Ashley Graham Says Her Body Was 'Treated as a Thing' — 'Now I Get to Tell People What I Think'
Ashley Graham covers the July issue of Allure
Ashley Graham has a message for those who think of her body as “thing.”
The supermodel, who has helped redefine fashion and beauty industry standards, wants fans to know that body objectification is not sexy, and what a woman thinks of her own figure is the only thing that matters.
“My body has always been treated as a thing and not mine. You’re the sexy girl. You’re the naked girl. Men are going to idolize your hourglass figure,” Graham, who graces the July cover of Allure, told the publication.
She continued, “It was always about what others thought about my body until I gained a voice. Now I get to tell people what I think of my body.”
The American Beauty Star host, 31 — who is now a fashion industry icon — is serious about using her platform to advocate for real-life beauty and cultural acceptance.
“The biggest thing that we have to conquer is diversity and inclusion. You can’t just check the box and be like, ‘Oh, we did it,’ ” Graham said to the magazine.
As a model who broke onto the scene with an “unconventional” figure, Graham has been an instrumental force in paving the way for changes in the fashion industry. And while the model believes in the concept of a trailblazer, that doesn’t mean there’s only room for one.
“I have never looked at tokenism as a bad thing, as long as the brand, the client — whoever has the mission — continues to branch out and say, ‘This was our first time; next time we’re going to add more of the race, the gender, the sexuality, the religion, the disability,’ whatever it is,” she explained.
Still, the famed model doesn’t want to be defined by her face or her curves.
“Now, as a model, you have a voice; you have a brain; they want to hear what your platform is and what you stand for,” the model added in the interview before mentioning the recent change in the industry’s male-female pay structure. “Women are actually paid more than the male models. I don’t know if there’s any other industry where women get paid more …”
And helping to further empower women in leadership roles, Graham revealed she has a trusty team of women who help manage her business.
“I’m proud of it. I feel like a boss when I walk in — it’s me and my girls,” she said. “I imagine the beginning of Entourage: We’re walking in slow motion; everyone’s hair is blowing. It’s like, ‘We’re here to own this s—.’ ”