Ashley Graham scored her first Maxim cover: is it too ‘shopped or covered up?

ashley maxim

Ashley Graham is everywhere these days! I kind of love it. I think it’s a combination of things – she probably has a really great booking agent, plus she’s riding a more body-positive movement, plus she’s absolutely gorgeous and very well-spoken. She’s a great advocate for plus-sized modeling, even though she hates the term “plus-sized.” This year, Ashley has already scored her first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover (becoming the first plus-sized model to ever cover the edition), and now she’s scored her first-ever Maxim cover. Finally… size equality in how we objectify women! In truth, I’m actually pleased by this. There are a lot of men in this world who would prefer to have a girlfriend who looks more like Ashley Graham rather than Candice Swanepoel. And why shouldn’t their interests be represented too?

Of course, there’s already a controversy about Ashley’s cover. The Daily Mail noted that many of Ashley’s fans and social media followers were openly wondering and discussing whether the cover has been Photoshopped. My take: I think they definitely Photoshopped her thighs on the cover to make them smaller and “smoother.” But beyond that, I don’t think they did much with her top half. That’s her face, those are her arms, etc. There are also complaints about how covered-up Ashley is on the cover, because previous Maxim covers (featuring size-0 women) have been very… skin-baring. That’s quite common, from what I’ve seen, and not just on men’s magazines. When fashion magazines dare to use a bigger woman in an editorial, they either just use face shots, or they bury the woman in fabric to hide her body.

You can read Ashley’s barely-there interview here, plus you can see all of the NSFW photos. She dreams of becoming her own mega-brand, like Jessica Simpson or Tyra Banks. She wants to take over the world. Let her!


Photos courtesy of Maxim.

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47 Responses to “Ashley Graham scored her first Maxim cover: is it too ‘shopped or covered up?”

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  1. word says:

    Oh come on, if you’re going to put a “fuller figure” woman on the cover of Maxim, you should actually SHOW her fuller figure. WTF is this? She looks like every other model on their mags.

    • Jen43 says:

      That cover doesn’t represent her body at all. At all

      • snakecharmer says:

        it doesnt. it is heavily photoshopped. the shadowing on her arms reduced them by half and her lower body probably as much. the only way you can tell its her body is the softness of her limbs and lack of definition.

    • nicole says:

      On the cover she is somewhat covered up – but she is full out nude in the spread on the Maxim page (and presumably in the magazine too). Those pics wouldn’t be allowed on the cover I don’t think! She doesn’t seem offensively shopped in those photos either.

      • word says:

        I have no clue what’s in the mag, I can only comment on the pics shown here.

      • V4Real says:

        It’s a double edged sword. If she was showing more skin some posters would be saying why do women always have to pose with barely any clothes on, they need to cover up.

        Remember the comments from Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition with Chrissy Teigen, Nina Agdal, and Lily Aldridge.

    • Louise177 says:

      Size 0 models are photoshopped so I don’t think it’s a big deal that Ashley was. I’m shocked that a men’s magazine even put her on the cover.

  2. frantasticstar says:

    This cover is absolutely MEH.
    She’s beautiful, but the whole pose and cover-up doesn’t particularly do much for her. I would almost prefer the second pic! :/

  3. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Honest question – why is it considered sexy to look like a dumb mouth breather?

    • Kitten says:

      I think it’s supposed to remind men of BJs or whatever. To me she just looks congested AF.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I think it’s one of those things that just happened and now nobody questions it. I’ve asked a male friend but I can’t repeat his answer here. Apparently an open mouth inspires certain thoughts. I think it looks boring and if it is indeed a case of “Let’s make guys think about sex.” I don’t understand its place in high fashion.

      ETA: Nevermind, Kitten is not as demure as I am. *cough* 😉

    • Wren says:

      Blowjobs, or just “I want you so much I’m literally panting for it”. Whatever. Someone at some point decided that was the sexy expression. So has it been and so it shall be, regardless of how much it reminds women of head colds.

    • Algernon says:

      I know I’ve said this before, but photographers like the open-mouth posing because it’s an “active” presentation. It looks like you’re about to laugh or say something, and many photographers think it looks more natural than a frozen-in-place smile. And yes, as littlemissnaughty says, especially in the context of a mag like Maxim, it inspires certain thoughts.

      • Esmom says:

        I get that but it just is so overdone that it seems contrived now. A few years ago I was paging through a huge Vogue and tried to find a closed mouth pose and couldn’t. I’m so over it, it makes me rage-y!

    • Chem says:

      I read on a magazine that is also a sign of youth, when you get older you can’t do that expression anymore because of aging (your teeth get smaller and your lip falls)
      This is so interesting to me

      • pinetree13 says:

        whhhaaa…..teeth don’t get smaller….in fact, the expression “long in tooth” refers to someone old. It’s because as you age your gums will recede some what (even with excellent dental care) giving the illusion that your teeth are ‘longer’. Also, if anything this pose would be flattering to older women since smiling pulls the lip taunt and as you age you lose lip volume which is more obvious in a smile but that’s just a random thought not supported by any picture-observing-research 😉

        Also, I wish mouth breather=stupid would go away. Both my sister and I are mouth breathers. My sister had surgery to correct and it didn’t even work (all that pain for nothing). Mine isn’t as severe so I’ve never gotten surgery for it but do my best to hide the fact that I breathe through my mouth. It already sucks what with the horrible job it does to your gums, and apparently it even shortens your life, strains your heart, etc. The last thing we mouth-breathers need is being stereotyped as dumb as well *weeps*

    • jamie says:

      As a photographer and a model myself, the slightly open mouth is also used to help relax the face, jaw and neck slightly, as well as the “active position” that someone else stated. It makes a surprisingly big difference, and can make the photos look less posed and less like a model glare.

      Honestry the people who yell “ew moth breather, why is that supposed to be sexy” about it all the time on every photo they notice it on are 100% more annoying to me than that 1/4″-1/2″ of slightly open mouth. Photos are beautiful in their own right, and beautiful attractive photos don’t need to be automatically explained away by “men want women to pant for them” or ” BECAUSE BLOW JOBS”

      “why are her legs posed like that? Omg it must be so they’re apart, like SEX” and defiantly NOT because posing the body for photos is something people have been doing a long time and they know what works best for xyz while still looking natural and not posed

      Ok.. rant over.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        It doesn’t make the model look less posed at all. It makes her look like a moron. It’s contrived. It’s dated. It’s lame. You should refresh your modeling and photography looks if you rely on it.

      • MB says:

        I completely agree – and I think peoples facial structure can often look better when it is elongated by opening the mouth slightly.
        I think saying people look like morons just because they have their mouth open slightly is rude and beyond nitpicky. I mean, seriously, what a weird thing to get hung up about.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Its a stereotypical way of presenting women as dumb and sexy as if those two things were the same. Haven’t you heard models talk about using different facial expressions depending on whether or not they are posing for a male or female audience? Honest models admit that the open their mouths for the male audiences and smile for the female. I have heard several models admit that when they are told to look sexy, they try to look dumb. That’s my point. Presenting women as if stupid and sexy were the same thing is rude. Pointing it out is not. I can’t stand people who miss the point entirely and then say the op is rude, nitpicky and weird.

  4. Josefina says:

    Is it the ‘shopping, or does she actually look like Eva Mendez?

    • Ms Meow says:

      I thought the same thing!

    • Magnoliarose says:

      That’s who I was thinking of. It was someone and I couldn’t place it. Shopping most definitely.

    • Happy21 says:

      First person I thought of too but I find her much prettier than Eva Mendes.

    • pinetree13 says:

      I don’t think it’s the shopping since from the very first time I ever saw her I thought her resemblance to Eva Mendez was uncanny. She definitely looks like her.

  5. Kitten says:

    GORGEOUS woman but this cover doesn’t do her justice IMO.

  6. BendyWindy says:

    Even with the fabric the cover could have been better.

  7. jferber says:

    GNAT, so harsh! Chick looks gorgeous. I love her!

  8. Wren says:

    Boring cover, but not really all that different from the norm. Mouth open, come hither expression, hair blowing and the suggestion of nudity without actually showing very much. It is a magazine cover after all, if it’s too nude it won’t be displayed.

    Anyway, not going to lie, my husband would probably love this. He always complains how skinny the “sexy” girls are and how fake their boobs look whenever he sees these kinds of photos.

  9. Size Does Matter says:

    Ok, so I clicked through the NSFW photos out of curiosity. Re: the pic where she’s wearing nothing but hands, the guy’s wedding ring jumped out at me. I am so glad my husband has a boring corporate job!

  10. willful ignorance says:

    Holy photoshop!

    Like what’s the point of hiring humans anymore?

  11. Kimbers says:

    Horrible cover & laughably bad hair 🙁 sucks that this was the pic selected for the cover. Who was responsible for the cover concept bc they suck.

  12. Susan says:

    What is the point of “body positivity” (yes I’m looking at you KK) if you’re going to photoshop the person beyond recognition? YUCK.

  13. Tifygodess24 says:

    She really is beautiful, photoshopped or not. However, the boob holding photo? That looks so ridiculous.

  14. Magnoliarose says:

    Not a great spread but then again Maxim isn’t as popular as it used to be so maybe they cut some corners. She’s a beauty but the cover is not great.

    • Skins says:

      I’m a subscriber and I swear, half the issues don’t even show up. Never got this one either. No wonder it isn’t popular anymore

  15. Snowflake says:

    Hate the hair. They don’t give the skinny women 80s blowouts, why her? Just because her body’s bigger, it doesn’t mean they have to do this crazy hair.

  16. vanessa says:

    she is pretty bit this is waay to photoshopped sorry

  17. KB says:

    She looks great. Every model on the cover of Maxim is photoshopped and airbrushed. Their waists become smaller, their boobs bigger, legs are given thigh gaps, etc. I’m not sure why it’s only a problem when it’s her. She still looks beautiful and full figured. Progress is slow.

  18. Trixie says:

    What bothers me about the whole “body positivity” thing is that while the women may be thicker, with bigger boobs and bigger butt, they still have the same body type. There is never a woman with a small butt and big tummy. It’s like being “full figured” and whatnot is only okay if you have big boobs and a big butt, then it’s totally sexy, but if you have a small butt and big tummy you’re SOL.

  19. Robin says:

    She’s clearly very photoshopped, but then every cover model is. Her arms and legs look like they belong to someone else, especially in the left hip area. You’d think magazine cover editors would be better at photoshop by now; they certainly do it enough.

  20. Naddie says:

    I don’t buy this body positivity talk at all, it’s as fake as the photoshoped pictures. I also couldn’t care less about men’s interest being represented.