Ashley Graham Opens Up About Her Family’s Initial Racism Toward Her Black Husband

Ashley Graham Opens Up About Her Family’s Initial Racism Toward Her Black Husband
Photo: Getty Images

As a pioneer in the curvy model movement, Ashley Graham hears from intolerant, closed-minded trolls on the daily. However, size discrimination isn’t the only prejudice Graham has experienced in her life. In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” the 30-year-old model opened up about being in an interracial relationship and her family’s initial racism toward her husband, cinematographer Justin Ervin, who is black.

Graham first learned of her family’s disapproval when she brought Ervin, her boyfriend at the time, to her home in Nebraska, without telling her family members about his race. She recalled her mother trying to ignore the interracial aspect, while her grandmother made it abundantly clear that she didn’t approve.

“My mom tried to not make it a big deal, but Grandma made it a big deal,” Graham said. “She couldn’t even look him in the eye. I mean, it was horrifying.”

MORE: Ashley Graham Discourages Women from Modeling to Avoid Being ‘Picked Apart All the Time’

The experience left Graham feeling conflicted and surprised that her family, the people who raised her, treated her future husband so poorly.

“And I will never forget that feeling of just sitting there with Justin, thinking, ‘I’m so embarrassed that I had to bring him in to meet these people, these people who raised me and taught me how to live, and he’s being treated so terribly,'” she said. “And he said to me, ‘Racism is never surprising, but it’s always disappointing.'”

MORE: Ashley Graham Criticizes Miss Universe Pageant for Not Including Curvy Contestants

Though Graham didn’t reveal whether her family grew to accept Ervin, she noted that her experience furthered their bond and eventually led to their wedding in 2016. We can’t get enough of Graham for speaking the truth, whether it be size discrimination or the struggles of being in an interracial relationship.