Why Ashley Graham Refused to Retouch Her Stretch Marks in Her New Bikini Photos

Ashley Graham
Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP.

Real and unfiltered. Ashley Graham revealed why she didn’t retouch her stretch marks in her new bikini photos. In an interview with People on Wednesday, July 29, the supermodel opened up about how her body has changed since she gave birth to her son, Isaac Menelik Giovanni Ervin, in January and why she decided to show her post-birth stretch marks in a recent photoshoot her new collaboration with Swimsuits For All.

There’s always a question of, ‘What do you want us to retouch, and what do you want us to take out?’ And I said, ‘Nothing,’ except from a clamp holding up the DIY backdrop,” Graham said. “I want everybody to know genuinely … I want people to see who I am because everybody has a story.”

She continued, “A lot of women I speak to have image issues, body issues around confidence. I want them to understand that we all have things that society has told us to cover up, and why do we need to do that? So here I am with mine out and about and proud.”

The photos, taken by her husband photographer Justin Ervin, show Graham in different bikinis from her line as she shows off the stretch marks at the bottom of her stomach. Though she wasn’t used to her post-baby body at first, Graham explained to People that her bikini photoshoot was a way for her to feel empowered about how her body looks like now. “It looks so simple and beautiful but powerful. I’ve got more weight on me. I have stretch marks, and in the beginning, I really had to have a lot of conversations with myself and tell myself, ‘OK, new body, new mindset,’” Graham said. “But after this photo shoot, I felt so empowered because I was like, ‘Yes. I look good. I feel good. This is my new mom bod.’”

In an Instagram post sharing her husband’s photos, Graham explained that the pictures were taken in quarantine in her backyard. “Some things I love: a cute bathing suit and a backyard shoot with the family! We’ve had such great time making the most of this summer in Nebraska and these suits have me feeling great for my first summer as a mommy! 👙 @swimsuitsforall 📸 @mrjustinervin,” she wrote in her caption.

In an Instagram post in February, Graham got real about postpartum recovery. “Raise your hand if you didn’t know you’d be changing your own diapers too🙋🏻‍♀️ After all these years in fashion I never could’ve guessed that disposable underwear would be my favorite piece of clothing but here we are!” she captioned a photo of her in the bathroom.

She continued, “No one talks about the recovery and healing (yes even the messy parts) new moms go through. I wanted to show you guys that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies! It’s been tough, but my friend Chelsea @cmrh and ceo at @fridamom is making waves and starting honest conversations. It’s unbelievable the obstacles we still face talking about what women really go through. All their stuff she sent me has been a life saver.”

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