Model Ashley Graham is baring her thoughts and feelings in V magazine. The “America’s Next Top Model” judge and outspoken body activist chatted with her friend Chelsea Handler, who asked about her growing popularity, how she feels about being a role model, and what it’s like to be a plus-size model.
Ashley responded, "I can’t stand that question anymore. I mean, I’ve been doing this now for 17 years, and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve spoken up about the label “plus-size.” I don’t think women should be labeled at all. I think that it’s completely divisive.”
The 28-year-old continued, "But, for whatever reason, I am the one that has been given the opportunity to be on so many covers and to have a voice. I don’t take that lightly and I think that being the voice and face for so many women that haven’t been represented — in fashion, or film, or TV — is encouraging, it’s amazing."
Ashley continues to stay busy with her three clothing lines. She says she started them for selfish reasons. "The first line was for my lingerie, and I did it because I couldn’t find lingerie that would fit my 36DDD boobies. Boobies, I can’t believe I just said boobies. Breasts!
Speaking of lingerie, the model says being in front of the camera in barely-there clothing doesn’t worry her, saying, “That’s nothing.”
She founded ALDA, a collective of models that embraces the idea that beauty exists without regard to color, size, and other categories within the industry which are rooted in exclusion.
ALDA is in talks with multiple designers, including Christian Siriano, to put curves on the runway. Siriano first gained fame after winning the fourth season of “Project Runway.”
Ashley hopes she can “contribute to helping create a world where women can stand up for who they are and express who they want to be. I want to be seen as a woman who helped shape an environment that allows women to be unafraid to take risks, because those are the kinds of women that you remember, those are the women you talk about for generations."