I'll admit it: I'm not crazy about the title "plus-size model." Why can't people like Ashley Graham just be models, without the qualifier? But regardless of what we choose to call her, Graham is changing lives and changing minds. As a female, it's pretty much understood that at some point in your life, you're going to struggle with your body image, regardless of what you look like. And if you need a role model to help you feel more comfortable in your own skin, Ashley Graham is it.
She's been getting tons of press since she was named the first plus-size model to be featured in Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue, and I couldn't be happier about it. The model is making room for curvy girls in mainstream media, and she's inspiring others as she goes. In the various interviews she's done recently, Graham's proven one thing: she is all about body positivity.
Whether you struggle with the idea of wearing a bikini in public, have cried in the fitting room while you were trying on clothes one too many times (trust me, we all do it), or just simply have those days when you wake up and feel like your self-esteem isn't where you want it to be, don't worry. Graham is here to help you see the beauty in your body, regardless of your shape or size. Warning: you may suddenly feel like you want to print these quotes out and wallpaper your house with them.
1. On dealing with what you can't change
I look at myself naked in the mirror and say, "You know what, awkward butt shape? You’re not gonna get higher or rounder but it’s OK, because I’ve got Spanx for you." Your words have so much power. Every day, if you tell yourself "I love you," if you give yourself one word of validation, it will change your mind.
2. On loving what you've been given
I got most of my confidence by having a mother who never said "I don’t like this or this." It was just, "You’ve got to love what you have because it is the only body that has been given." I know that is where a lot of my confidence came from.
3. On dressing for herself
For me, wearing lingerie isn’t about anyone else but me. If I dressed for others I would be a miserable person.
4. On being content at any size
The thing that I really want to promote and that I want women to understand is that it’s not about wanting something else; it’s about being self-assured about your size and also just loving your body.
5. On ignoring the haters
On flaunting what you've got
I know my curves are sexy and I want everyone else to know that theirs are too. There is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt.
On loving yourself
It's about loving who you are. If you don’t love who you are, you are never going to feel 100 percent satisfied in life. It all starts with you. If you don’t love you, nobody else is going to be able to.