Ashley Graham nabbed her third Vogue cover this month, when she appeared alongside Paloma Elsesser on Vogue Arabia’s July/August 2018 issue. Below, we’ve rounded up a few other facts that you may have not known about the ground-breaking model.
#1. She was the first curvy model to grace the cover for Sports Illustrated
Graham made headlines and history after appearing on one of three covers of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue in 2016. The magazine’s editor MJ Day explained of why she chose the Nebraska-born model: “She’s a champion for all women. There’s no denying that Ashley Graham brings something different to the table. It’s exciting to meet someone who can totally handle this moment, take it, and amplify it, all because of who she is and how she celebrates herself.”
#2. She is one of the highest paid models in the world
Forbes released its annual list of highest-paid models last year, with Graham in the top 10, just behind Bella Hadid, who secured the 9th spot. With US $5.5 million in earnings, thanks in part to her collections with Additionelle and Swimsuits For All, among others, she became the first-ever curvy model to make the list.
#3. She was scouted at the mall
Graham started her modeling career at the age of 12. She was in a mall with her father when a man approached her to ask if she wanted to be a model. Her parents forked over US$2,000 and she enrolled in modeling school. “They did it because they wanted me to find passion in something, and sure enough, modeling became a lifestyle that turned into a career,” she says in an interview with Vogue Arabia. “100% I would do it all over again from 12.”
#4. She is responsible for cultivating a popular social media hashtag
In addition to being a highly-successful model, resident mentor on the reboot of America’s Next Top Model, published author, and businesswoman, the trail-blazing body activist also has a TEDx Talk under her belt. Back in 2015, Graham took on the fashion industry with a rousing speech about body positivity and acceptance entitled “Plus-size? More Like My Size”. During the talk, Graham shared her mantra “I am bold. I am brilliant. I am beautiful. Beauty beyond size.” Those last words have since become a social media hashtag that accompanies more than 300,000 images of unretouched pictures of women of all sizes and shapes. “I think that’s what I’m doing today; letting women know that they are worthy, that they are beautiful, and that they can be happy with who they are in their skin,” she said to Vogue Arabia.
#5.She wasn’t always comfortable with her curves
She might be the epitome of self-love now, but that hasn’t always been the case. She admits that becoming confident was a journey. “It’s something you have to want and you have to fight for to get,” she explains in an interview with Vogue Arabia, recalling when she broke down in front of her mother. “I wasn’t taking care of myself, I had gained a lot of weight, and I had agents telling me that I wasn’t going to make it because I was getting too big. My mom said, ‘You are not moving back to Nebraska, because your body is going to change someone’s life.’”
Pick up the July/August issue of Vogue Arabia to read more.