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Ashley Graham | DIVAS WE LOVE Series

What makes a woman sexy, and how do we define beauty in this day and age? Is it a woman’s physical, inner or intellectual characteristics that define what we consider “beautiful”? Is it her full curves, or lack thereof that define what is acceptable beauty to mainstream audiences? Ashley Graham, the modern day equivalent to Marilyn Monroe, is breaking down barriers and redefining beauty norms for fashion consumers, and fashion producers …and boy are women everywhere happy!

“I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the mold that society wanted me to fit in,” she said. “I was never going to be perfect enough for an industry that defines perfection from the outside and that’s okay. Rolls, curves, cellulite, all of it – I love every part of me.”

Ashley Graham~ People Magazine 2016

Ashley Graham reminds us size is just a number. All sizes are sexy.

Ashley Graham reminds us size is just a number. All sizes are sexy.

Sexy is as sexy does. Ashley's street style is flawless

Sexy is as sexy does. Ashley’s street style is flawless

Sexy is as sexy does. Ashley's street style is flawless

Ashley Graham

Confidence is Ashley's greatest asset

Confidence is Ashley’s greatest asset

Who Is Ashley Graham?

Lincoln, Nebraska born and raised the corn fed mid-western beauty know as Ashley Graham is not your “typical” pretty face…. she’s as tough as nails too! The only “typical” thing about her is that she was “discovered” in 2000 by a modelling agency, I & I,  while shopping in a mall in Omaha, Nebraska and in 2001, Graham signed a deal with Wilhelmina Models and in 2003, she inked a deal with Ford Models. #ThisGirlIsOnFire!

Posing for Terry Richardson, at age 18, in an ad campaign for fashion brand Torrid

Posing for Terry Richardson, at age 18, in an ad campaign for fashion brand Torrid

Ashley Graham for Levi's

Ashley for Levi’s

In 2010 Ashley was catapulted onto the mainstream radar when she appeared in the norms-shattering Lane Bryant TV commercial. This was followed by their 2015 “Plus is Equal” campaign commercial which mimicked the Victoria Secrets Angel theme and really challenged the standard fashion marketplace because it brought into question the industry’s messaging in a very real and visual way. More recently, Ashley appeared in another controversial campaign commercial for Lane Bryant which ask women the question of “What’s your body made for?” The 30-second ad has caused such a stir that most major networks refused  to run it, and that leaves us scratching our heads.

“#PlusIsEqual” Campaign video

“This body is made for proving them wrong,”

At 28 years old Ashley Graham has become an unwittingly influential voice of young women everywhere. Embracing her newfound role as “body activist”, the young beauty does not take this awesome responsibility lightly.  Stressing the adage that women should feel comfortable in their own skin, Ashley has turned her own self confidence, and obvious outer beauty, into a successful and lucrative brand which is being sought after by the fashion industry’s top influencers like Michael Kors, Addition Elle, Lane Bryant, Levi’s and Vogue. Body-positive messaging for her includes women of all sizes, thick and thin and that why her message is resonating across the board!

Ashley beautifully struts down the catwalk at the Fall 2017 Michael Kors New York fashion Week show

Ashley beautifully struts down the catwalk at the Fall 2017 Michael Kors New York fashion Week show

NYDJ campaign featuring Ashley Graham

NYDJ campaign featuring Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham for Lane Bryant 2016

Ashley Graham for Lane Bryant 2016

Ashley Graham, British Vogue January 2017

Ashley Graham, British Vogue January 2017

Ashley Graham Maxim Magazine's April 2016 cover girl

Ashley Graham Maxim Magazine’s April 2016 cover girl

Ashley Graham on ELLE Canada October 2016 Cover

Ashley Graham on ELLE Canada October 2016 Cover

Ashley Graham - Cosmopolitan Magazine Cover [United Kingdom] (January 2017)

Ashley Graham – Cosmopolitan Magazine Cover [United Kingdom] (January 2017)

Graham even graced the pages of the coveted Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit issue in 2016; making her own set of waves as the first “plus-size” woman to EVER appear in the issue; showing off her voluptuous curves beautifully.

The first EVER Sports Illustrated Swimsuit plus-size cover girl

The first EVER Sports Illustrated Swimsuit plus-size cover girl

Ashley Graham proved that beauty come in all sizes with her appearance int he Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

Graham proved that beauty comes in all sizes in 2016 as the first “plus-size” model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue

A constant questioner of societal “speak” in 2015 Ashley spoofed a Protein World billboard ad campaign with her own brand of messaging and right-size visuals and it was brilliantly refreshing.

Ashley Graham spoofed the 2015 Protein World ad campaign

A Protein World advert displayed in an underground station in London which says “Are you beach body ready?” as a petition calling for its removal gathers tens of thousands of signatures. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday April 27, 2015. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it has received 216 complaints about the ad, and a spokeswoman said the general nature of the complaints is that the ad is “offensive, irresponsible and harmful because it promotes an unhealthy body image”. An investigation has not been launched but the ASA said they are “carefully assessing” the complaints to “establish if there are grounds for further action”. See PA story HEALTH Body. Photo credit should read: Catherine Wylie/PA Wire

Ashley Graham's response to body-shaming Protein World billboard ad

Ashley Graham’s social media response to the body-shaming Protein World billboard ad

She is also fashion designer and in 2013 Graham designed a lingerie line for Addition Elle, a Canadian plus-size clothing retailer.

Sexy is a state of mind and plus-size supermodel and lingerie-designer, Ashley Graham, shares her sexy vision for lingerie with her own collection through Addition Elle, a Canadian based retailer.

Sexy is a state of mind and plus-size supermodel and lingerie-designer, Ashley Graham, shares her sexy vision for lingerie with her own collection through Addition Elle, a Canadian based retailer.

Pieces from Ashley Graham's lingerie line

Pieces from Ashley Graham’s lingerie line

She can do it all. In 2016 the model signed on to be a judge on America’s Next Top Model, alongside Rita Ora.

'America's Next Top Model' Judge Ashley Graham Reveals Behind-the-Scenes Secrets From the Set

Ashley on the set of “America’s Next Top Model”

'America's Next Top Model' Judge Ashley Graham alonside Rita Ora and other judges

‘America’s Next Top Model’ Judge Ashley Graham alonside Rita Ora and other judges

Aside for being the voice of women’s self empowerment, Ashley is passionate about her humanitarian outreach missions  for the Komer Foundation in Rowanda which works to empower and support the next generation of females through a comprehensive scholarship program for girls.  for the Themba Foundation. Ashley is also proponent to the Health at Every Size movement and speaks regularly at high schools nationwide empowering young women.

The Komer foundation works to empower and support the next generation of females in Rowanda through a comprehensive scholarship program for girls.

The Komer foundation works to empower and support the next generation of females in Rowanda through a comprehensive scholarship program for girls.

Ashley Graham is a regular speaker at women's forums

Ashley is a regular speaker at women’s forums

Ashley often lends her celebrity power to the Lower East Side Girls Club in Manhattan, NY

Ashley often lends her celebrity power to the Lower East Side Girls Club in Manhattan, NY

Considered a diva because of her fierce beauty; this lady is so much more than what’s at the surface. For her mind, body and soul, Ashley Graham will always be a DIVA We Love!