The Mancunion

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Fashion profile of the week: Ashley Graham

A dedicated body activist working to inspire body confidence in women

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Occupation: Model and Body Activist

Age: 30

Nationality: American

On the cover of: Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour, Grazia, Cosmopolitan

Campaigns for: Levi, Liz Clariborne, Evans, Simply Be, Target

Ashley Graham is beauty beyond size and beyond belief, so much so she has been likened on multiple occasions to the iconic Sophia Loren.

At 5”9 and a UK size 16, Ashley has made her mark on the industry in the category of ‘plus size’ modelling. But 2018 has no room for categorising anymore.

As a dedicated body activist, in addition to spending much time behind the lens and on the catwalk, she is a prime example of how constraints regarding beauty and size are no longer relevant. Gracing the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, she has a renowned presence and an extremely sought-after figure in the fashion world, currently represented by the prestigious IMG Models.

Since being scouted in 2008, Ashley’s portfolio is wholly impressive. In 2012, she was ranked New York’s Full Figured Fashion Week’s Model of the Year. In September 2015, she strutted down the runway in the Addition Elle x Ashley Graham lingerie fashion show, wearing a set of her own design. Breaking down all forms of discrimination, she notably became the first ever plus-size model on the cover of the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Her appearance on covers have also caused an air of controversy, for example the American Vogue March 2017 125th celebratory issue. Captured alongside the likes of Gigi, Kendall and Adwoah with the title hailing ‘The Beauty Revolution – No Norm is the New Norm’, many were perplexed by some conspicuous Condé Nast photo shopping which had elongated Gigi Hadid’s arm to fit around Graham’s waist.

Within the last year, Ashley has become an author releasing a book entitled A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like. Within this publication she re conveys her modelling experiences and calls for action against stereotypes and rallying for increased body positivity.

Most recently, Ashley has graced the US television screens as she has been named America’s Next Top Model’s latest addition to the judging panel as well as making a guest appearance on Khloe Kardashian’s hit transformation programme ‘Revenge Body’.

In an interview with Vogue UK last year she stated “as women, we immerse ourselves in ‘self-improvements, which becomes an endless pursuit to renovate our bodies. We are told that thick hair is beautiful, yet thick thighs won’t get you a boyfriend. That full lips are sexy, yet full arms should be covered and hidden away. But in reality, a lot of us actually like ourselves as we are!”

Although her line of work is a tad more niche than your typical gangly model, her success fills us with hope for the dawn of a new era in the size-ist fashion world, in the rise of body positivity and loving the skin you are in!

You can view Ashley’s full profile on the IMG website.