When it comes to hot women, popular culture certainly runs the gamut, with a multitude of stunning faces and bodies. Whether in the acting, music, or modeling world, there is no shortage of gorgeous faces and women from various walks of life. Typically, though, they all fit a very specific set of criteria; more unique or different looking women don’t necessarily make the cover of the hippest magazines or sky-scraping billboards- this is one of the things that makes Ashley Graham so sensational. A model who got her start at the age of 12, Ashley is the definition of a trailblazer based on her body and outlook alone. At a dress size 16, she is the first woman considered plus-size to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
The 28-year-old stunner has gorgeous features and a presence that would turn any head. The fact that she is the dress size of the national average brings about a conversation that many haven’t been exposed to about beauty coming in all shapes and sizes. Being comfortable in your body and owning your curves is something that Ashley is vocal about and a platform that she speaks from with grace and style. She’s a huge proponent of flaunting her curves and assets. She isn’t shy or self-conscious that her body doesn’t look like so many others seen in the media and on billboards. Instead, she’s made it her mission to bring light to the beauty of every size and the need for various images and portrayals of what is considered beautiful. Here’s what you need to know about this super-lovely lady.
15. She’s Only 5’9″
As far as models go, most are statuesque and reach a specific height. Not only is this gorgeous girl redefining what it means to be a model while commanding attention and garnering endorsements, she also does it by breaking the norms and remaining herself. Her height and body type does not prevent her from receiving the kind of attention and accolades that many other waif-like models are known for obtaining. Ashley holds her own and imbues her presence in everything she does, whether it be walking the runway or posing for photographs. Her measurements and height don’t dictate how alluring and attractive she is. In fact, Ashley seems to be the one dictating to everybody else a new definition of style and beauty.
14. She Embraces Her Position
Many models use their platform to bring attention and light to certain issues that are close to their hearts. Ashley is no different and helped develop the ALDA, which is a coalition of like-minded models whose express concern is promoting the healthy body images of young women and girls. Despite having modeled since she was 12-years-old, Ashley had felt an enormous amount of outside pressure to conform to a certain size or shape to feel pretty and worthy. Even though this is the norm for the fashion industry, Ashley is questioning whether it should be and doing something about it.
13. She’s Made History
Sports Illustrated is one of the preeminent magazine covers for a model to land on. And in the years since the magazine began doing a Swimsuit Edition the prestige of being in the magazine has only increased. Up until this year, all of the women featured on this illustrious cover were a certain size. Ashley is considered the first “plus-size” model to ever grace the cover of their swimsuit issue, which usually showcases models of the thin variety. Being the first of this ilk, she feels a huge responsibility and is incredibly vocal regarding all sizes and shapes being both desirable and sufficient. She beams about her Sports Illustrated cover and believes that it is a step in the right direction regarding body acceptance and putting an end to prevalent body shaming.
12. TED Talk
Ashley promptly does away with the notion that brains and beauty cannot exist concurrently. She is incredibly well spoken and eloquent in interviews, is an avid reader and even gave a speech at TED Talks regarding her stance on the term “plus size.” She doesn’t shy away from the parts of her career and platform that include giving her opinion and providing sound explanations for her reasoning and stance on many issues. Though she did not attend a traditional university, she credits life experiences and the love of knowledge as her continued education. She uses her position of fame to create a platform from where she can espouse her views- there isn’t anything stupid about that, that’s for sure.
11. She’s A Bag Lady
Though many models get to walk around runways and photo shoots in designer duds, this girl prefers that the pricey perks lace her arm rather than her body. She is known to be a huge lover of high-end handbags. Ashley believes that if you have a great looking, well-made bag on your arm, you look expensive, kind of the same way many men feel about their designer watches. Some of her favorite handbag designers are Celine, Chanel, and Givenchy. While many women are partial to shoes or clothes, this one has a penchant for that stylish, statement piece carried on the arm. We would never be the ones to try to take it from her either.
10. She’s A Married Woman
So many young, hot models end up in the cyclical Hollywood dating pool, but not Ashley. She met her husband, Justin Ervin, at church and the two became fast friends. They have been married since 2010. She is somewhat private about her relationship but has said that she bonded with her husband when they first met, over their shared values. They both found their spirituality and family incredibly crucial and built their foundation from that commonality. She’s also been open about the fact that she waited until marriage to consummate their relationship. It seems our Ashley is an old-fashioned girl with an eye on changing modern attitudes!
9. She’s A Designer
Due to being well versed in the modeling realm, she has experienced harsh criticism of her body and found it difficult to get individual designers to want to work with her, or to find clothing made by them that would fit her. Many designers have no interest in stretching their boundaries or in becoming trendsetters when it comes to the models they prefer to use.Because of this struggle, she wanted to try her hand at creating and cultivating lingerie that was crafted for all different sizes. Her line called, Addition Elle, was launched in 2013 and provides sexy and flattering lingerie for extended sizes. She also teamed up with Dress Barn in 2016 to make affordable, comfortable dresses for all. The brand is called Beyond by Ashley Graham.
8. She’s A Believer In Confidence
Despite many models understanding the power of their appearance and physical prowess, Ashley is very vocal about what you can portray and obtain through inner beauty. She believes that it is just as important as outer beauty. She is a proponent of confidence, and she urges girls and women to build and care for their confidence. She believes that when you are truly confident, the world’s ears will perk up and listen because you demand the respect and attention that you deserve. Confidence is something that cannot be bought and it’s not something that you are born with; it’s something that you cultivate and is intrinsically tied to self-love and care. It sure looks like Ashley’s got it in spades!
7. She’s A Fangirl
Despite the level of fame that she is quickly attaining, she completely geeks out and Fangirl’s over fellow celebrities she happens to meet at events and on her shoots. She is not shy about gushing over models like Karlie Kloss and singers like Ciara. Her Instagram account is full of pictures she takes with celebs she meets at various events. The captions always encompass just how big a fan she is and how honored and happy she was to cross paths with these other celebrities. You can tell that she’s not just blowing smoke either; that she’s actually really into the fact that she is able to meet all of these stars. This is a true marker of a down to earth girl that still gets giddy when she meets someone she admires.
6. She Has Staying Power
Not everyone who makes it into the industry is built to stay or can handle its incessant and constant demands. Ashley is surely the type that has staying power, and so many are taking note of this fact. Forbes magazine deemed her as one of the “30 under 30 years old” crowd that will most likely be a continual presence in their industry. Not only does this woman have incredible star quality but she also has the business mind to enter into other industries that would further her reach and increase her star power. As we have seen, she’s already got her own designer line and lingerie line. Based on her rapid rise to stardom and how she has capitalized on numerous opportunities, she’ll be around for quite awhile.
5. She Was Discovered At The Mall
As far as model discovery stories go, this one is quite textbook and rather stereotypical in that Ashley was noticed by a model scout when she was just 12 years old shopping at the mall. It seems that the effective, old-fashioned way of scouting for new talent is to frequent locations like the mall or the grocery store. Never mind that we still think that’s just sort of creepy- it’s one of the ways it’s always been done. She started modeling right away and was signed with an agent by the age of 15. She’s been modeling for quite some time and has turned into a household name, while always remaining the consummate professional. Modeling is clearly in Ashley’s blood. So don’t expect her to step away from the camera anytime soon.
4. She Works Out And Eats Right
So many people have this preconceived notion that those who are bigger don’t take care of themselves or eat reasonably; that they are somehow slovenly or don’t take pride in themselves or their health. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Ashley works out regularly and eats a reasonable diet, but doesn’t overly restrict herself. She credits high-intensity cardio with helping her keep her curvaceous figure but also allowing her to eat her favorite food (french fries) every once in awhile. While she was at one point a size 18, sticking with a regimented workout and nutrition plan helped her to drop a size quickly. She is now a 16 and continues to be the curvaceous beauty we all love- don’t go changin,’ Ashley!
3. She Doesn’t Like The Term “Plus Size”
Though she’s very accepting and grateful for her role in opening up the dialogue regarding different sizes, she doesn’t like the term “plus size” as she thinks it’s limiting and disrespectful. She understands that many women who have similar bodies find the term empowering and uplifting and she is grateful for it in that respect. However, she thinks that all bodies should be valued and deemed equal. No single body or size should be considered more or less than another. She was the face of a campaign that boldly stated, “plus is equal.” So she firmly believes that just because someone is a size 16 doesn’t mean they should be treated differently or labeled differently. Every size is beautiful and worthy.
2. She’s Outspoken
This woman doesn’t mind taking her critics to task. She also doesn’t mind asserting her opinion when she feels like someone has spoken out of turn or incorrectly. She recently took Amy Schumer to task for denouncing some people calling her plus sized. Contrary to how Ashley feels about that moniker, Amy called out a publication for using the term when she has referenced her curvy body extensively. Ashley felt that Amy publicly claims she is a bigger girl, but then gets upset when people label her as one, finding that hypocritical. Of course, everybody takes a swing at Amy since she never stops talking, but Ashley felt she was defending a principle. She also slammed a retired model for criticizing her Sports Illustrated cover by saying that Ashley looked “unhealthy.”
1. She’s A Humanitarian
Ashley is very upfront about the importance of giving back. She has been doing humanitarian and mission work for quite some time. She was involved in a television show called Made where she coached a young girl who had aspirations of becoming a plus-sized model. She also travels with the Themba Foundation to various parts of the world that require specific aid. She is all about using her time and platform to highlight issues that matter to her and to provide assistance and guidance the best that she can. There’s nothing quite like a gorgeous girl with a golden heart and there is certainly nothing out there in the world of high fashion quite like Ashley Graham.