The other day, I heard someone refer to Ashley Graham as “that really overweight model” and I was just like “…wait, what?” I’ve always had a “??” thought bubble over my head whenever people claim that Ashley represents body positivity because she’s, like, so big. I never even thought she was that big, is my point. Yes, she’s bigger than most (very skinny) models, but I swear, if you ran into Ashley Graham in real life, you would probably find her normal-sized. Of course, Ashley plays into this idea that she’s so remarkable for being bigger and successful while being that size. Anyway, Ashley chatted with Vogue Australia recently about how she manages to stay so positive when everybody is like “OMG a normal-sized person, avert your eyes!” Some highlights:
How she stays positive even though everything is awful: “The biggest thing is how you use your words. I think a lot of people look in the mirror and they say ‘Oh, I’m sad’ or ‘I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I’m not worthy, or XYZ’. You have to really understand that your words have power and something I had to learn at a young age was affirmation.”
The power of affirmations: “When I was 17 my mum helped me make these affirmations ‘I am bold, I am brilliant, I am beautiful, I am worthy of all, and I love you’. Those are my affirmations and everybody’s affirmations are different, because everybody’s struggling with different issues.”
Have positive people around you: “I also think that your community is huge, whether you’ve got one friend or 20 friends, if those 20 friends are taking you down, it’s going to go quick, and the same with that one friend, so just make sure you’ve got positive people around you.”
She’s happy when you slide into her DMs: “I love hearing from fans, I love hearing just all the incredible different types of stories, I answer my DMs, it’s important to have a dialogue about, not just body diversity, but loving who you are, it’s not just about size, it’s about anybody, it’s about any race, gender, size, and religious background. It doesn’t matter, it’s just about loving who you are!”
I feel like a lot of celebrities have been talking about affirmations lately, and in the grand scheme of things, affirmations are pretty harmless. I mean, when I talk to myself or try to give myself a pep talk, I’m usually calling myself a “dumb bitch” somewhere in there, so maybe I need to get on the affirmations-train (hey, sometimes I call myself a “glorious bitch” too, so yay). I also think they’re probably helpful for men and women who make made bad decisions because of low self-esteem, and it’s a way to remind themselves that they’re worthy of better, that they deserve better. Of course, the endgame of this is that some of those affirmation-spouting people turn into narcissistic Goop-monsters who can’t even handle justified criticism.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.