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Ashley Graham is more than just a plus-size model. With her killer confidence and her voluptuous size-14 figure, she has become a role model too, empowering other curvy women to embrace their forms. But now Graham — the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue — is catching criticism for appearing thinner in recent Instagram pics.
Yesterday, Graham posted a photo of her more svelte-looking self in a body-hugging white two-piece ensemble with a sleek leather jacket. Some fans couldn’t believe their eyes. “Where are your curves?!” asked @kcalifornia101. “What happened to embracing your size? You advertise that message then go and lose weight?? I mean hey more power to you, but idk…puzzled,” replied @shishi_007.
A photo posted by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on Jul 20, 2016 at 5:43am PDT
Others felt betrayed. “Fake fat person. … You’re not overweight, stop saying you are. If you are fit, own it, don’t crutch on what made you famous. If you changed, just keep it real, don’t tell me you’re fat when you look like perfection,” said @sabrina_photos.
And then there were those who were OK with the model’s apparent pound-shedding. “People come in all shapes and sizes and we should all be proud one is making an effort to either be more comfortable and happy with themself. It is good for Ashley that she is and were her fans and should support her no matter what,” @x_strong.heart_x wrote. “Body-shaming comes in all forms. Saying she is not a plus size anymore or saying she is losing weight is still body shaming. She looks fantastic no matter what. Get over it,” added @carolina_m_wrobel.
Graham felt the heat on Twitter too.
@fashionfoiegras I noticed that too. Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence, I am looking at you.
— Sue (@SueKiri) July 20, 2016
But she wouldn’t be the first plus-size star to get called out for promoting body positivity and then losing weight. Melissa McCarthy is the latest celeb to get on the weight-loss bandwagon. The famously curvaceous comedian dropped 50 pounds and flaunted her new, still-curvy figure on the red carpet July 12 at Gildafest ’16, where she dazzled in a black lace top and black pencil skirt.
According to Shape, a high-protein diet was the primary factor in her transformation. “She realized she wasn’t being as healthy as she could be. She wants to set a good example for her kids and wants to be around to become a grandmother too,” a source told the publication. Users posted a mix of negative and positive reactions on McCarthy’s Instagram account, but one fan summed up the attitude of most when she said, “Ignore the haters!!!!”
And the most voluptuous Kardashian, Khloé, has lost 30 pounds in the past year, according to Shape, and credits her workouts with trainer Gunnar Peterson. Her fitness journey includes three to four gym workouts a week that include strength sessions, boxing circuits, and medicine-ball workouts. Some social media users have come down on the star for her dramatic transformation, and she has admitted it affects her. She told Cosmopolitan U.K., “I wish I could say I don’t care, but of course, comments about my body are going to sting.”
Other body-positive icons who have slimmed down in recent years include Adele, Queen Latifah, and even plus-size model Iskra Lawrence, who has ironically been accused of not being “plus-size enough,” according to Cosmopolitan. Lawrence recently told the Daily Mail she hasn’t dieted in seven years, but she exercises three times a week and drinks green juices every morning to stay healthy. She said she’s focused on “becoming the best version of myself, work harder, research nutrition, and work out to feel strong and healthy.”
Update 12:30pm, July 21:
Graham has responded to fans and critics, writing “People come on my page and body shame me because I’m too big, because I’m too small, because I’m not good enough for their standards…But at the end of the day I’m good enough for me. Angles will make anyone look bigger or smaller and I just happen to know mine.”
She also shared a photo on Snapchat, writing “I will not let others dictate what they think my body should look like for their own comfort, and neither should you.”