Ashley Graham looks at herself in the mirror these days and likes what she sees. In fact, she really likes it, but that wasn't always the case.
"Do I sometimes wish I were thinner? God, in the old days, absolutely I did, but now I feel that to lose weight would be disloyal to myself," she said. "A lot of who I am is connected to my size, and I am so happy with who I am."
In the mainstream, Ashley is commonly referred to as a "plus-size" model, but she rejects that term wholeheartedly.
"When we're supposed to be talking about diversity for women, it feels so divisive and purpose-defeating, giving us yet another label," the outspoken Sports Illustrated model said.
In addition to modeling for stores like Lane Bryant, Ashley has also designed her own lingerie line for Addition Elle, a Canadian plus-size clothing retailer.
Ashley certainly had a breakout year, appearing on the covers of countless magazines.
"For 10 years I'd been told I was always going to be a catalog girl, never a cover girl," she said in the interview. "Well, I got with IMG and did five covers in a year, boom, boom, boom. See, if you have a pretty face doors will open, but your job isn't just to walk through them; it's to get invited back."
"Look, I hit the beauty jackpot — I get it — but that's not enough. You've got to have more to have longevity in this business," she said. "It's always been 'OK, so what can I do now?'"