#WCW Ashley Graham: An Exclusive By Myla Dalbesio
Why We Love Her:
Talk about a role model! Among Ashley’s accomplishments in the past year: becoming the first plus-size model to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, followed by a multitude of covers in quick succession. These include: Self, Cosmopolitan (US, UK, and Mexico), Elle Canada, Grazia (both UK and Germany), Maxim, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar Spain, and to top it all off, British and American Vogue (she was also the first plus-size model to appear on most of these covers as well, most notably both iterations of Vogue). That’s 12 covers in one year, an absurd amount for any model. But for a plus-size model? Unheard of. Completely and utterly groundbreaking. Ashley has worked for it though. After being discovered in a mall at age 12, she’s been grinding in the industry for years. 17 years, to be exact. She put in a lot of time doing catalog jobs and pushing up against the cap of success for diversity in fashion. It’s impressive to watch women put in their time and hard work, not give up on their dreams, and be rewarded in the end. Even if it takes years. That shit is aspirational! We all want those fairy tales.
It’s not just her beauty that has us swooning, her business brain has been working overtime as well. As a designer, Ashley runs three separate collections with three separate companies: Ashley Graham Collection (her lingerie line), Beyond by Ashley Graham (a capsule collection with Dress Barn), and Ashley Graham x Swimsuits For All (bikinis). In between all of this, she somehow popped off a nail polish collaboration with Sephora, judged the newest season of America’s Next Top Model, and wrote a book. In. One. Year. Feeling lazy yet? She’s given a TED talk. She’s a Glamour Woman of the Year. She even has her own Barbie! Girl, stop. You are too much.
Actually please don’t ever stop, just keep charging forward and breaking barriers like they were made of scotch tape. Ashley sets a great example for women of all ages on body acceptance and self-love, and even more so, on how to be a BOSS. On how to work hard to get what you want, on never giving up, and of course, on cellulite. Thank you Ashley, for reminding us that we all have it. Time to get over it.
Image Source: Lily Cummings, Vogue, Glamour, NY Magazine