Ashley Graham Reveals How to Feel Sexy Naked: "A Little Glow Doesn't Hurt"

Every editorial product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn commission.

As far as we're concerned, Ashley Graham is the queen of self-love. Whether she's posing for her latest brand campaign or lounging around the house — she constantly emits confidence and an energy that we'd all love to emulate.

"For me, confidence starts from within and it radiates out," Graham told POPSUGAR over Zoom. Part of that self-confidence for her comes with age and part of it comes from her self-care routine, which includes positive affirmations, regular self-tanning, and, of course, "I work out, that's a routine."

We know whenever we're in need of an extra dose of positivity and good energy we can go right to Graham's Instagram page and find plenty. No makeup selfies? She loves 'em. Body hair? Not afraid to show it. Body acceptance at all sizes? She champions for it. Graham isn't afraid to be her real and authentic self with her 12.8 million followers on the app — and she certainly wasn't afraid to be it with us.

For a lesson in self-confidence 101 with Graham, keep reading.

Ashley Graham on How to Feel Confident Naked

For Graham, confidence starts on the inside. "That's a big deal that I think people have a hard time grasping," she said. "You can see a confident person walking down the street, not because of how they're dressed or what their body looks like, but because of how they're carrying themselves."

Positive talk and affirmations are critical for her. "In some ways, they feel like a bit of a fad right now on social media, but I've been doing them for 10-plus years and think that they're incredibly important and they can change the trajectory of your life," said Graham. Whether it's telling yourself that you're beautiful in the mirror right when you wake up or naming a different thing you love about your body every day before bed, that's a lot of power in words.

Ashley Graham on How Self-Tanning Helps Her Feel Sexy
St. Tropez

Ashley Graham on How Self-Tanning Helps Her Feel Sexy

Graham's body-care routine is another key component to her feeling confident naked. "A little glow doesn't hurt. Confidence, sexiness, and a rockin' tan — that's hot." But as serious as Graham is about her tan, she's also serious about her sun protection. That's why being a brand ambassador for St. Tropez is such a perfect fit.

Her at-home tanning schedule goes as follows: "One night out of the seven to 10 days I do my self-tanner," said Graham. "It's not on the calendar, but it mostly [depends on] what do I have going on for the week." From start to finish it takes her 45 minutes, which may seem like a long time but she puts in the work when it comes to the prep. After showering and exfoliating she'll lotion all of the dry areas that tend to pick up more color — ankles, elbows, knees, and feet. "Then, I'll start from the bottom, work my way up," said Graham about applying the tanner. "And it honestly is bada-bing, bada-boom after your first time."

This year she got to create a limited edition kit with the brand called the Ultimate Glow Kit ($55), which features a mitt and the Self Tan Luxe Whipped Crème Mousse. "It's just like the best color — it's got technology in it that enhances your skin so that you don't look like a sweet potato or anything like that," said Graham. "And it smells so good; it's so easy to put on; it's super hydrating."

If you're a self-tanning newbie your first application process can be a little scary but don't worry — Graham shared her expertise. Rule No. one: use a mitt. "If you use your hand, first of all, you didn't read the instructions," said Graham. "And you're going to be so pissed later because your hands are going to be orange."

Ashley Graham's Skin-Care Routine

Self-tanning is just a small part of Graham's overall beauty routine. She likes to keep things simple when it comes to her morning skin-care routine. "For me, it's about making sure I have SPF on and a vitamin B serum because Isaac takes over in the morning." Her go-to sunscreens are Dermophisiologique Skin Photoblock SPF 30 ($50) for her face and Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50 ($22) for her body.

Graham also loves the iS Clinical C Eeye Serum Advance+ ($60), ISDN Melatonik Serum ($160), and the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Vitamin C Serum ($160), but only every once in a while. "I keep it simple," she said.

Ashley Graham on the Pressure To Have Good Skin as a Model

As a model, Graham said the pressure to have "perfect" skin is real. "I've been really obsessed my whole career with taking care of my skin because this industry always judges you on your skin — if it's even-toned; if you have acne," she said. To keep her skin in check she splurges on regular facials. "I know a good facial when I know that they've extracted, and they've done red light therapy, and they've got some special laser in the back. They're like, 'Would you like to try this?' and I'm like, 'Yes, yes.'"

Ashley Graham on How Her Idea of Beauty Has Changed

Graham was told over and over again that she'd become more confident and self-assured as she got older and now, she believes it to be true. "I feel like my idea of self and beauty has evolved over the years," said Graham. "Older people have always told me, 'Oh, you'll you become more confident as you get older,' and it's true. You worry less about the way you look. You care less about what people think."