Ashley Graham (model)

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Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham 2018.png
Graham in 2018
Born (1987-10-30) October 30, 1987 (age 33)
  • Model
  • Television presenter
Years active2000–present[1]
Justin Ervin
(m. 2010)
Modeling information
Height5 ft 9 12 in (177 cm)[4]
Hair colorBrown[4]
Eye colorBrown[4]
AgencyIMG Models

Ashley Graham (born October 30, 1987)[5] is an American model and television presenter.[6]

Early life[edit]

When Graham was in eighth grade, she moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, with her family.[7] While growing up, she was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia.[6][8] She has two younger sisters.[8] She attended Scott Middle School from 1999 to 2002 and attended Lincoln Southwest High School from 2002 to 2005.[5] She was identified in 2000 by the I & I agency while shopping at Oak View Mall in Omaha, Nebraska.[1]


Graham started modeling at the age of twelve.[9] In 2001, Graham signed a deal with Wilhelmina Models, after attending a model convention.[1] In 2003, she signed a deal with Ford Models.[1] During her early career, she appeared in YM magazine.[8] In April 2007, she was profiled by Sally Singer of Vogue magazine.[10] She appeared on the October 2009 issue of Glamour editorial "These Bodies are Beautiful at Every Size," along with plus-size models including Kate Dillon Levin, Amy Lemons, Lizzie Miller, Crystal Renn, Jennie Runk and Anansa Sims.[11][12] In 2010, Graham appeared in a controversial Lane Bryant TV commercial. The commercial received over 800,000 views on YouTube and was covered by news outlets such as The Huffington Post and the New York Post.[6][13] On May 31, 2010, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, to address the controversy.[14][15] She has also walked for international designers like Prabal Gurung, Michael Kors, Love Mag, Dolce and Gabbana, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Rag and Bone, Christian Siriano.

In December 2010, Graham also appeared in an editorial for Bust magazine.[16] She appeared in several Levi's campaigns, notably Curve ID SS 2011 with Sabina Karlsson, Ana Lisboa, Marquita Pring and McKenzie Raley, and Boyfriend Collection F/W 10 with Rachel Clark, Ana Lisboa, Anais Mali, Marquita Pring and Ashley Smith.[17][18] Graham has appeared in several Marina Rinaldi campaigns: Spring/Summer 2012,[19] Fall/Winter 2012 denim,[20] and Fall/Winter 2012 sport.[21] Other clients include Addition Elle, Bloomingdale's, Elomi lingerie, Evans, Hanes, Liz Claiborne Macy's, Nordstrom, Simply Be and Target.[5][6] In December 2012, Graham was featured on two billboards in New York for Lane Bryant.[6] At the end of that year, Graham was named the Full Figured Fashion Week's Model of the Year.[22]

In 2013, Graham designed a lingerie line for Addition Elle, a Canadian plus-size clothing retailer.[23] She also appeared on MTV's Made, as a coach for an aspiring plus-size model.[6] She appeared on the May 2014 issue for the international Harper's Bazaar pre-fall collection and beauty editorial.[24] She was the cover model on the June 2014 issue of Elle Quebec.[25] In 2015, swimsuitsforall, a plus-size retailer for women's swimsuits, featured Graham in an advertisement in Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue. The ad was part of swimsuitsforall's #CurvesInBikinis campaign. Graham was one of the first plus-size models to appear in the pages of the Swimsuit Issue.[26] In 2016, she became the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Swimsuit Issue.[27]

In 2016, Graham served as a backstage host for Miss USA 2016, Miss Universe 2016, Miss USA 2017, Miss Universe 2017 and Miss Universe 2018. In addition, she was an official judge of the reality show America's Next Top Model transmitted by VH1.

In 2017, Graham released a book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like. In this memoir, she provides insight into her experiences as a model and as an advocate for body positivity,[28] and shares her prospects for the evolution of body image in years to come.

She also competed in an episode of Spike's Lip Sync Battle against Superior Donuts actor Jermaine Fowler. Graham won with performances of Shawn Mendes's "Treat You Better" and Shania Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much". The episode aired on June 28, 2017.[29]

Graham has been announced as the host of the second season of American Beauty Star.[30]

Body positivity[edit]

Graham is a proponent of the body positivity[31][32][33][34] and the Health at Every Size movements.[35][36][37] In 2016, she became the first size 16 model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Glamour described Graham's cover as "bringing size acceptance into the mainstream". She appeared on the cover of Vogue in 2017, becoming the first plus-size model to appear on the magazine.[38]

Graham for LOVE Advent 2014

Graham gave a TED Talk advocating for self-acceptance with regards to body images, which included her looking into a full-length mirror and having a friendly chat with her body parts making comments such as: “Back fat, I see you popping over my bra today. But that’s all right. I’m gonna choose to love you.”[32][39]

Graham has been praised by women on Instagram for sharing photos showing her cellulite.[40] In an interview with Vogue, she said, "I definitely think that my body has changed many peoples’ lives. I’ve used my body as a tool to talk about taboo subjects, such as cellulite or being insecure about lower belly fat—and also [how to] talk life into your body and have an affirmation kind of conversation with yourself. And I know the lives that have been changed: young girls and even women my age who have written me and said, 'I never loved the skin that I was in until I heard your journey'."[31] Graham has stated she does not prefer the term "plus-size", saying, "I think that when you use the word 'plus-size' you're putting all these women into a category: 'You don't eat well.' 'You don't work out.' 'You couldn’t care less about your body.' 'You're insecure.' 'You have no confidence.' And that is none of this (pointing at her body)"... The fashion industry may persist to label me as 'plus-size,' but I like to think of it as 'my size."[41]

Personal life[edit]

Left to right: Husband Justin Ervin, son Isaac, Graham on her YouTube channel in 2020

Graham has participated in missionary work in South Africa with the Themba Foundation.[6]

She met her husband, Justin Ervin, a videographer, at church in 2009; they married the following year.[3] In August 2019, Graham and Ervin announced that they were expecting their first child, a boy.[42]

In a 2017 interview with CBS, Graham admitted that her interracial relationship with Ervin, who is Black, was shocking for her Nebraska family:[43]

I will never forget that feeling of just sitting there with Justin, thinking, 'I'm so embarrassed that I had to bring him in to meet these people, these people who raised me and taught me how to live, and he's being treated so terribly,' she said. "And he said to me, 'Racism is never surprising, but it's always disappointing.'

On January 18, 2020, Graham gave birth to a boy named Isaac.[44]


Year Title Role Notes
2017 What Would You Do? Herself / Guest Season 13; episode 1
2019 American Beauty Star Herself / Host Also executive producer

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Role Ref.
2016 "Toothbrush" DNCE
2018 "Girls Like You" (Original, Volume 2 and Vertical Video versions) Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B Herself (cameo) [45][46][47]


  1. ^ a b c d "Success Stories". I & I Agency. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  2. ^ Ervin, Justin. "Contact Element Films". Element Films. Ervin, Justin. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Pham, Thailan. "Lane Bryant Model Ashley Graham Is Engaged!". People. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Ford Models". Archived from the original on January 4, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Mertes, Micah (May 3, 2010). "Lincoln model from Lane Bryant ad amazed at media frenzy". Lincoln Journal Star. Nebraska. Archived from the original on July 9, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2013. The 22-year-old model....
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Graham, Ashley. "About". Ashley Graham official website. Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  7. ^ "Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham | Gabrielle Union". YouTube. October 11, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Brody, Liz (July 31, 2010). "Model Ashley Graham on how to Rock a Size 16: "Did someone say cellulite?". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on June 7, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  9. ^ Meltzer, Marisa (February 9, 2021). "Supermodel Ashley Graham: Her Rules, Her Game". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  10. ^ Singer, Sally (April 2007). "Body of Work". Vogue (April 2007): 188–190.
  11. ^ Field, Genevieve. "These Bodies are Beautiful at Every Size". Glamour. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  12. ^ "Supermodels Who Aren't Superthin: Meet the Women Who Proudly Bared it All". Glamour. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  13. ^ "Banned-ad model: ABC is big bust". New York Post. April 23, 2010
  14. ^ The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Episode Guide Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Ashley Graham Model Plus Size On Jay Leno Show, May 2, 2010 Archived May 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Ashley Graham in Bust Magazine". November 13, 2010. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  17. ^ "Levi's Boyfriend Collection F/W 10". Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  18. ^ "Curve ID S/S 11 (with Ashley Graham, Ana Lisboa and Sabina Karlsson)". Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  19. ^ "Marina Rinaldi Campaign, Spring/Summer 2012". Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  20. ^ "Marina Rinaldi Denim, Fall/Winter 2012". Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  21. ^ "Models Ashley Graham & Geo Burke for Marina Rinaldi Sport". Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  22. ^ "Full Figure Fashion Week 2012 Awards". Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  23. ^ Friede, Eva (November 15, 2013). "Ashley Graham's star power plus". The Gazette. Montreal. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  24. ^ "Carine Roitfeld's new BAZAAR shoot: Beauty & The Best of Pre-Fall". April 2, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  25. ^ Cruz, Marcy. "Plus Model Ashley Graham Graces Cover of ELLE Magazine Quebec". Plus Model Magazine. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  26. ^ Durando, Jessica. "Plus-sized model Ashley Graham lands 'Sports Illustrated' swimsuit ad". USA Today. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  27. ^ Mazziotta, Julie (February 14, 2016). "5 Things to Know About Ashley Graham, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue's First Size-16 Cover Girl". People. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  28. ^ Regensdorf, Laura. “How Curvy Model Ashley Graham Helped Redefine Beauty Norms for a Body-Positive Generation.” Vogue, Vogue, May 25, 2017.
  29. ^ Ganz, Jami (June 26, 2017). "'Lip Sync Battle': Ashley Graham Channels Shania Twain in New Clip". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  30. ^ Weinberg, Lindsay (November 7, 2018). "Ashley Graham to Host, Executive Produce 'American Beauty Star' Season 2". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  31. ^ a b Regensdorf, Laura (May 9, 2017). "Model Ashley Graham's Honest New Book Chronicles the Making of a Body-Positive Icon". Vogue. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  32. ^ a b "Ashley Graham on Authenticity and Being a Body Image Activist". Glamour. November 1, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  33. ^ Belle, Elly (March 21, 2018). "Ashley Graham Explained Why Body Type Doesn't Make Someone a "Real Woman"". Teen Vogue. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  34. ^ Barr, Sabrina (April 19, 2018). "ASHLEY GRAHAM CRITICISES BODY SHAMER WHO COMPARED HER TO A 'REAL MODEL'". Independent. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  35. ^ "Plus-size model Ashley Graham on high-fashion and health". Metro. January 21, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2016. I promote health at every size.
  36. ^ Graham, Ashley (January 2015). "Beauty Beyond Size". The Edit. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2016. I think that you can be healthy at any size and my goal is to help and educate women on that.
  37. ^ Thomason, Kristine (February 19, 2016). "Ashley Graham Opens Up About Being Healthy at Any Size". Retrieved February 22, 2016. I believe you can be healthy at any size as long as you’re getting off the couch and moving your body
  38. ^ Meltzer, Marisa (February 9, 2021). "Supermodel Ashley Graham: Her Rules, Her Game". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  39. ^ Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Graham: Watch Her Inspiring TED Talk About Body Image.” Time, Time, May 30, 2015.
  40. ^ Young, Sarah (March 20, 2019). "ASHLEY GRAHAM'S 'EMPOWERING' INSTAGRAM POST IS HELPING WOMEN LOVE THEIR CELLULITE". Independent. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  41. ^ Brabar, Kasandra (December 1, 2017). "Ashley Graham Says It's Time We Stop Calling People "Plus-Size"". Refinery 29. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  42. ^ Garvey, Marianne. "Ashley Graham announces she's pregnant with her first child". CNN. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  43. ^ "Ashley Graham, a supermodel turning heads as a role model". CBS News. December 3, 2017.
  44. ^ "Ashley Graham and Husband Justin Ervin Welcome a Son: 'Our Lives Changed for the Better'".
  45. ^ Amatulli, Jenna. "Maroon 5, Cardi B's 'Girls Like You' Video Is a Star-Studded Dance Party". HuffPost. Archived from the original on May 31, 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  46. ^ Glicksman, Josh (October 16, 2018). "Maroon 5 Releases New Version of 'Girls Like You' Music Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  47. ^ "Maroon 5 – Girls Like You (Vertical Video) featuring Cardi B". Spotify.

External links[edit]