The 2016 GAME-CHANGER – Ashley Graham

Too thin!! Too big!! Too small!! Too curvy!! Not curvy enough!! Too short!! Too tall! Try South Beach!! Try Atkins!! Go vegan!! How about that paleo thing everyone keeps talking about?! Can I eat gouda on that?!? You go gluten free yet?! Do you juice?! You don’t juice?!?! Stop juicing we do shakes now, definitely do the shakes!! Ummmm exhausted yet?!?! We are inundated with the latest craze and fad concerning losing weight and looking like what our society tells us is “supposed” to be beautiful, pretty and sexy! It changes as much as a politician flip flops with its constituents! The struggle is absolutely FOR REAL people!

Hmmm it must be…..THEY again!

I can remember growing up with these issues being prevalent in my everyday life. How it affected my adolescent years and into my early adulthood.  The early 90’s brought about the trim runway, supermodel craze. It was, even at a young age, exhausting and confusing….it still is! What a young girl has as a role model in today’s world can easily send her mixed messages of what she should look like, and for only the approval of others and not for her self worth and confidence. What are we doing? What are we saying? There is for sure a light at the end of the tunnel, a silver lining and a rainbow amongst the clouds with none other then Ashley Graham! Name doesn’t ring a bell? She was the first full sized model to grace the cover of the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition for 2016! Oh yeah remember her now don’t you. I remember seeing the cover and all the buzz surrounding her at the time and thinking wow, finally!!! Where was this when I was growing up? Ashley Graham is fierce, she is confident, she is sexy and she is here! Sounds like a PowHer Hub girl to me.

Ashley who hails from Lincoln, Nebraska was discovered at 13 by a modeling agency and has been at it ever since. Appearing in every type of campaign from editorial, runway, commercial,  and TV she has almost done it all, even designing a lingerie line for a Canadian based clothing company. Her newest venture is special, she is designing a line of swimwear for swimsuitsforall, a line for which she will help design 3 times a year for the company. She also created ALDA, a collective group of models that represents beauty beyond size and challenges conventional notions within the fashion industry. She was also named one of FORBES 30 under 30 this past year. Did we mention she’s only 28?!? Ashley has also done an amazing TEDx talk that I will link below as it is a MUST WATCH! It is called “Plus Size? More Like My Size”. Watching her talk you realize one thing quickly, she knows who she is and what she is about, and she exudes confidence amidst many people within the fashion industry telling her she would never grace the cover of any major publication. Well just so you know, she’s up to over 5 now and counting! It wasn’t always easy for her, as she states in her talk this was a progression for her to reach the point she is currently at being fully confident and ready to rip the runway.

Ashley Graham the model, entrepreneur, designer, self-proclaimed body activist and  real role model that challenges us to break the barriers in what we think is beautiful and what our society accepts. As she puts it, it starts from within before it can start anywhere else. You have to love, YOU! We should have acceptance at any size and concentrate on our health as the most important item to focus on physically and emotionally. Are we “there” yet? Where you wont hear how models and celebrities are being airbrushed on magazine covers to a point they don’t even look like themselves? Where your size isn’t a topic of conversation, but who you are, how you treat others, your contribution in your life and how you carry yourself is? Well lets say we are closer then before with this force that is Ashley Graham on the scene. She isn’t slowing down, no I would say she is just getting started!

At the end of the day, confidence is sexy, being intelligent is sexy, having a sense of humor is sexy, ignoring the naysayers and going after what you really want in life, is SEXY! Ashley Graham can teach us many things, one being that once you follow your path its not just the possibilities that are endless, but the people you inspire is endless as well! Change sometimes has to happen with one spreading to many. I would say Ashley Graham has spurred a change.

So we challenge you to accept you, love you and appreciate the unique individual that you are. We’ve said it many times here, there is only one YOU!!! Just do it and be BOLD and be FREE! Take a moment and listen to Ashley’s TEDx Talk you wont be disappointed!

Nicole L. Rymer

The PowHer Hub

 

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