Ashley Graham is a known champion of body positivity. At 29 years old, the model is challenging the standards set by the fashion industry and working to bring size acceptance to the mainstream. She was the first size 14 model to ever be featured on the cover of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and she was recently named to TIME’s 2017 “Most Influence People in the World” list. But Graham, who also designs lingerie, dress, swimwear, and denim collections meant to flatter all body types, feels most relatable thanks to her candid nature on social media, where she posts unretouched images that show off her celebrated curves and cellulite. Her confidence is courageous.
Still, Graham is not immune to internet trolls. On Sunday, she posted a video to Instagram that shows her doing resistance work at the gym with the hashtag #curvyfit. It wasn’t long before she received nasty comments like “You’ll never be skinny so stop trying” and “You still need your fat to be a model.” The body image activist was quick to respond, writing: “Just for the record—I workout to: stay healthy, feel good, get rid of jet lag, clear my head, show big girls we can move like the rest of em, stay flexible & strong, have more energy.”
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She finished the message with, “I don’t workout to loose (sic) weight or my curves, bc I love the skin I’m in…”
Turns out, she’s not alone: A survey commissioned last year by Refinery29, which polled over 1,000 women between the ages of 18 and 54, revealed a majority of women are working out to promote general health and to become stronger. Weight loss fell to the fifth spot on the list. Whatever someone’s reason for working out, it’s not yours. Let this serve as a reminder to keep your judgement out of the gym and off of social media.