She’s so inspiring! Ashley Graham is easily one of our favorite, most outspoken models in the industry today. However, the 31-year-old’s background is arguably not all that well-known.
Ashley made headlines in 2016 as the first plus-sized model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. “I see my cover and I wanted to drop to my knees but this dress would’ve ripped and I have Spanx on underneath this,” jokingly said after making history. “I thought Sports Illustrated was taking a risk by putting a girl my size in the pages. But putting me on the cover? They aren’t just breaking barriers; they are the standard now. This is beyond epic.”
But what else is there to know about Ashley beyond her modeling career?
What Is Ashley Graham’s Ethnicity?
Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Ashley’s ethnicity is mostly German and English. However, the America’s Next Top Model co-judge has been very outspoken about race, after tying the knot with her husband, Justin Ervin, who is African-American.
In her memoir, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, she revealed her grandmother acknowledge her black hubby when they first met. “When it came time for them to leave, my grandparents didn’t even acknowledge him. Instead, my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, ‘Tell that guy I said goodbye,'” she wrote. “After they left I took Justin on a ride to get out of the house. I’ll never forget what he said as we drove around town: ‘Racism is never surprising but always disappointing.'”
“I think it is absolutely amazing that [Justin] pushed his pride aside and said, You know what? This is my future wife, and this is her grandmother,'” she told Cosmopolitan in May 2017. “I’m going to do what anyone — regardless of race, class, or gender — would do. I’m going to reach out and talk to her because I want a relationship with her.'” After calling to congratulate her grandmother on her sixtieth wedding anniversary, Justin instantly changed her opinion.
How Does She Feel About Being Called ‘Plus-Sized’?
Ashley has been very open about being a size-16 shape but makes it very clear she is over the “plus-size” label. “I think the word ‘plus-sized’ is so divisive to women,” she said on CBS Sunday Morning. “I think that when you use the word ‘plus-size,’ you’re putting all these women into a category.”
She also went on to explain how the term perpetuates negative stereotypes. “‘You don’t eat well. You don’t work out. You couldn’t care less about your body. You’re insecure. You have no confidence.’ And that is none of this.” Preach, girl!
Did You Know Ashley Has Her Own Barbie Doll?!
Her perseverance in the fashion industry paid off — and Ashley got her very own doll (or should we say action figure?) “We need to work together to redefine the global image of beauty and continue to push for a more inclusive world,” Ashley said in a statement. “I’m thrilled Barbie has not only evolved their product but also has continued to honor women who are pushing boundaries. It’s an honor to be immortalized in plastic.”
And Ashley made sure the doll was as close to real-life as possible, meaning there was no thigh-gap. “The thighs touching was one way to show young girls that it’s okay for your thighs to touch, despite society saying that a ‘thigh gap’ is more beautiful,” she continued. We stan a body-positive queen!