With covers for Vogue and Sports Illustrated and runway shows for Christian Siriano and Michael Kors under her belt, Ashley Graham is at the top of her game. But even she worries about the longevity of her modeling career. In an interview with V magazine, the 30-year-old model opened up about how she worries that size diversity in the fashion industry will be “another trend.”
In a Q&A with curvy rapper Lizzo, the women vented their frustrations with companies who use body-positivity as a marketing tool, which they believe is the death of body-positivity as a movement and shifts it into a fad. “I feel like people are starting to put a plastic veneer on self-love and body positivity, and trying to make it marketable,” Lizzo said. “Women who are actually pushing forward in body positivity and inclusiveness have to continue fighting and striving, so that it doesn’t become a fad. We have to be careful that it’s not a trend—that it remains a movement.”
Being in the modeling industry for 17 years and only seeing her career explode recently, Graham is also wary of size-diversity becoming a trend and worries that she and other curvy models could be gone in an instant. Her solution is ensuring that there’s size-diversity in all industries—not just fashion.
“I mean, being in the game for 17 years and then seeing everything pop off in the last couple of years is like, why now?” Graham said. “Are we just gonna be another trend, and all of a sudden all the curvy girls are gone? I really feel like fashion starts trends, but it’s everybody else who makes it a movement—the media, TV, movies, entertainment in general—so we need you, Lizzo.”
The women also explained the problem they have with people who call them “brave” or ask them how they find their confidence. For Lizzo, these comments, though well-intentioned, perpetuate the normalization of thinness and that fatness is something to overcome.
“When someone’s like, ‘When did you learn to love yourself? You’re so brave,’ you’re perpetuating the idea that I had to learn how to love myself because I’m fat, and that I’m brave for wearing a bikini,” Lizzo said. “Don’t perpetuate that. That should be normalized as much as a slim girl in a bikini. But also, that slim girl, we need to be asking her, when did she learn to love herself? And you need to tell her she’s brave. We even the playing field.”
Graham echoes the same sentiment. Though she understands why people ask her how she found her confidence, she believes that that question should be asked to everyone, regardless of their size.
“So many people come up to us and say, ‘How do you get your confidence? Where does it come from?’ Or like, ‘Where does your body love come from?'” Graham said. “But are they asking that to women who haven’t had to embrace their curves and their cellulite and their back fat? No. But I think it’s important that we continue to talk about those issues.”
Graham and Lizzo make a lot of great points. A lot goes in to ensuring that size-diversity—or diversity in general, for that matter—doesn’t become a trend. We appreciate these ladies for speaking out.