Ashley Graham is now known worldwide for her gorgeous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover, but it wasn’t much before this time that she was told by agents to lose weight if she wanted to make money. Graham had told People Magazine how agents tried to manipulate her into shedding some pounds. She was told to lose weight.
“I had one that waved money in my face and said, ‘If you lose more lbs – pounds – you can make a lot more of this,’ and he was waving $20 bills in my face.”
A bit rebellious, Graham admitted “that if you told me to go on a diet and lose weight, I’m just going to gain weight.” This is certainly something many women will do when given unsolicited advice on their current weight. She was told to lose weight.
Like many women, she was frowning at the her reflection in the mirror. Ashley Graham changed her attitude and suddenly she began to turn it around. She decided to love herself and embrace every single curve and imperfection her body had and love herself. The model ignored the body-shamers by giving herself positive self-talk and celebrating who she was at that moment, flaws and all.
“A lot of taking care of my body and my mind and my soul had to do with talking to myself and actually giving myself affirmations,” she says. “It got me out of my funk. I still had cellulite, I still had back fat, I still had jiggly arms, and I decided to love every part of it.”
A 15-year veteran of the modeling world, Ashley Graham has changed preconceived notions of what is beautiful. The icing on the cake was the Sports Illustrated cover. She has created a new normal in fashion, thus changing the everyday views of people’s expectations of what a woman should look like. No longer do women need to be stick-thin to be considered fashionable or sexy. Ashley is empowered with a healthy self-esteem. She has made the curvy look sexy and desirable. Yet, she was told to lose weight. If she had followed this advice, she may never have been a cover girl.
“I’m using my body to let other women know that imperfections are okay, that cellulite, rolls, curves, all of it, things that jiggle that ‘shouldn’t be jiggling’ are okay.”
Even with her strength, beauty, and worldwide fame, there are still people that have not been positive. Supermodel and former Sports Illustrated cover girl Cheryl Tiegs was critical of Ashley’s weight with her comments about the most recent swimsuit issue cover.
“I don’t think it’s healthy. Her face is beautiful, beautiful. But I don’t think it’s healthy in the long run.”
What Tiegs said about Ashley Graham is something many overweight women hear: “she has a beautiful face.” And then the overweight woman knows that this is a backhanded compliment because the rest of the comment may be silent, but what is implied is “…but too bad she is fat.”
Tiegs later apologized to the Huffington Post— not to Ashley — and explained that this was more of a statement on “health concerns” and cited high rates of cancer and diabetes linked to obesity. Yet, at the same time, conventional BMI measurements would not put Tiegs into the healthy category, as the former model admits she has a 37-inch waist, two inches larger than the highest healthy waist measurement. As Tiegs is quite slim and is very public about her super-healthy lifestyle, this leads many to question if BMI is really the gold standard in determining health. Would Cheryl be told to lose weight now? Odds are no. Yet, Ashley Graham was giving unsolicited advice to do that very thing.
Do you think that Ashley Graham has changed how we view women’s bodies? Do you think she needs to lose weight?
[Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images]