Ashley Graham graces the cover of ‘Cosmopolitan’ magazine. The model who made history with her SI swimsuit issue cover is speaking out about the controversial “plus-size” label and says she is “giving curvy women a seat at the table.”
It’s been the year of Ashley Graham, as she covers one magazine after another — first the history-making Sports Illustrated and followed by ‘Maxim’ and now ‘Cosmo.’ Yes, the 28-year-old model who’s often categorized as “plus size” continues to break barriers and give us all pause to question these standards of beauty that have been as stringent as they have been shaming for women.
She tells the iconic women’s magazine why she avoids that polarizing term, saying, “Just because I’m not calling myself plus-size doesn’t mean I’m not representing a woman who is.”
She went on to say, “I’m giving curvy women a seat at a table that we’ve never been invited to before —a table with high-end fashion people who have never considered us beautiful.”
And, stirring up a bit of controversy, Ashley Graham called out Amy Schumer who earlier this year balked when ‘Glamour’ magazine categorized her as “plus sized.” She had posted a rebuttal on Instagram at the time that “Plus size is considered size 16 in America” and went on to say that she goes “between a size 6 and an 8″ and added that young girls would see her “body type thinking that is plus size.” She also took the magazine to task for putting her in the issue “without asking or letting me know.”
Graham said, “I can see both sides, but Amy talks about being a big girl in the industry. You thrive on being a big girl, but when you’re grouped in with us, you’re not happy about it? That, to me, felt like a double standard.”
It goes to show that there’s still a stigma and it’s likely there will be for some time. Social media has been alternately empowering and shaming of women who step out with self-confidence and don’t fit these norms.
And lest anyone think this is a feud, Amy Shumer Tweeted in response, “I totally understand Ashley’s feelings. I don’t group myself in with her because she is unbelievably beautiful. Nothing but respect for her.”
Regardless of detractors, Graham has taken a strong stand for positive body image and self confidence for women of all sizes. While some celebrities have taken to posing for photos with no makeup, Graham went a step further, recently posting a montage of photos in which here thighs were clearly not Photoshopped. Noting someone had called her thighs “cellulite city” she said “I now realize these thighs tell a story of victory and courage.” She went on to say she wouldn’t “let others dictate what they think my body should look like for their own comfort, and neither should you.”
But for Graham, the trolling isn’t just over her weight and her body image. She also opens up about what’s it’s been like being in an interracial marriage. Her husband of six years Justin Ervin , is African American. She said, “One comment on Instagram was ‘I knew a girl her size could only be with a black guy.’ I think that’s so ugly. But we talk about the fact that I’m white and he’s black all the time.”
She also confessed that for her it’s been an eye opener. She went on to say, “I’ve seen how racist America is. It’s opened my eyes to how ignorant I have been, how white privilege has taken over a lot of my thoughts and actions because it’s just something that I take for granted.”
You can see more interview excerpts here and see Ashley Graham’s ‘Cosmopolitan’ cover and inside photos below!
Pictures: PR Photos