Ashley Graham is actively discouraging girls from becoming models

‘Why would you want to become a model?’

From the editors of People
Words by Julie Mazziotta

Ashley Graham has given us her secrets on body confidence and now she is empowering us again, speaking out against the term ‘plus-sized.’

The model, who made history in 2015 as the first curvy woman in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, says the phrase unnecessarily forces people into categories.

Now there are ‘plus sized models’, ‘plus sized clothing designers‘ and of course special ‘plus sized Instagram accounts‘ – but Ashley Graham is having none of it.

‘I think the word “plus-sized” is so divisive to women,’ Graham, 30, tells Gayle King on this week’s episode of CBS Sunday Morning. ‘I think that when you use the word “plus-size,” you’re putting all these women into a category.’

She goes on to explain the false stereotypes associated with the label.

James Gourley/BEI/REX/Shutterstock

‘“You don’t eat well. You don’t work out. You couldn’t care less about your body. You’re insecure. You have no confidence.” And that is none of this,’ Graham says, referring to herself.

Graham argued the same point in a TEDxBerkleeValencia talk she gave in 2015.

‘The fashion industry may persist to label me as “plus-size,” but I like to think of it as “my size,”’ she said. ‘Curvy models are becoming more and more vocal about the isolating nature of the term “plus-size.” We are calling ourselves what we want to be called — women, with shapes that are our own.’

Two years later, she says the stereotype is losing its power as fashion and media companies embrace a wider range of body types. She points to her second appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2016 — when she was one of three cover stars — as proof.

‘Sports Illustrated decided to have curvy women not only in their magazine but on the cover of their magazine,’ Graham tells CBS Sunday Morning. ‘Now that means size diversity is here, and it’s real, and it’s not a trend.’

But while modelling made her a household name, Graham doesn’t recommend the career path when others ask her for advice.

‘I say to them, “Why would you want to become a model? Why would you want to be picked apart all the time?”’ she says. ‘“Why don’t you go be the editor? Why not just strive to be, like, Anna Wintour? Or why not be a designer and tell models what to do all day?”’

Well said Ashley Graham.

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