Never one to shy away from showing off her curves, Ashley Graham has become a champion of body positivity. But earlier this week, when the model stripped down for a naked selfie, she unexpectedly sparked controversy on Instagram.
On Sunday, Graham posted a photo of herself fresh out of the shower, standing in front of her bathroom mirror while using her arms to cover her breasts. Celebrating her body, she captioned the photo: "nakie big girl."
The steamy post soon got over a million likes—almost 1.5 million to date—and thousands of comments praising her appearance, plus too many fire emojis to count. However, some followers took issue with the model's caption, specifically the use of the word "big."
“I hate that this is seen as ‘big girl.’ I see nothing but a beautiful, naturally curvy woman in all her glory,” wrote one user. Another offered a correction to Graham’s post, commenting, “Nakie *normal* girl.”
Graham later took the time to engage with her fans, explaining why she is standing behind her original caption. “I hear what you're saying,” she responded. “But if you look at ‘big’ as a positive and love then you can see it like I do. I love my big strong beautiful body.”
Other followers came to her defense, too. “Let’s not look at 'big' as a bad thing! Big, small, and anything in between is equally normal and beautiful,” wrote one. “I hate that people see ‘big girls’ as bad, tbh. My body is not bad or wrong. It’s just a body. It’s a vehicle for this human experience. All bodies are good bodies,” another added.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Graham has posed nude on social media. She previously documented her changing body on Instagram while she was pregnant with her son, Isaac, and since giving birth nine months ago, she has continued to do the same with her postpartum experience.
The new mom recently opened up about how self-love isn’t always easy, explaining that it takes work. "I've got more weight on me. I've [got] stretch marks, and in the beginning, I really had to have a lot of conversations with myself and tell myself, 'Okay, new body, new mindset,'" she said in an interview with People, referring to her new “mom bod.”
“A lot of women I speak to have image issues, body issues around confidence," she continued. "I want them to understand that we all have things that society has told us to cover up, and why do we need to do that? So here I am with mine out and about and proud.”
And despite the controversy, Graham’s latest message seems to have, for the most part, resonated with fans. Her unapologetic confidence is infectious, and she continues to inspire others to find beauty in their bodies. “As a girl who struggles to embrace her body, seeing women like you stand up and embrace your own beauty makes me feel a bit better about myself and my own body. Thank you,” commented one fan.
We love to see it.