If we could all have her confidence ... oh wait. WE CAN.
Let me start by saying that I LOVE my cellulite. It has taken me years to admit that, but I honestly do.
I love the way my thighs jiggle and rub together when I move, I love that I sometimes have to squeeze my butt into my jeans, and I love that my tummy isn’t completely flat.
My attitude hasn’t always been this positive, but having role models to bring some serious body positivity into my life has helped tremendously.
Growing up, girls hear a lot of self-hate talk; kids not wanting to eat, thinking that’ll help them lose weight, or even mimicking what they hear friends and family say on a daily basis, no matter how self-deprecating it is.
Even now, as I reach my mid-20s, I STILL hear this kind of talk from people who are older than me. Working in retail, I had customers who, instead of telling me, “I feel more comfortable when my upper arms are covered,” would comment negatively about their own appearances, saying, “I’m too fat to show my upper arms.”
Okay, STOP. No more. Seriously.
Body negativity comes in many forms and when ingrained in your head young, can stick with you for a loooong time. I get that it’s hard to love your entire body, every bit of cellulite and every little wrinkle, but it isn’t impossible, especially if you have someone to look up to.
And it doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone deserves to look up to someone who shows you that unconditionally loving your body is not a crime, no matter what you look like.
Besides being a total BABE (don’t lie, she’s your celeb crush, too), she shows people that it is possible to not only be comfortable in your skin but to also really, truly LOVE yourself — from your head to your tippy-toe.
She even brings this way of thinking to the newest season of America’s Next Top Model as a judge and mentor — particularly in one episode where she bares it all and tells the contestants that if she can do it confidently, so can they.
Not only has her body-positive words helped her supermodel status, but she also reminds people that she isn’t here for all of the "plus size model" bullsh*t.
With the national average women’s size currently being a size 16, it seems a little silly to seriously limit the large ranking of supermodels to brands they can model, making those brands who do refuse to dress anyone bigger than a size 8 the reason why there's barely any size diversity in the industry.
In a TED Talk she recently did, Graham talked about how women who wear a size 8 and above are, in fact, the norm and shouldn't be shut out from certain brands or labeled as "plus size" when no one should need a label in the first place.
Not only does it make it nearly impossible for curvy models to find work when brands refuse to diversify, but it also doesn’t leave much representation for women and young girls who don’t look like skinny models at all.
EVERY woman should feel like her size matters, no matter what her body shape is. Simple as that.
And with Ashley Graham making strides to prove this is true, the future looks seriously bright for girls who want to follow in her footsteps.
In addition to being the first plus-size model on the cover of Sports Illustrated, she is also the creator of her own lingerie line (along with the trending #IAmSizeSexy) and has a Barbie doll created in her image. Can you say bad ass?!
There will still be struggles for women in the modeling industry, as well as those who just want some size equality in everyday life, but I applaud her for being so freaking determined to be a positive and successful influence to all those who need it — including me — because she's helped me love my body a little bit more too.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration, we’ve got the best quotes to share and savor. For quotes from the most inspiring celebs, activists, and poets, look no further! You might even find the quote that motivates the best parts of your life (and love!) forever.
"There is not one standard definition of beauty or one perfect size." — Ashley Graham
"I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the narrow mold that society wanted me to fit in." — Ashley Graham
"I am always being asked to gain or lose weight, but I am at a point now where I don't care anymore. I love my body, I love my super-hourglass shape and I love showing it off." — Ashley Graham
"Your words have so much power. Every day, if you tell yourself "I love you," if you give yourself one word of validation, it will change your mind." — Ashley Graham
"I want women to understand is that it’s not about wanting something else; it’s about being self-assured about your size and also just loving your body." — Ashley Graham
"I know my curves are sexy and I want everyone else to know that theirs are too. There is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt." — Ashley Graham
"It's about loving who you are. If you don’t love who you are, you are never going to feel 100 percent satisfied in life. It all starts with you. If you don’t love you, nobody else is going to be able to." — Ashley Graham