When my husband saw me reading Ashley Graham’s memoir he asked who she was and why she got to write a book. I explained to him she was a plus size model who has gotten a lot of recognition for her body positive message as well as being the first plus size model to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. His response was “so she is just a regular hot person?” because I was lucky to marry someone who prefers a little meat on his women’s bones. But Ashley Graham isn’t just a regular hot person. She is a hot person who is breaking barriers in the modeling and fashion world in ways that the whole world is paying attention to. Graham isn’t a world class writer by any means, even with a co-author A New Model struggles, but is an important books for young women to read and for that it gets 4 Stars.
“If there is something about you that you like, show it off – that’s my motto. If you think you look good, others will, too.”
Ashley Graham admits that a lot of her success as a plus size model comes from being the “right” kind of plus size; she fluctuates between a size 12 and size 18 but has a flat stomach. While she is an advocate of being comfortable in your own skin and not trying to conform to unrealistic body standards she acknowledges that not every pretty girl will find success as a model at any size. Graham is drop dead gorgeous, there is no way around it, and she has been modeling since she was in middle school so she wasn’t an ugly duckling who blossomed into a swim suit wearing swan as an adult but she has had her share of hardships. Graham went through puberty early and was a size 14 as a seventh grader- I really wish I could go back in time and give my 8th grade self this book-she also moved around a lot because of her father’s job.
After graduating high school Ashley moved to New York on her own, although her parents helped support her for a year, to see if she could make modeling a full time career. She was a high earner when she was a teenager and continued to find great success as an adult. She had some wild times and eventually calmed down, found Jesus, and married someone who seems like a great guy.
She talks a lot about the ins and outs of modeling, including when she had several plus size model friends band together to get the contracts they deserved elsewhere after their agency closed the plus size branch of its office. She also has her own lingerie line and has been very vocal about the lack of options for plus size consumers. I hope Graham continues to make waves in the modeling community and be a role model for young women of all shapes and sizes.