Ashley Graham, who campaigns for size inclusivity on and off the runway, is at the center of the body positivity conversation in the fashion world. With a lifelong mission of uplifting women, the American beauty has taken the plus-size modeling industry by storm, gracing various magazine covers.
Do you want to learn more about this plus-size icon? Continue reading.
Early Life and Rise to Fame
Graham moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, with her parents and two younger sisters in eighth grade. She was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD as a child.
Graham went to Scott Middle School between 1999 and 2002 and Lincoln Southwest High School between 2002 and 2005. The I & I agency recognized her in 2000 while shopping at Oak View Mall.
Graham began modeling at 13 after being scouted in a mall in Lincoln, Nebraska. She graduated from high school at 17 and relocated to New York to begin the next step of her career as a supermodel. While most teenagers are going through their self-discovery phase in college, hers took place amid catalogs, catwalks, and casting calls.
Her modeling career took off in 2016 after she made history by appearing on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’s cover, making her the first “plus-size” model to appear on the magazine cover. Meanwhile, this definitive guide on the best online pokies for real money is very beneficial to ensure you’ll not become a victim of online scammers.
Because of her unusual body structure, she had difficulty landing jobs in the early phases of her modeling career. Graham received offers to appear as a catalog girl for the first few years and was told she could never go beyond that.
Ford Models quickly approached her with an offer. Unfortunately, Ford’s plus-size division was closed down soon after. Ashley was devastated, and she later joined IMG, another leading modeling agency.
Her career quickly took off. One of her first huge breaks came in 2007 when Sally Singer of Vogue magazine profiled her.
She was featured in a Glamour editorial called “These Bodies Are Beautiful at Every Size” in 2009. Kate Dillon Levin, Jennie Runk, Amy Lemons, and Anansa Sims were among the other popular plus-size models featured in the campaign.
Graham made headlines when she appeared in a contentious Lane Bryant advertisement, which was eventually banned in many countries. Over 800,000 people had viewed the commercial when they removed it from YouTube. Leading American publications, including The Huffington Post and the New York Post, covered the commercial.
When the controversy erupted, she appeared with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show to address the situation. The episode made her a household name in the United States, and people admired her for being comfortable in her skin despite being body-shamed on media platforms. Moreover, here is a comprehensive guide on the best online casinos south Africa you may also find interesting to read.
Ashley Graham appeared in the editorial of Bust magazine in 2010. She then appeared in several Marina Rinaldi and Levi’s campaigns.
Her most notable clients include Addition Elle, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Target. In 2012, she was featured on massive Lane Bryant billboards in New York.
She gradually became one of the most well-known contemporary plus-size models. By 2012, she had won the Full Figured Fashion Week Model of the Year award.
Ashley Graham briefly dabbled in fashion design in 2013. She created a lingerie chain for Addition Elle, a plus-size clothing retailer based in Canada. The following year, she appeared on Made, an MTV reality show in which she acted as a coach for an ambitious plus-size model.
She appeared in Harper’s Bazaar magazine’s pre-fall collection and beauty editorial in May 2014. She later graced the cover of Elle Quebec.
She was featured in an advertisement in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue in 2015 as part of the Swimsuit for All campaign. The following year, Graham graced the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. She was the first plus-size model to achieve the feat in the magazine’s history; the same year, the top model was featured in the music video for DNCE’s song Toothbrush.
Ashley Graham worked as a backstage host for both the Miss USA 2016 and Miss Universe 2016 pageants. She did a similar thing the following year for both contests. In addition, she has served as a judge on the VH1 talent show America’s Next Top Model.
Ashley published her autobiography titled “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like” in 2017. The memoir recounts her early struggles as a plus-size model and how she overcame them with confidence.
The Body-Positive Icon of This Generation
Graham has used her Instagram account to showcase and celebrate her evolving body throughout her pregnancy.
In August 2019, after she and her husband, Justin Ervin, announced that they were expecting a baby, Graham shared a photo of her stretch marks, and fans praised her sincerity. In one post, she also addressed taboos by sharing photos and videos of her body in close-up.
Graham defied maternity fashion norms by wearing eye-catching ensembles throughout her pregnancy. One of her most memorable looks was a red latex dress she wore to a New York City event in September.
Graham has documented the facets of her post-pregnancy life since giving birth on January 18 to a beautiful son. In another post, the model posted a photo of herself breastfeeding in a restaurant and discussed wearing disposable underwear and postpartum healing. The model also posted a photo of her stretch marks from pregnancy.
Graham was already causing a stir in the body-positive movement before her pregnancy, rejecting the “plus-size” label. Graham has been adamant that the “plus-size” label is outdated, whether used to group high-fashion models or in everyday conversations about style and body image.
The top model believes that the term “plus-size” is divisive among women. She believes that by using the term “plus-size,” you are categorizing all these women: “You don’t eat well.” “You don’t exercise.” “You couldn’t give a damn about your body.” “You’re self-conscious.” “You lack self-assurance.”
In her 2015 TED Talk, the model was one of the first to discuss her struggles with being labeled plus-size publicly. Graham used her powerful presentation to share her experiences with being labeled as “pretty, for a big girl,” and she encouraged people to look further than the confines of plus-size.
Graham has been adamant about the importance of size diversity, or the representation of a wide variety of sizes, in the fashion industry, particularly in clothing stores. She’s spoken out about the realities of being unable to wear certain brands or designers because they were unwilling to cater to her dress size and the dilemma of being unable to find clothes she liked that were flattering on her body.
Luckily, brands specifically catered to plus-sized women are emerging left and right. If you’re looking for plus-size loungewear, check out these comfiest loungewear ideas!