Ashley Graham may be comfortable with her body these days, but she admitted in a new interview with British Vogue that she used to wish she was thinner. However, Graham has since learned how to embrace her curves so that she could inspire other women, according to a report via Us Weekly.
“Do I sometimes wish I were thinner? God, in the old days, absolutely I did,” Graham said, “but now I feel that to lose weight would be disloyal to myself. A lot of who I am is connected to my size, and I am so happy with who I am.”
Graham is the first plus-size model to grace the cover of Vogue U.K., according to Fashionista. Graham and other plus-size models have appeared inside the pages of Vogue before, but never on the cover. By featuring Graham on the cover of a highly coveted spot for many model and celebrities, British Vogue is helping bring more diversity to the fashion world.
The brunette beauty is the cover girl for the publication’s January 2017 issue. Graham, who wears an embellished motorcycle jacket and white T-shirt on the cover, says she rejects the term “plus-size.”
“When we’re supposed to be talking about diversity for women, it feels so divisive and purpose-defeating, giving us yet another label,” she said.
Graham has modeled for Lane Bryant and has designed her own lingerie line for Addition Elle, a Canadian plus-size clothing retailer. She has graced the covers of fashion’s other major publications, such as Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Elle. Earlier this year, Graham became the first plus-size model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, setting her on the path to becoming one of the world’s top models.
“For 10 years I’d been told I was always going to be a catalog girl, never a cover girl,” she told Vogue.
“Well, I got with IMG 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. Look, I hit the beauty jackpot – I get it – but that’s not enough. You’ve got to have more longevity in this business. It’s always been ‘OK, so what can I do now?'”
Graham’s recent comments about being plus-size have always stayed the same. While she may not call herself “plus-size,” she isn’t turning away from the term, either. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, the former Maxim cover girl opened up about how the term becomes a label for curvaceous models in an industry that’s filled with super skinny models.
“Just because I’m not calling myself plus-size doesn’t mean I’m not representing a woman who is. I’m giving curvy women a seat at a table that we’ve never been invited to before —a table with high-end fashion people who have never considered us beautiful.”
Graham also addressed the controversy between comedian Amy Schumer and Glamour magazine, which stated the actress was plus-size in its latest cover feature.
“I can see both sides, but Amy talks about being a big girl in the industry,” Graham stated.
“You thrive on being a big girl, but when you’re grouped in with us, you’re not happy about it? That, to me, felt like a double standard.”
This comes after Graham was honored with Glamour’s Woman of the Year Award for her work as a body activist. She also got a Barbie doll made her honor. Mattel is creating a Barbie that’s based on the model’s body type and likeness.
“I never imagined that I would have my own Barbie,” Graham revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. The California-based company got wind when Graham was excited that they were releasing the body-positivity Barbie.
“They told me that was one of the reasons they wanted to make [the doll]. It’s just another one of those things where your words have power, and be careful what you ask for because you will get it.”
Graham gave Mattel input on what she wanted her doll to wear, and that it should have thighs that touch.
“She had to have her thighs touch. No ands, ifs or buts about it. And I asked for cellulite but obviously plastic and cellulite don’t go hand in hand,” she shared.
“It was important that the Barbie resembled me as much as possible. The thighs touching was one way to show young girls that it’s OK for your thighs to touch, despite society saying that a ‘thigh gap’ is more beautiful.”
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Glamour]