Ashley Graham Won't Give Up Her Sex Appeal: Meet the Model Who's Curves Are Making Waves
Ashley Graham is now one of the most well-known names in modelling. But it's not because of her constant presence in the gossip mags, or her questionable behaviour on a night out; it's for something rather more wholesome. Graham is an unstoppable force for body confidence - she learnt to love her curves, and wants you to love yours too.
She's an established lingerie designer, she's the first plus size model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue but her sights are set even higher. She wants to fill the shoes of her modelling icons - Heidi Klum, Cindy Crawford and Kathy Ireland. But she isn't willing to compromise on her curves. If she can only reach the same status as the people she idolises by losing weight, then she'll simply find another way to make it big.
Graham advocates that not only are curves, cellulite, muffin tops - and all other bodily attributes so readily deemed as imperfections - completely normal, but they should be seen as part of a natural sex appeal. As one of her most recent endeavours, Graham has released her own 50 shades inspired plus size lingerie range, which she believes will help women to embrace their curves and feel sexy without changing how they look. Detailing her own struggle to accept her body - particularly difficult in an industry which assumes an authority on image - Graham has said that agencies have attempted to bribe her into losing weight. She was told, from the age of twelve, that if she lost weight, she'd be making far more money than if she maintained her curvaceous figure. The phrase 'look who's laughing now' feels rather poignant here.
Graham's niche is being able to show that modelling doesn't always have to be about serious, smouldering expressions with a pout so sharp it could cut glass. It can be about having fun and showing the world that you're comfortable and confident in your own skin. And the sex appeal that comes through confidence is timeless. It doesn't require the rather out-dated idea of the perfect body, and it doesn't mean wearing next to nothing. If you dress for your body-type, then you'll inevitably look sexy, says Graham.
At the moment, Graham is a fundamental voice in a whole body confidence movement that has been growing consistently over the past year. There is now a definite backlash to the ridiculous body standards set by the fashion and media industries. One of the most used Twitter hashtags this summer has been #everybodysready, which gets right to the heart of the campaign. No body type should be made to feel lesser than another.
Ashley Graham's positive influence, alongside the numerous campaigns advocating body confidence, are beginning to push the fashion industry into a new era; an era in which it must be recognised that different bodies look good in different ways. Nothing and no one should have the authority to dictate how other people feel about themselves.
Brighton Fashion Week blogger