RELATED: Ashley Graham Poses Nude
Who Is Ashley Graham?
Ashley Graham is an American plus-size model and body-positivity activist who is famous for representing a ‘realistic’ body type in the fashion industry. Her curvy, sized 14 figure and unretouched skin are a sharp contrast to the often unhealthily thin models hired by clothing labels to show off their pieces. She has a massive 9.1 million followers on her Instagram account, where she posts photos complete with stretch marks, cellulite, and all her ‘imperfections’.
Ashley was born on October 30, 1987, in Lincoln, Nebraska. She first entered the modelling world in 2001 when she was 14 years old. She’d moved to New York and achieved modest success, having earned some $USD 100,000 by the time she was 17 years old. However, it was a hard life for her – she was alone, and fell into hard drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. She even landed herself in the hospital due to alcohol poisoning.
To top it all off, by age 18, she was almost ready to quit, demoralised by constant ‘advice’ from agents and other models that she needed to lose weight. But after a pep talk from her mother, she decided to keep going with her career.
She first came to prominence in a 2009 Glamour article called “These Bodies are Beautiful at Every Size," in which she was featured alongside other plus-size models. In 2010, she appeared in a controversial and provocative commercial by plus-size clothing brand Lane Bryant.
In 2016, she made history by becoming the first-ever plus-size model to pose for the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 2017, she made it to Forbes’s list of the world’s highest-paid models. And just earlier this year, Ashley turned heads at the Met Gala in a bold, pantless look by Gucci – a sharp contrast to her experience with the 2016 Met Gala, which she couldn’t go to because no designer would dress her.
Ashley has launched two collections with affordable retailer Pretty Little Thing. She also has a plus-size lingerie collection with Addition Elle.
How Did The Ashley Graham Barbie Come To Be?
In 2016, Mattel launched a line of Barbie dolls called ‘Shero Dolls’, which “[honours] women who continue to break boundaries.” Among the women included in the Sheroes are Muslim-American Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, director Ava DuVernay, and Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.
Early in the same year, Ashley had an interview with Access Hollywood, in which she praised the new body-positive Barbie dolls. Mattel’s execs saw that interview, and approached her about creating a doll in her honour, and presenting it at Glamour's Woman of the Year Awards.
Ashley agreed, but only on one condition: “She had to have her thighs touch. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. And I asked for cellulite but obviously plastic and cellulite don't go hand in hand,” Ashley told Hollywood Reporter.
What Does The Ashley Graham Barbie Look Like?
Mattel asked Ashley what she wanted the doll to wear, and she came up with an outfit that she’d worn before. The Ashley Graham Barbie wears a sexy, glittery bodycon dress by Opening Ceremony, a cropped jacket by Sonia Rykiel, and boots by Pierre Hardy. And as Ashley requested, her Barbie doesn’t have a thigh gap!
Ashley acknowledged that Barbies play a big role in the self-image of young women. In her Hollywood Reporter interview, she said, “Would I have looked at my body differently if I were playing with Barbies that looked like me? Would I have accepted my thighs and my round arms and my round stomach a little bit more? Probably.”
Where Can You Buy The Ashley Graham Barbie?
Unfortunately, the Ashley Graham Barbie was custom-designed just for Ashley, and there are no plans to put it on sale. But her influence has spread throughout the entire Barbie line – today, you can find Barbies of every skin colour and body type, from petite to curvy. They’ve come a long way from the Barbies of old, where the doll’s breasts grew when you twisted their arms.
Ashley Graham and her Barbie represent a big step forward in the body positivity movement, giving young girls a model of beauty that they can relate to. It’s also a challenge for other companies and the media to step up and show that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!