In conversation with Tracee Ellis Ross for V Magazine, body-positive badass Ashley Graham reminds us that learning to love your body is a process for everyone—even models.
In the no-holds convo, she talks about how she wasn’t always über-confident and describes how when she first started working in the industry, she constantly received super negative, damaging feedback.
“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,” she explains.
She then goes on to describe how it got so bad that she almost quit for good.
“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.”
Graham also credits her mom with helping her accept her body—without trying to force herself to love it all the time, because let’s face it: that’s totally not realistic.
“I remember my first signs of cellulite, in middle school. I remember telling my mom, ‘Isn’t it disgusting? It’s so ugly.’ She pulled her pants down and said, ‘Look, I have it, too.’ And I was like, ‘Gasp! She looked at me, then at it, and just rolled her eyes.”
“She didn’t tell me that it’s beautiful or ugly. She just made it a nonissue. 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!'”
Graham has now adopted a mantra to remind herself of just how powerful she is, even on days when she doesn’t feel it. “Say to yourself, ‘I like this day. I am bold, I am beautiful, and I am brilliant.’ For me, that hits the interior, the exterior, and it makes me feel smart.” YES, GIRL!
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