Even with multiple Sports Illustrated Swimsuit features, an ANTM judging gig and big modeling contracts to her name, model Ashley Graham thinks there's still a long way to go when it comes to eradicating body shaming and bullying both in and outside of the fashion industry.
"Nothing has actually surprised me," the body positivity advocate said while speaking at the Urban Arts Partnership's 25th anniversary benefit on Wednesday. Opening up about hearing others' heartbreaking experiences with bullying, the swimsuit and lingerie model revealed, "I've lived exactly what they're living. I've lived the torment of the names. I've lived the torment of boyfriends breaking up with me because they were afraid I was going to be too fat later in life."
The star believes that while change is on the horizon, it's not coming fast enough. "It's the same cycle, it doesn't matter what generation we are in," the 29-year-old said. "Every kid is going to go through the same thing."
And while her modeling career may be taking off, the SI beauty revealed that she still has moments of weakness where she feels like the "fattest woman alive," which she deals with by giving herself a pep talk in the mirror.
"'[I say] 'You are bold. You are brilliant and you are beautiful,'" the ANTM judge shared.
RELATED: Cellulite Doesn't Hold Ashley Graham Back: "I'm Not Ashamed of a Few Lumps"
We're sure those ex-boyfriends are feeling pretty stupid right now.
Hi Facebook! You are with me Ashley Gramm, and you are at InStyle Facebook live. I'm here presenting my swimsuit collection with swimsuits for all. I'm so excited to showcase everything to you today. And if you have any questions, please put them in the comments below. I'm so excited to be here. Great, so first, we're gonna start with a few questions. There's a random lady off to the side asking me questions, guys, okay? So that's what's happening right now. So first [LAUGH] She wasn't ready for that. Yes, we're ready with a few questions from our InStyle staffers who want to know what was your inspiration for the collection? Wow, I had a lot of different inspirations for the collection. One thing that came to mind that was first and foremost was I wanted to make a string bikini. There's women my size, and we all wanna wear, well not all, but there's women my size who wanna wear a string bikini, and it's hard to find it to fit these 47 inch hips. Fit these 36 triple D boobs. I think with a lot of companies out there don't think that I girl my size would want to wear string bikini. That was first and foremost. Second of all, support is everything. That was a huge inspiration as well because anytime I put on a one piece, there was never a bra built in so the girls. Because they aren't where they used to be, will always go down and I love to have a bra built in. So with each one piece, there is a bra inside and of course, the whole collection is inspired by James Bond. And, if you see the behind the scenes video or if you see the actual campaign video, you see that There is just me in it because I am James Bond, or you could call me Jane Bond. Because I really truly believe that every woman should feel like her own badass. Like she owns her own body, like control over who she is. And that's what I want her to embody in every single swimsuit. What are some of your favorite swimsuits from the line? Wow. I have a few really fun, interesting, this is the best thing about the line. It's for everybody. We have one pieces that are studded. There's a Swarovski crystal two piece. There's mesh one shoulder. We have a cage, it's. Uber sexy of course string bikinis theres also a bikini that has an H back so it ties in the front and ties in the back but there is double support so it literally looks like an H in the back its really awesome and its woven on the sides we've got black, purple, red theres even one that is a one piece with a halter that's woven all the way down its Open, and I'm talking past your belly button open, and then in the back it's also woven. So it's not like your typical, what you would find in a curve or plus size section where it's just cover cover cover. We made your assets look really good You've modeled a ton of bikinis yourself including on a cover of Sports Illustrated. What would you say the secret is to looking great and feeling confident in a bikini at any size? Being confident and your best at any size on a bikini. I mean, look that doesn't come easy. It's not always the easiest thing when you're putting on a bikini when you're trying them on. When you're doing a photo shoot for your first time, for Sport's Illustrated. But at the end of the day, if you just own who you are and look, I get a little spray tan, I talk to myself, I say six eyes. You were just so sexy you can't stop rubbing each other. I talked to my back fat. I talked to who I am and you know at the end of the day I have an overwhelming love for myself and overwhelming appreciation for my body. And I think confidence like that is key. And if you're half naked on the beach you're gonna be able to embody that. if you really truly love who you are>> so if you are more of a one piece girl whats a fun update to that look for this season?>> If there you're a what sorry there are thing happening what>> If you are a more of a one piece girl>>yeah>> then what would you say is a fun update to that kind of look for this season?>>oh, if you're a one piece girl I've got the suit for you. So every single one-piece has something different. So there's the scuba print, or the scuba material, neoprene. And there's a zipper all the way down, there's zippers on the side, so there's tons of detail incorporated in it. And Man. every single one piece just has something different for her because I really believe that not every girl is going to want to put on a bikini so it's important that girls with the one pieces also have some style and sexiness. And if you're a woman who has a bigger chest and you need more support on top, what kind of suit would you suggest? Curvier girl, more support on top? Wow, any of them. This is the biggest thing, I needed support always in all of my swimming suits. I think that it is really important that there was bras build then. Swimsuiters all came to me and they presented a lot of their swimming suits and I put them on and was like, guys We need to get the girls up, so, we embedded bras into all of them, and it's just really important, especially coming from a lingerie world, where I've designed ten collections of lingerie now, and that's the number one thing. There's twenty five components to a bra, and swim you have a little bit more- flexibility so you know its just really important>> do you have any tips for making swimsuit shopping more painless?>> Yes I have a ton of tips for making swimsuits, swimsuit shopping sorry look guys talking to you swimsuit shopping is not Fun. So what do you gotta do? You have to go, get a little spray tan. Make sure you realize that the light that's coming over you in the dressing room is not gonna be cute. So just kinda go with it. Get a friend. Have them take photos of you. You know your best angles, but your friend doesn't know your best angles. Also, I don't Like to have like a huge meal before I go swimsuit shopping, cuz you might feel heavy or tired or whatever. So go when you feel your best and when you feel happy. And remember: you're not gonna just try one on, you're gonna try on a ton. And at the end of the day if you walk away with one, that's all that matters. Is there a new swimsuit trend that we should be trying this summer? A cut outs, retro. I really think that the one piece has made the huge come back. And it's really important that girls who have only one two pieces or girls who've only worn one pieces. Trying those things. Step outside of the box. And fit is obviously so important when you're looking for the right swimsuit. So how can you be sure that you're buying the right size? Do you ever size up or down on the top or bottom? Okay. So I've always been told to size up in a bikini or one piece. I always size down. I don't know about you guys. So, you know what, this rules that people like to make for everybody ****. Just buy a bunch of sizes. Especially if you're doing it online cause who fits bras online and send back whatever's left that doesn't fit. And on top of your bathing suit do you have any favorite beach cover ups? I love a good beach cover up. I am the beaded like crazy print, I look like Bollywood. Like really cute, like yes. Beach cover up. So I like to go all out and then take it off and have like a really simple elegant bikini underneath. And then what are some of your beach bag staples? Beach bag staple. Obviously sunscreen, flip-flops, and I love a big hat. I don't want to have to put the umbrella up every time so I love a hat that just kind of covers my face and my shoulders. Great, and then, what summer trend are you obsessed with right now? I am obsessed with off-the-shoulder dresses. I think it's so gorgeous to show a woman's neck and her collar bone and show her shoulders off. And you can wear crop top shirts and dresses that are off-the-shoulder. And then when you're trying to play up your curves. What's your favorite dress to wear? Well, Bodycon, I always wear Bodycon dresses. I really love my shape and I love to show it off and I'm proud of it and, yeah Bodycon all the way. Is there one kind of dress that you think looks good on every body type? I think that there's so many different types of bodies in the world right now, right now, [SOUND], there's always been different types of bodies. But the most important thing is that you find out what looks best for you and you don't have to Follow any rules, you just do what you wanna do. And then onto jeans. What's the most flattering pair that you own. Wow. Jeans are hard. I don't know many women that actually like to go jean shopping. I am a fan of Joe jeans and jay brand jeans. They just fit my booty so good, and I love em>> what's the one thing in your closet that you would never get rid of?>>oh one thing in my closet I'd never get rid of I think all of my statement bags at the end of the day you can wear head to toe back or head to toe white or whatever and who knows who made it but as long as your have a killer bag on your arm You're chic. And then what's your go to summer date night outfit? Summer date night outfit? I would say something fitted on top, flowy on the bottom. Easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl. And then speaking of Summer, what do you always bring with you when you're on a plane traveling somewhere? Rose water, 100%. So the thing about rose water is it locks in moisture and it locks in hydration. I spray it morning, noon and night. And on the airplane, some people think I'm crazy, but I'm that girl that [SOUND] because this is my money maker. So I had to keep it hydrated. And then outfit wise, when you're travelling what do you wear on a plane? I love wearing harem pants because they're slouchy but they're chic and then with like a cute little tank top or a jacket and a blazer and I always have a scarf because it's It's freezing on airplanes. We have a fan chiming in. What's up? Yay? Yassie wants to know where can we buy your swim suits? You can buy my swim suits at simsuitsforall.com and Amazon is also going to be carrying them. Which brings us to our next question which is where are some of your favorite places to show online? Wow, I have a ton of favorite places to shop online. But usually I like like a shop pop or an Amazon or something that has a lot of different brands cuz I think it's important that you see all ranges of sizes and some things like that. I don't like to just focus on one thing. And then what's the best piece of style advice you've ever received? It's really funny my mother always used to tell me your shoes, your belt and your bag should always match. [LAUGH] And I don't carry that into my real life now, but I always remember that. And I I try to always look together color wise, but I also think it's really fun to step outside of the box and mix match prints and textures and things like that. Thanks mom. Great. And then we have one more question about DNCE's new video. Yeah. What was the best part about filming toothbrush with Joe Jonas? [SOUND] Well Joe Jonas is a cutie patootie isn't he? But one of the most fun things was just the whole day. I don't really think I can put my finger on one thing. Joe's just so sweet. He and I were just cracking jokes literally the whole day and. I can't wait to be in DNCE's next video. Great. And then, sorry this is the final one. Okay. Is Joe a good kisser on a scale of one to ten? [LAUGH] You know what, I don't rate my kisses. He was really good though. Thank you guys so much for joining me. I hope you had a great time, I had a great time. And I'll see you guys very soon. Don't forget, MySwimBody and SwimsuitsForAll. Mwah!