“I know the comments won’t all be positive. I’m a confident woman with thick skin, and as a model in the public eye, I’m conditioned to accept criticism. But last week, I admit that I had a tougher time brushing off the haters.”

Plus size model, body activist, and designer, Ashley Graham gives her thoughts at Lenny after receiving a number of backlashes on social media for looking “skinny.” Ashley shares that the backlash began when she posted a photo of herself while she was on the set filming for America’s Next Top Model. In the article, Ashley expresses that while she is considered a plus size model, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she is only for those who are similar or close to her size…

“Yes, I am a curvy woman. My industry labels me a “plus size” model, and society has labeled me a “plus size” woman. But I am not just here for the size 8s (where plus-size modeling starts) or the size 14s (my current size) or the size 18s (my former size). I am here for all women who don’t feel comfortable in their skin, who need a reminder that their unique bodies are beautiful. I’m very proud of my work as a model, and I’m even more proud of the work we’ve all done to raise awareness for body positivity and size diversity within the fashion industry.

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I understand that people follow me and look at my photos to see a different representation of beauty, one that is often excluded from mainstream media and advertising. When they look at me, they see themselves, and maybe that’s why seeing me eat a cheeseburger makes some people feel good about eating whatever they want. However, I refuse to let others dictate how I live my life and what my body should look like for their own comfort. And neither should you.”

Head over to Lenny Letter to read Ashley Graham’s full article.

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