We love model, body activist and entrepreneur Ashley Graham SO much…we invited her to our Spring Luncheon & Auction on May 3 as our keynote speaker. You know…THE Ashley Graham…the cover model on Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition 2016, and Maxim’s April 2016 issue, and on GLAMOUR’s spring special edition 2016?!? YES, #theashleygraham.
We got to ask her a few questions before the Luncheon. Check it out!
Q: You are a self-described “body activist.” What does that mean to you?
Ashley: Being a body activist means using my platform to remind people that there isn’t one definition of beauty. Unfortunately, society has people convinced that cellulite and stretch marks are flaws and that curvy women aren’t healthy – and as a result, there are few curvy women to look up to as role models. Confidence does not come overnight, and we all need support, including myself. I want to be a role model to all women, proving that our bodies are beautiful at any size, as long as you are active and living a healthy lifestyle.
Q: You are having an incredible year – first curvy model to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Maxim, launching your own line with Dress Barn and you walked in the Paris fashion show – first off, how has being on the cover of SI changed your life?
Ashley: It completely changed my life! Last year I was so excited to be included in an ad in the magazine. When I found out I was going to be shot for the magazine, I was so happy I cried…and it was an ugly cry! When we filmed the issue reveal episode and I was standing on stage with Rhonda and Hailey, I never expected that I had the cover. I didn’t think Sports Illustrated was ready to risk putting a girl my size on the cover. But they surprised everyone with three covers, and I couldn’t believe I was one of them! It goes to show that our words have power. Last year I jokingly, but very seriously, kept saying, “Next year, you’ll see me on the cover!” And it happened. So now I’m saying everything I’m working towards out loud – I want a major beauty campaign and my own show! But most importantly, this cover, along with my April Maxim cover, opened doors for all of the curvy women in the fashion industry who didn’t think they were worthy of the “top spot” because of their size.
Q: You also rocked at Fashion Week with your “curvy” lingerie show – why do you think so many people applauded a runway of “real” women in revealing lingerie? Does it make you nervous to walk the runway in lingerie or do you embrace your body and it doesn’t unnerve you?
Ashley: I don’t like using the term “real women” because we are ALL real women despite our size and what we look like. I think people appreciated our show because it was relatable, and we typically don’t see things like cellulite and stretch marks during NYFW. Backstage my nerves were outweighed by my excitement, and I kept thinking about all the women’s lives we were going to positively affect with the show. That was my motivation and where I channeled my confidence.
Q: We’ve heard your Mom is your role model – what’s the best piece of advice she’s given you and how did she contribute to your “go-to” attitude?
Ashley: My mom is the best! She was my role model growing up and always taught me that beauty comes from within. She also taught me the meaning of hard work. I would come home from these long modeling trips in exotic locations, and she’d say, “I’m glad you had a good time…now you need to cut the lawn!”
Q: Tell us about how you keep healthy – exercise? Diet?
Ashley: I was always an active kid who played sports, so I enjoy working out, getting outside and moving around. I have an intense travel schedule, but I make sure to workout three days a week either with my trainer, at a gym or in my hotel room if I have to. I love outside workouts like rollerblading and volleyball. Sometimes I splurge on a burger and fries, but for the most part I stick to a very balanced diet. Everything in moderation.
Q: We’d love to know some of your guilty pleasures?? 🙂
Mac and Cheese, Real Housewives, does Snapchat count (follow me! @TheAshleyGraham)
Thanks, Ashley–we can’t wait to see you on May 3!