Supermodel Ashley Graham, 31, wants the world to know she’s gained weight recently. Wait, what?
As one of the “first” successful plus-size fashion models, Graham has built a career as an outspoken advocate for body positivity and inclusivity. So when she started receiving disappointing comments on Instagram accusing her of losing weight—like this gem from @mariazaab_ on an October 11 post: “Im absolutely positive she got a lipo! She has always been curvy but those curves are NOT from someone her size.”—Graham had to respond.
“It sucked that everybody had to go in on me like, ‘Oh, you lost so much weight.’ If these people actually knew me—which, you know, they don’t and maybe never will—they would know that my body just hasn’t changed,” Graham told Glamour for the magazine’s November digital cover story. “To be completely honest, I’ve gained weight in the last five years, not lost weight. If you actually look at my IMG Polaroids from when I first signed with them to now, you can tell I’m thicker. I mean, it’s just age. Geez. Whatever!”
This isn’t the first time Graham’s had to fight back about her weight. In a 2016 Lenny Letter, Graham shared more about her love-hate relationship with Instagram, a platform on which she has 7.7 million followers. Without it, she writes, she wouldn’t have been able to further her platform as a body activist and build her #BeautyBeyondSize community. But, it’s also understandably hard to ignore negative comments.
“To some I’m too curvy,” Graham wrote in her Lenny Letter. “To others I’m too tall, too busty, too loud and, now, too small—too much, but at the same time not enough. When I post a photo from a ‘good angle,’ I receive criticism for looking smaller and selling out. When I post photos showing my cellulite, stretch marks, and rolls, I’m accused of promoting obesity. The cycle of body-shaming needs to end. I’m over it.”
Not only is she over it, she’s doing something about it. In October, Graham launched Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham, a podcast in which Graham and her guests touch on identity, body, authenticity and owning one’s self with the goal of igniting conversation about the topics that matter most to people who are pretty big deals.
We’re here for it and for Graham’s commitment to helping people feel confident in their own skin. Now that’s something to be thankful for this holiday.