Ashley Graham never bats an eye when it comes to showing it all. The plus-size model recently posed for V magazine in the nude and bared her soul on all things body positive.
Graham, who recently landed a spot on TIME 100’s Most Influential People, spoke with Tracee Ellis Ross for V about maintaining her body confidence when sometimes it can feel like the whole world is telling her not to.
“Being told, ‘You’re fat,’ ‘You’re ugly’ or ‘You’re just not good enough,’ and trying to live in these model standards, that was my normal. I think I hit bottom around 18. I was disgusted with myself and told my mom I was coming home. And she told me, ‘No, you’re not because you told me that this was what you wanted and I know you’re supposed to do this. It doesn’t matter what you think about your body because your body is supposed to change somebody’s life.’ To this day that sticks with me because I’m here today and I feel that it’s okay to have cellulite.”
One of Graham’s hallmarks has actually become her cellulite, which she proudly shows off on the reg.
“It doesn’t define my worth. If women like you and me continue to preach that, then I feel like younger girls are going to grasp it and they’re going to be like, ‘Who cares!’”
And it’s precisely this attitude that’s earned her more than 4 million Instagram followers. The reason that fans are so in tune with Ashley isn’t because of her perfect hourglass shape (which, yes, she has) or her perfect skin (yup, she has that too), but the positivity she radiates from every fiber of her being.
And that’s what these nudes are really about: her unabashed pride in her body, for all its cellulite, dimples, and glory. Graham and these photos are the epitome of her generation: a group of women who are in charge of their bodies and in charge of their futures.
The 29-year-old model is currently preparing for the release of her first book A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, which comes out May 9.