Ashley Graham: don’t criticize yourself or your body in front of your boyfriend

One Love Manchester benefit concert

I really dislike when magazines crop out part of a woman’s head for their cover shots. Like, would it have really been that difficult to put Ashley Graham’s entire head on the cover of Glamour?? Anyway, Ashley is still getting magazine covers, which actually does make me happy. It’s nice to see a woman larger than size 2 on covers, and it’s nice that she isn’t covered from head to toe in a sack dress or coat. Ashley covers Glamour’s Sex Issue, and you can read the full Q&A here. Some highlights:

Whether it ever feels like tokenism to be included: “I felt like a token in the beginning [of my career]. But now there are so many curve models—and more opportunities. I feel like a queen [on those jobs] because I’m the only one like me. I’m like, “Yes, I’m the curve ruler!” At the Kors show I was the only one standing around naked in front of everyone.

How she balances her Christian faith & her sexualized image: “It’s a gut intuition. I ask myself, “Is this right for me, my brand, my career, and my relationship?” Doing the music video with Joe Jonas—and making out with him—was something that I talked to [my husband] Justin about before I went in. And he understood I was playing a role. There are reasons to set boundaries for yourself, but there are also reasons to keep doors open. With that video I wanted to let the world know that love comes in all sizes.

Being harassed/assaulted during work: “There was an incident on set of a campaign job when I was 17 years old—I haven’t told this story—and there was a photo assistant who was into me. He was like, “Hey, come here,” and he led me into a closet. And I was like, “What?” I thought he was going to show me something. And he pulled me in, and he pulled his penis out. And he was like, “Grab it.” And I was like, “No! That’s disgusting.” I freaked out. And thank God I was closer to the door, and I just bolted out. No [I didn’t tell anyone]. And sure enough, I’ve seen him at jobs since. I even knew a girl he dated. I didn’t tell her because there was a voice in me that said, “Maybe he’s changed.” It was my young mentality. But I told myself, ever since that incident, that I wasn’t going to allow someone at work to manipulate what I wanted to do on set. So any image that you see out there is one that I wanted to take.

Being sexually assaulted when she was 10: “Now I know that. At the time I didn’t. Then, it was like, “Did I do something to provoke that?” Or, “Did I give them a signal that it was OK?” The insecure girl inside me was like, “Well, maybe I did something.” To all those girls out there: No, you didn’t do anything.

How to maintain body confidence after gaining weight: “It’s always difficult. As women gain weight, they start judging themselves. But who cares! Embrace what you have. Say, “Belly, you might be poking out today, but I’m going to choose to love you and nurture you.” The more you talk to him about how you don’t like yourself, the more you’re training him to not like you.

[From Glamour]

During the Glamour piece, Ashley also answers readers’ questions about sex and confidence and that sort of thing, and I would actually be interested in seeing Ashley get some kind of advice column. Not that she’s 100% accurate on everything, but she brings a different perspective. Like, if Gwyneth Paltrow feels the need to tell us how to live our lives, why can’t Ashley Graham do the same thing? As for what she says about being assaulted and manipulated on the set as a young model… that story reminded me a lot of the stories about Terry Richardson. She said the guy was an assistant though.

One Love Manchester benefit concert

Photos courtesy of Glamour.

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18 Responses to “Ashley Graham: don’t criticize yourself or your body in front of your boyfriend”

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  1. Elsa says:

    Someone on the glamour team really didn’t like her for that to be the cover

  2. Ramona says:

    This lady has a pretty face, large breasts, a flat stomach, large hips all on a a very average sized frame and we are still pretending that she is teaching society some grand lesson? She is the archetypal sexy. Look. Theres the high fashion industry look which is determined by gay men and women and theres the lads mag look thats determined by straight guys and she is very clearly the look determined by straight guys. This girl would stop traffic anywhere in the world but ok, lets act like putting her on Glamour is some kind of breakthrough for all body types. Excuse me while I unroll my eyes Ashley.

    • Naddie says:

      Yes, a trillion times. I like her, and she’s right for embracing the opportunities, but seriously? I’m rolling my eyes with you as well. Her body looks like an hourglass, maybe her hips are a little bit larger than average, and I’m stretching.

    • Millenial says:

      I’m going to zero in on your comment about her body type — because I think it’s really accurate of many successful plus sized models. They have the hourglass shape, just larger. I can’t think of any major campaigns I’ve seen featuring an “apple” shaped plus-size model, though I think that body shape is a lot more common that the plus size hourglass.

    • Kata says:

      Apart from her, I can’t remember any plus size models getting these big covers. Yes, she has an hourglass figure, but she’s a model, of course she’s going to be prettier ( or fit better into what society deems as pretty) than the average person on the street. But it’s not like average thin people look like Adriana Lima or Natalia Vodianova either? I really hope we’ll see apple, pear, orange or whatever shaped women on covers of magazines, but this is a (huge) ste into the right direction.

      I was a teen just a few years ago, and I was fat and I hated myself. Maybe if there was someone like her when I was 13, 14, 15 would have been a major help.

    • Tata says:

      Huh, I both agree and disagree. Agreed she is very beautiful. Agreed her body (size 18/20) still looks classic hourglass. And yet, Some (bigoted) Straight men are afraid of plus size. Some men I know run screaming from Graham.

      She and others I know have heard bigoted men say big women are beautiful but they are afraid that their partner will get fatter, which is some wtfery. Our respect and love for a partner shouldn’t be dependent on their weight or looks or health neither because newsflash – all that CAN and WILL change.

      That is a different convo than the one graham is having. But she is a starting point, kinda, for bringing out a lot of bigotry/awful expectations cis hetero men have for their partners to stay beautiful and thinner even when it is hurting their partner (meaning, I don’t know a lot of men who struggle to get down to the weight they were pre pregnancy because their wives yell at them)

      Also it makes me sad that la’shaunae

      is not on magazine covers instead of graham, black women have been having the convo for forever that fat women are sexy as hell, she is a non normative body and looks amazing.

  3. Kiki says:

    I LOVE ASHLEY GRAHAM. She is what I call a supermodel but this glamour magazine front cover is awful. Don’t get me wrong, I love imperfections but the people are trying to cover flaws and failed.

  4. sg says:

    Hmm. I do understand what she’s saying, but I’m going through some body image issues right now and my boyfriend has been a big help. He’s my partner, I don’t really see myself as needing to keep him interested by hiding my fears and insecurities, even if they are body image related. I would rather get support from him and possibly have him think “she does have a lot of cellulite” than try to keep my insecurities bottled up. Me hating my legs shouldn’t influence him to hate them as well. He sees me as a well-rounded human being, not as a collection of body parts to be either liked or hated.

    • tweetime says:

      I’m the same way. This struck a chord because I’ve been having a hard time and while I don’t lament about it constantly to my boyfriend he knows I’m not doing great with it. If I didn’t tell him I feel like he’d be wondering why I was quiet and sad and not wanting him to touch me, and then that becomes a larger referendum on our relationship as opposed to me just being like “I feel kind of shitty right now and need to train myself not to fear my body’s size affecting how much you love me.”

  5. India Andrews says:

    I would add don’t tolerate your boyfriend describing his ideal woman and that woman looks nothing like you.

    Twice, I have had boyfriends point out a woman on television or describe a hypothetical woman from their imagination that they find hot and that description doesn’t describe me at all.

    These two boyfriends described some cartoon character woman or maybe Jessica Alba. A woman who is a size 2 with a 32D bra size. I am not a woman who fits in a 32D bra. Even when I fit into a bra with a 34″ band, I was an A cup. Additionally, I also haven’t been a size 2 or 4 since high school and would have to become anorexic to get back there.

    Those relationships didn’t last much longer. Good luck with that search Webb and Karl. I noticed the women you two marry don’t resemble a size 2, 32D cup woman either. So why pressure them to look like Jessica Alba or one a woman from a porno, a comic book or a video game?

    Guys, if you still are reading this comment, don’t do that to your girlfriends. Love her for the size and shape she is or move on.

    • Tata says:

      Yes! Women deserve better.

      I just want to vent, My friend’s husband told her she needs to lose her weight post partum because he doesn’t find her attractive anymore and I wanted to scream. She is feeding a person! She is stressed as hell! And you want her to get to the gym and lose sleep when she is nursing a newborn so you can get your sexual pleasure more easily?

      She said he can’t help what he is attracted to, and I told her about this gay pride sign – “if your profile says no latinos, black, asian, fat or femmes – what are you doing here???” – the implication being that if you aren’t attracted to any of those categories – and a lot of people do have those ticks on their dating profile, what kind of ally/person are you?

  6. Jenns says:

    I enjoy her Instagram because she has no issues showing off her own cellulite. I have a lot of cellulite and it sucks, so I appreciate her give no f**ks attitude about it.

  7. Joannie says:

    Kudos to her for certain things but in some pics of her she’s basically a stripper. Cant stand her!

    • hannah89 says:


      and whats wrong with that? do you want her to do a puritan shoot?
      get back in your lane, grandma.

      • MM says:

        Chill out…I don’t embrace the stripper’s style and I’m 30. Far from a grandma.

  8. Nev says:

    Gorgeous cover.

  9. SeanSpicer's Nalgas says:

    That orange dress is confusing the hell out of me.