Ashley Graham has solidified herself as a figure in the body positive movement, but now she’s opening up about her own journey to empowerment. In her cover story for Allure, the 31-year-old model spoke about how she was often objectified growing up in the industry.
“My body has always been treated as a thing and not mine,” she told the publication. “You’re the sexy girl. You’re the naked girl. Men are going to idolize your hourglass figure. It was always about what others thought about my body, until I gained a voice. Now I get to tell people what I think of my body.”
Graham has reclaimed herself not only through modeling but also through her businesses and activism. She has her own podcast, Pretty Big Deal, hosts the competition series American Beauty Star, and continues works with photographers to portray her body in a realistic way.
Not to mention, she’s often an outspoken advocate on her social media channels, calling out the fashion industry’s issue with outdated beauty standards. Graham doesn’t take her platform for granted, telling Allure: “Now, as a model, you have a voice; you have a brain; they want to hear what your platform is and what you stand for.”
At the end of the day, Graham recognizes that their is a lot more work to be done. “The biggest thing that we have to conquer is diversity and inclusion. You can’t just check the box and be like, ‘Oh, we did it,’” she said, referring her brand ambassadorship with Revlon last year. As Allure points out, no other “curvy models” have been chosen as the face of a major beauty campaign since.