Molly Sims Doesn't Understand the Criticism Towards Ashley Graham and Other Curvy Models: 'We Need to Be More Accepting'

Sims wants people to focus more on how they feel in their body, and not on their size

Photo: John Shearer/Getty

Molly Sims was thrilled to see Ashley Graham on the cover of Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Issue, representing a wider range of body types.

“I think it’s great. I think we need to be more accepting [of all sizes],” Sims, 42, tells PEOPLE. “I think the moment we do that, the better it is.”

Sims, a spokesperson for CoolSculpting, believes the curvy model’s groundbreaking cover was well deserved.

“Ashley Graham is probably one of the prettiest people. She is STUN-NING,” she says. “She has this beautiful olive complexion. She deserves it. She’s beautiful.”

RELATED VIDEO: Molly Sims Says She’ll Never Let Her Daughter Diet

So she was surprised to hear fellow former SI model Cheryl Tiegs‘ controversial comments calling Graham "unhealthy."

“Ashley Graham is not unhealthy,” Sims says. “Plus-size, thin-size, 0-size, 20-size – yes, there is a point [when someone is unhealthy], but I know overweight people who are healthy.”

“I don’t love that comment,” she continues. “But to each his own.”

Sims recalls feeling pressure about her weight throughout her own modeling career, and is happy times have changed.

“I know it sounds petty, but it’s a very mental thing. It’s why girls who leave the business automatically get heavy, because they can’t take it anymore,” she says. “That constant pressure – it’s just unhealthy. It creates an unhealthy body image.”

Rather than focusing on size or weight, Sims thinks it’s far more important to consider how you feel.

“If you feel great in a size 20 or you feel great in a size 2 or 4 or 6 or whatever, it’s about how you feel about it,” Sims says.

She knows firsthand that being a smaller size doesn’t necessarily make you any happier.

“When I was a size 0 I didn’t feel great,” says the actress and blogger. “I probably feel better now, but not everything in my life depends on what I look like, so it’s different. You don’t put as much weight on it.”

Now Sims knows that worrying about her size isn’t worth the energy.

“Being in your 40s, you don’t worry about the little things,” she says. “It doesn’t really matter if [you’re] a size 4 or 2.”

Sims also feels that the trend against Photoshopping is a positive for women. She cited Chrissy Teigen as someone who’s leading the charge.

“I find myself [Photoshopping] less and less because it’s time – and I don’t look like that,” Sims says. “You want to send a healthy message, because it’s a lot of pressure on these girls to attain the unattainable. Some girls are never going to be a size 2. And some girls are never going to be a size 10. It’s who you are.”

She hopes people continue to become more accepting of women of a variety of body types.

“Everyone’s really starting to embrace not just a size 2, which is good.”

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