Ashley Graham is the ultimate multihyphenate. Think: supermodel, entrepreneur, designer, author, advocate, and a new mom. On the road to success, she’s defied every label that people have tried to attach to her, and she’s become a trailblazer in the fashion industry and a voice for inclusivity and empowerment. Oh, and also: she’s a ton of fun.
Danielle: You mentioned something earlier about being told to stay in your box. And I feel like that probably meant different things at different times.
Ashley: Well, you know, from the beginning of my career, I was labeled as a plus-sized model. And I didn't know what that meant. I just knew that it meant that I wasn't skinny. And I was like, "Well, I coulda told you that." Then that evolved into the box of, "Okay, now you're too loud. And now you have too much of an opinion." By the way, all along I never morphed into any of these boxes. People want to pop you into a box. But it's your decision if you want to go along with the molding or not.
…. I wasn't going to lose weight for anybody. I wasn't going to stop being loud and having my personality…. Knowing that you [don't] have to do what anybody says except for what you want to do is so empowering.
Ashley: My pregnancy was interesting. It was interesting to me. So this is what happened. I wasn't trying to get pregnant. But I wasn't not trying to get pregnant. And I started rapidly gaining weight. And I was like, "What is going on?" And sure enough it was like, "Oh, I'm pregnant."
…. It was a journey. And I did not like it. I really didn't. I hated every part of it. I felt really crazy. I felt emotional. There was an emotional roller coaster at every knock. I cried a lot. I laughed a lot, too. But my laughing turned into crying. I was really all over the place.
Danielle: What are you sick of talking about?
Ashley: My body.
Danielle: How so?
Ashley: So here's the thing. Yes, I'm sick of talking about it. But I'm never gonna not talk about it. I have realized and understand that I have been the first at so many things. And when I say first, I mean the first curvy model to do X, Y, Z. So I'm gonna have to talk about it
Skimm'd by Alex Carr and Peter Bonaventure.
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"I want to diversify [ballet]. I want people to see and know that a Black girl can be a ballerina in a mainstream white company."
“I think it's really important if you have a door open [to you], keep it propped open."
"You are your only advocate."