Ashley Graham and Her Mother Linda Are Modeling’s Newest Power Duo
With a Vogue cover, hosting spot on America’s Next Top Model, and a brand new beauty contract all under her belt, it can seem like Ashley Graham has done it all, but her latest shoot gave the supermodel an opportunity to try something new—posing opposite her mom. “[My mother] was with me from the start and helped me through all the trials and tribulations it took to get to this point, so being able to have her actually in front of the camera with me and modeling my designs felt like such a surreal moment,” shared Graham on the phone from Los Angeles. “When they came to me with the [concept,] I was like, ‘That is such a good idea, don’t even ask her—I’m going to tell her! She has no choice!’ ” Graham and her mother, Linda, now star in Swimsuits for All’s Power of the Journey campaign, a Moroccan-theme extravaganza featuring the pair looking fabulous in skimpy suits and posing against a desert backdrop. Taking the inclusive, body positive imagery that the Swimsuits for All brand has become known for and adding a fun, familial vibe, the ads seem destined to break the Internet.
While posing in swimwear may be a regular part of her daughter’s job, the experience was entirely new for Linda. “I had never put on a string bikini. Ever,” she says, noting that her personal taste has always been more modest. The shoot may have pushed her out of her comfort zone, but the challenge proved exhilarating. “Here I am at 53 years old and in a hot pink string bikini [on set], but I was kind of in love with that swimsuit!” Putting on her first two-piece in more than 30 years last August in Bali, she made headlines when her daughter posted a picture of her lounging on Instagram. At ease in the viral snapshot, Linda took that confidence into her very first modeling gig. “It was fun because when we were [in Bali] taking pictures in our pool, Ashley was giving me pointers and tips, and so when this opportunity showed up, it was like, ‘Okay, let’s do this!’ It was so comforting having her there, making me feel comfortable—it’s funny how the tables have turned.”
Sharing time in front of the camera brought things full circle for the mother-daughter team. Crediting her mom with helping her to develop her self-assurance, especially during the early years of her modeling career, Graham sought to create the kind of imagery that inspires others to feel confident, especially women over 50. “What I want is for women my mother’s age to feel empowered and to know that they too can look just as hot in a one-piece, a two-piece, or string bikini,” says Graham. “I believe that beauty is beyond, age, race, or size, and it’s not a trend—at every stage of your life, you can feel beautiful.”
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