Sometimes a simple photo can speak volumes. Just days after announcing she is pregnant, Ashley Graham shared a nude photo with stretch marks that really seems to be resonating with fans and fellow celebrities alike. And no wonder! In sharing the photo, the supermodel is celebrating all of her body — stretch marks, curves, discoloration — and sending the message that so-called “imperfections” are beautiful, too.
Graham took to Instagram on Sunday to post the clothes-free selfie. The image shows the model’s well-manicured hands covering her breast while the rest of her body remains exposed and unfiltered. “Same same but a little different,” wrote Graham, who broke the exciting news on Wednesday that she and husband Justin Ervin are expecting their first child.
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It didn’t take long for the post to start racking up positive comments. Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott gushed, “My Lord, THANK YOU for this.” Adrienne Bailon wrote, “Beautiful then & beautiful now… beautiful later,” while Niecy Nash dropped a string of heart emojis. Graham’s non-celebrity fans also praised the post. “I’m such a wimp. I’m pregnant, hormonal, and going through so many body changes,” one person wrote. “This made me tear up. I needed this today.” Another summed it up simply yet powerfully, saying, “You make me love myself more.”
This isn’t the first time Graham has sent a strong message about body positivity. The model — who, in 2016, became the first size-16 model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue — is an advocate for size- and self- acceptance.
“I hate the word ‘real woman’ and I hate the word ‘plus size,’’ she told E! News in 2016. “If you’re telling women like me that we’re real women because of our size, then how do women like you feel? I don’t want any woman to feel like they aren’t a real woman. And the word ‘plus size,’ I mean, I know that a lot of women still love this word ‘cause… there’s a culture out there of feeling belonged and feeling a part of something and I totally respect that. But for someone like me, I don’t feel the connection to the word ‘plus size,’ I just feel that it’s ostracizing a lot of women and making them feel that they are not as good as a girl who is a size 2 or a size 4.”
Graham also revealed that she gives her cellulite pep talks (“You are beautiful, cellulite. You are lovely. You are a part of me”). So, basically, her kid is going to grow up in a super-empowering, inclusive, loving household. And we look forward to any other inspiring bits of the journey that Graham chooses to share.