Ashley Graham revealed that she was sexually harassed at age 17, when she first started modeling.
The supermodel, 29, told Glamour about the incident, which came seven years after a similar case of sexual harassment she experienced at age 10.
“There was an incident on set of a campaign job when I was 17 years old — I haven’t told this story — and there was a photo assistant who was into me. He was like, ‘Hey, come here,’ and he led me into a closet. And I was like, ‘What?’ I thought he was going to show me something. And he pulled me in, and he pulled his penis out. And he was like, ‘Grab it.’ And I was like, ‘No! That’s disgusting.’ I freaked out. And thank God I was closer to the door, and I just bolted out,” she says in the magazine’s July cover story, on newsstands June 13.
Graham wrote about the first incident in her book, A New Model, when an 18-year-old son of her parents’ friends forced her to touch his penis. Graham wrote that it “left me with so many lingering questions.” In both situations, she didn’t tell anyone.
“It was like, ‘Did I do something to provoke that?’ Or, ‘Did I give them a signal that it was OK?’ The insecure girl inside me was like, ‘Well, maybe I did something,’ ” she says. “To all those girls out there: No, you didn’t do anything.”
Graham is now known for her body confidence, and is past the insecurity she had as a teen, but the supermodel says she does occasionally doubt herself.
“Some days I feel like I have superpowers, but some days I feel like I’m the fattest girl in the world,” Graham, 29, tells Glamour for their July cover story, on newsstands June 13. “And I talk about my back fat and my cellulite because it’s important to have women in the media addressing the things that society has called flaws.”
Graham — who went makeup-free for her cover photo — finds that people prefer it when she shows off her body.
“I don’t think there are a lot of curvier celebrities dressing übersexy,” she says. “People on social media actually get pissed when I have my body covered. They’re like, ‘Why would you cover your beautiful curves?’ And it’s like, ‘Maybe I felt like wearing a sack today!’ ”
But the model — who recently posed nude for V magazine — has her limits.
“You know, my thing is: If it’s vulgar, and it’s, like, me grabbing my breasts and showing nipple, I’m not going to do it,” she says. “When I said, ‘I don’t do nip and bush,’ I didn’t feel like I had to be specific as to what kind. So you might even see more nipple coming up. But trust me: You will never see my vagina!”