Ashley Graham‘s backstory is similar to many buzzy models: After being discovered at a mall in her hometown of Nebraska, she started modeling young, working for major brands and high profile magazines. However, it’s her healthy approach to food and fitness that makes Graham decidedly unlike other models in her pay bracket.
Today, Graham flaunts her epic size-14 bod’ in glossy magazines like Vogue and Glamour, all the while championing an empowering message of body positivity.
Back in 2010 the model and activist caused a lot of buzz after starring in a campaign for plus-size clothing retailer Lane Bryant—an ad that was promptly banned from TV for being too risqué—confirming that yep, Graham’s curves are too sexy for television. In 2008, Vogue‘s Shape Issue dedicated three pages to Graham’s personal style, and the following year she was also selected as one of models celebrated in Glamour‘s Shape Issue.
Photo shoots aside, Graham’s a dedicated activist when it comes to issues around body images. She’s a founding member of ALDA, a collaborative of models whose goal is to empower women and change the perception of beauty. She also juggles her modeling career with public speaking gigs at high schools, talking with teens about body image.
Inspiring, no? We chatted with the model to grab a peek inside her healthy food and fitness diary.
I start an average day by:
Making a smoothie and checking emails.
For breakfast I had:
A green juice a day keeps the doctor away! My favorite blend is kale, lemon, ginger, beets, apple and parsley.
For lunch I had:
A quinoa and brown rice bowl with vegetables and tahini.
For dinner I had:
Baked salmon, arugula salad, and sweet potato.
My go-to healthy drink is:
“Green Giant” from Juice Press.
The one thing I would never eat is:
Never say never. I’ll try anything.
My favorite workout is:
My guilty pleasure food is:
Mac and cheese.
The one thing that always gets me motivated to workout is:
Knowing I have a swimsuit or lingerie shoot coming up.
The next big health and fitness trend will be:
My favorite healthy restaurant is:
The Little Beet Table in New York.
The three ingredients you’ll always find in my kitchen are:
Fresh garlic, tahini sauce, and honey.
My biggest health tip for travelers is to:
Pack your gym. I take my resistance bands everywhere!
My signature healthy dish is:
A kale paste pasta sauce with gluten-free pasta.
The health app I couldn’t live without is:
Nike+ Training Club.
The top three songs on my workout playlist right now are:
“How Deep Is Your Love” by Calvin Harris, “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, and “Lay It All On Me” by Rudimental.
The best part of my job is:
Traveling, and inspiring women to feel good in their skin.
My favorite activewear brands are:
Nike, Alala and Zella.
My winter health tip is:
Stay active. Go to workout classes you enjoy with a friend.