graham and other curvy customers still often can’t enter a mall and buy the same clothes that other smaller customers might be able to buy.
“We’re lacking communication between designers, buyers and the actual customer,” Graham said. “Designers… go up to a size 20, but the buyers won’t buy it because they don’t think the customer will come into the store. That customer has been told for so long that that size doesn’t exist for her, so how does she know?”
Fashion isn’t the only industry Graham believes needs more size diversity. After she was hired as Revlon’s newest ambassador and became the first-ever curvy model to front a campaign for a major beauty brand, Graham pointed out the need to see more curvy women’s faces in beauty ads. In an essay for Glamour, Graham opened up about being turned down for beauty campaigns in the past because of her size. Graham also noted that makeup has no size, yet very few curvy models are presented with the opportunity to promote it.
“If you ask any big girl what’s her favorite thing in her closet, she’ll give you one of two answers: accessories or makeup,” Graham wrote. “It is how it is because, traditionally, we’ve never had clothes that were cool enough or accessible enough for us. The beauty of makeup, though, is that it isn’t about size—it fits into every person’s makeup bag and should work for every single face. And yet, when I was growing up, the women I saw in beauty campaigns were always unattainable…There’s no size requirement to fit a lipstick. So why have there been so few curvy models in national and worldwide beauty campaigns up until this point?”