Ashley Graham: Changing Society’s Definition of Beautiful

By Isabella Rolz

Ashley Graham, the new fresh face in the fashion industry, was discovered in a mall in Nebraska at the age of 12.

She was quickly pulled into the fashion world and stereotyped as a “natural beauty, with an elegant face, yet too big enough to be a regular model.”

However, growing up surrounded by castings, fashion shows and tons of photo shoots, where she was taught how a woman’s body should be, made her realize that all those stereotypes did not define beauty.

Ashley got sick of being told she was a pretty face with an oversize body. Every time people asked her about her job, she had to explain she was a plus-size model because she had curves.

Unfortunately, a few years ago curves were not embraced as they are today. Ashley helped changed this and was one of the very first curvy models to be featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Most importantly, she has become one of the most successful body activists, with hopes of changing society’s perspective on beauty and body image.

Additionally, she continues to work in various facets of the fashion industry, including editorial, runway, catalogue, television, commercial, and film.

During her first TEDx Talk in Boston, which was called “Plus Size? More Like My Size?” Ashley questioned the definition of beauty and redefined it as being a very subjective concept, declaring that every woman is beautiful in her own way.

“It’s true, honestly. I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the narrow mold that society wanted me to fit in. I was never going to be perfect enough for an industry that defines perfection from the outside in. And that’s Okay. Rolls, curves, cellulite, all of it. I love every part of me,” Ashley said in her TEDx Talk.

Since that speech, she has promoted body acceptance and self-worth. Self acceptance starts with becoming one’s own role model and that’s exactly what Ashley Graham did. She’s her own role model, and ours as well.