Ashley Graham on Propelling Her Career — and a Movement — by Simply Embracing Her Body

Ashley Graham has been modeling for nearly two decades, and she's weathered many labels the industry has used to describe her body. After a few revolutionary years, however, her career is no longer qualified by terms like "plus-size." She's simply a model — perhaps even a supermodel. As one of Vogue's January 2020 cover stars, Ashley spoke about the progression of more multidimensional labels and how embracing her body helped propel her career.

"As I grew up in the plus-size industry, it was like everybody was trying to do away with that label — get rid of it! — and now we are in a generation where women are embracing plus-size again, they're embracing the word fat, they're embracing curvy and big girl, because women are not one-dimensional," she told Jonathan Van Meter. "Why use just one word to describe such a wide variety of women?"

"I'm a curvy woman . . . It is who I am."

The journey to becoming the revered body-positive champion she's currently seen as did not, however, happen overnight. "I've never been thin, so I don't even know what that feels like. But I've had people tell me I needed to lose weight. I've tried every diet known to man, but they don't work, because I'm a curvy woman — a big-boned, healthy, corn-fed Nebraska girl. It is who I am," Ashley said. "And once I accepted that, the more confident I became, and that's when my career really started to take off."