Ashley Graham’s rise to fame has been phenomenal. She is the first plus-size model to ever grace the cover of Sports Illustrated and since then she’s had several coveted magazine covers to her credit. No matter how fairy tale-like her story may sound, the truth of the matter is that her path to superstardom has been pretty rough.
It’s no secret anymore that Ashley Graham has been body shamed by several people in public. However, it’s not after she became famous but before that she was told repeatedly that she could never become a cover girl, People magazine has reported. Graham went on to say that after being told that she was never going to be on the cover, she thought to herself that she would just do catalog modeling. It’s fair to assume that it is probably easier for her to land an assignment now than it was when she was just starting out.
After she became famous, however, she started to have problems of a slightly different type. People then started to nitpick her Instagram posts and suggest she’s become thinner.
People have always labeled women according to body type. Ashley Graham was called “real woman” when she was put on the cover of Sports Illustrated. However, a report said that Ashley Graham is actually two sizes larger than the average American woman. Ashley is pretty clear about the fact that she doesn’t like to be called “real woman”.
“I don’t like to use the words ‘real women’, honestly,” she told Elle magazine. “I like to use the word’woman’. And I say that because there are so many women out there who are naturally thin, or are naturally curvy.”
“I think when we start putting a label on the type of woman it gets misconstrued and starts to offend people,” she continued. “At the end of the day we just all want to be known as women or models or actresses or whatever,”.
Ashley Graham is totally right in saying that labels generally do more harm than good and that’s one of the reasons she doesn’t like them.
Ashley Graham has also talked about how she felt truly fee when she realized that she was never going to fit in. She completely stopped trying and she says that was a revelation.
“I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the mold that society wanted me to fit in,” she said. “I was never going to be perfect enough for an industry that defines perfection from the outside and that’s okay. Rolls, curves, cellulite, all of it—I love every part of me,” she said. That’s a pretty healthy thinking and Ashley Graham can certainly be at the forefront of this change that is desperately needed when it comes to body image.
“This is the generation of body diversity,” Graham said. “The current is changing.” Those are really powerful words and with the kind of media exposure young girls have these days, it’s important that they are not negatively influenced by it.
Even though Ashely Graham’s intentions might seem noble, not everyone thinks so. She was criticized by Cheryl Tiegs, a Sports Illustrated cover girl. She went as far as to say that Ashley Graham is setting a bad example for women. However, Ashley Graham did not react rudely to Tiegs’ remarks. She let her fans do all the criticism. She merely said that she is happy that women in all shapes and sizes are now appearing on magazine covers.
Do you think Ashley Graham is the right role model for women? Do you think she can help usher a movement for body positivity? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Cindy Ord/Getty Images]