Just over six months ago, Ashley Graham gave birth to her first child with her filmmaker husband, Justin Ervin. Now the supermodel is debuting her latest swimsuit collaboration with Swimsuits for All—and she decided not to retouch her stretch marks.
“Some things I love: a cute bathing suit and a backyard shoot with the family,” she wrote on Instagram on July 29. “We’ve had such great time making the most of this summer in Nebraska and these suits have me feeling great for my first summer as a mommy! 👙 @swimsuitsforall 📸 @mrjustinervin.” That’s right: Her husband took all the pics for the photo shoot at their Nebraska home.
In an interview with People, the new mom explained why she refused to remove her stretch marks from the finished photos. “There’s always a question of what do you want us to retouch, and what do you want us to take out? And I said, ‘Nothing,’ except from a clamp holding up the DIY backdrop,” she said. “I want everybody to know genuinely…I want people to see who I am because everybody has a story.
“A lot of women I speak to have image issues, body issues around confidence,” Graham continued. “I want them to understand that we all have things that society has told us to cover up, and why do we need to do that? So here I am with mine out and about and proud.”
Though Graham admitted to struggling with the changes motherhood brought on her body, the model now says she feels “empowered,” thanks to the photo shoot.
“It looks so simple and beautiful, but powerful. I’ve got more weight on me. I have stretch marks, and in the beginning, I really had to have a lot of conversations with myself and tell myself, ‘Okay, new body, new mindset,’” she said. “But after this photo shoot, I felt so empowered because I was like, ‘Yes. I look good. I feel good.’”
Originally Appeared on Glamour