Plus Size Supermodel, Ashley Graham has been breaking many of the furiously practiced standards of beauty, for a while now, tearing down notorious (unrealistic) body size perceptions along the way.
Sporting an animal bikini, and trinkets in her latest Instagram post, Graham posted a rather unflattering picture of herself (and her cellulite), in stark contradiction to social media standards of photo uploads. The picture was accompanied with an inspiring message from the model –
“I workout. I do my best to eat well. I love the skin I’m in. I am not ashamed of a few bumps or cellulite, and you shouldn’t be either.”
The 29-year-old model, first sauntered into the fashion industry, in a bold (totally real) size 16, in the year 2001, when she executed a contract with Wilhelmina Models, post attending a model convention. Since then, she has been profiled across leading beauty magazines, and publications that include Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elle, and Glamour, in addition to leading campaigns for top apparel brands such as Levis and Lane Bryant.
More recently, Graham became the first plus-size model to be featured in the 2016’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and was also featured in the British Vogue edition, as part of the magazine’s 100-year anniversary. Her powerful work on breaking body images, and emerging as a positive fashion influencer for millions of women, the world over, also earned her a place among the 2016’s Forbes 30 under 30 List.
Apart from being a leading voice against the rigorous standards of an extremely body conscious beauty industry, Graham has been an active participant of humanitarian missions as part of the Themba Foundation, in South Africa (The organization is known for its work with children in the African region).
Interestingly, some of the model’s recent work had drawn flak from her fans (and social media followers), in an agitated (almost worried) response to the Graham’s thinning waistline, and pictures that went against her plus size status. One fan had commented, “This ain’t plus size to me”, on an Instagram post that showed off her toned figure. But clearly, fans’ worries are largely misplaced, as Graham continues to remain a powerful figure defying, thinner than real body imagery promoted by the global fashion industry.
In her recent post, Graham confidently spoke about her ongoing efforts to work out, towards a healthier body, which has apparently never encouraged any new forms of self-doubt over her body or its size, and consequent attempts to adhere to traditional body size aspirations. Thus, placing the importance of fitness over weight loss while exercising one’s body.
Reflecting on this week's premiere of #ANTM. Thanks to your support, it was the highest-rated Top Model premiere in the past 5 years! I'm proud to be part of one of the most diverse seasons of ANTM, and I truly hope that me being on the judging panel inspires and encourages more people of every size and shape to audition for the show and to pursue all of their passions without feeling held back because of their size. I will always advocate for #BeautyBeyondSize, and together we will open more doors for size diversity so that everyone is represented equally. Everyone using their voices to stand up for curves makes me hopeful that we WILL see another curvy and fierce individual win the competition!
In one of her recent interviews, the supermodel recollects being told over and over on how she would never be able to move beyond a catalog model, for plus sizes. Today, Graham has owned cover pages of iconic fashion publications, as the most coveted cover girl – size 16 or 6, notwithstanding.
#Repost @britishvogue ・・・ “For 10 years I’d been told I was always going to be a catalogue girl, never a cover girl. Well, I got with @imgmodels and did five covers in a year, boom, boom, boom. See, if you have a pretty face doors will open, but your job isn’t just to walk through them, it’s to get invited back." Read excerpts from @theashleygraham's #JanuaryVogue cover interview via the link in bio, plus get the issue on newsstands from Monday