Ashley Graham on How Fat-Shaming Shaped Her Career: “Words Have Power”
Ashley Graham has faced her fair share of fat-shaming in her successful modeling career, and she wants to help parents ensure their children don’t go through the same troubles she faced growing up. The star gets candid in her new book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like, telling Good Morning America how she stayed confident, even after experiencing body-shaming from her own parents.
“I really believe that parents need to know that they are shaping the future of their children,” Graham, 29, said on Good Morning America Tuesday. “Words have power. The things that you say to yourself as a parent, even the things that you say maybe just one time to your children; they take it, and they take it into their real world and their life and beyond. And I wanted to get candid because I want to be a better parent than what I had.”
As she writes in her new book, Graham received “constant criticism” from her father. “A few years into my career, my dad agreed with my new agent, who said I needed to ‘tighten up’ … I was sobbing because my dad thought I should lose weight,” she wrote in her book.
“I had an agent that told me, ‘You’re getting too heavy girl. You’ve got to put the Snickers down.’ And every time I see a Snickers, his face goes, and I’m like, ‘Do I have the Snickers or don’t I have the Snickers?’ And I talk about in the book how I still have the Snickers,” Graham says on GMA, explaining how she has learned to rise above the criticism.
The model also opens up about getting comments that she looks “too thin,” saying it’s all about the angles on those Instagram photos. “As a professional selfie-taker, I know my angles. I know how to look 20 pounds heavier and 20 pounds lighter. If Instagram wants to tell me that I’ve lost 60 pounds in one week, then damn I look good.”
Watch the clip at top for more body positivity from this rising star, and purchase her new book ($20; amazon.com), which hits stores today.