What We Can Learn From Ashley Graham’s Body Confidence

The supermodel bares it all in her latest fashion spread, and we break down why this is a huge deal and what we love about her body-image message.

Ashley Graham's Body Confidencephoto credit: shutterstock

Ashley Graham’s body confidence is inspiring. As a household name, Graham has been on the covers Vogue and Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, and she’s walked in some of the biggest runway shows. Her most recent (and maybe most daring) act was stripping down and posing completely nude for V magazine’s 107 issue.

No matter what your body looks like, Graham is changing the world for women.

I’ll never forget where I was the first time I saw Ashley Graham’s Ted Talk, where she coined the phrase, “Just my size.”

It was 2015 and Graham’s name was mostly known by fashion insiders, but that video and her perspective on her body were going viral. Everyone was talking about this “plus-sized” model and the way she just stared down her flaws and accepted them. (On a stage in front of hundreds of people, no less.) Everyone was trying to figure out how to steal just a tiny bit of her confidence.

At least I certainly was.

These nude photos are a big deal, and here’s why:

Ashley isn’t a size zero.

She’s a very healthy size 12. I can’t remember the last time a woman who wasn’t smaller than a size four posed nude (or almost nude) for anything in mainstream media.

V magazine didn’t airbrush her stretchmarks.

It’s shocking, but it shouldn’t be. Women have stretch marks, and that’s A-OK. I also don’t think if I’ve ever seen stretch marks in a magazine.

They didn’t smooth her cellulite.

Cellulite’s been a hot topic lately (Kim Kardashian West’s photos made a big splash), but we need to find a way to shut that down. Almost everyone has cellulite, no matter what size pants you wear.

Ashley’s been working to further the body positivity movement for years, and this is another major step in her journey. From her activism as a “plus-sized” model to designing three incredibly sexy lines Addition Elle, Swimsuits for All and Dressbarn, for women of all sizes, she’s put curves back on the map. (And I mean real curves, no pin-up curves.)

I argue that Ashley’s a sex symbol — and she’s not a size zero. And for a long time, those two things didn’t (and couldn’t) co-exist.

You can see the powerful images here.

As for stealing a tiny bit of Ashley Graham’s Body Confidence, here is some more reading:

4 Habits That Will Help You Develop Killer Self-Confidence

Alison Sweeney’s Key to Body Confidence

Mothers Know Best: The 7 Most Valuable Health Lessons From Mom

A Cancer Survivor’s Guide To Feeling Beautiful