Ashley Graham: 'Don't Let Your Body Hold You Back'

Lauren Tuck
News Editor

Ashley Graham’s 2016 has been big — or in her own words: sexy curvalicious. Since scoring the cover of Sports Illustrated in February, her career, already on the up and up, has not slowed its roll. As she revealed at the Glamor Women of the Year Awards on Monday night, the best thing about her success “has been all of the emails, the comments, from young girls and also older women who say thank you.”

So at the annual event in Los Angeles, Calif., the model’s fans said thank you back as she was recognized for the impact the past 365 days and more have had. “2016 it was an interesting ride but never before have I seen such size diversity in fashion, in film, on busses, on covers of magazines, on TV, it’s been absolutely incredible,” she said in her acceptance speech. “But I will say this: I didn’t do it by myself. It takes a village. And this isn’t just for me. This is for the girl who got into a bikini for the first time this year. For the mother who just had a child and she’s embracing the stretch marks on her stomach. For the girl who said, ‘No I’m actually not going to lose weight for you boyfriend.’ And for the woman who can actually look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you and mean it.’ It’s for those girls.”

If that wasn’t inspiring enough, she directed a specific message to the young women who could potentially fall into the same traps she did: “I let my body hold me back for so long. Don’t let your body hold you back. Don’t let your body insecurities hold you back from doing anything you want to do.”

Wearing  a sheer jumpsuit designed by Gala Lahav, she revealed that part of what motivates her, especially her design endeavors, is providing more quality clothing to curvy women, something she’s personally struggled with finding. “Selfishly, a lot of it I’m making because I can’t find it in my size,” she said. “I want to make sure that other women who have not been represented in society, who have always hated their bodies, who have been told by their mothers and fathers that they aren’t beautiful, or been told by their husbands they aren’t beautiful, I want them to know that they are beautiful.”

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