Ashley Graham Says Her Body Was ‘Treated As a Thing’, But ‘Now I Get To Tell People What I Think’

“You’re the sexy girl. You’re the naked girl. Men are going to idolize your hourglass figure.”

(Photo: Addition Elle)

Ashley Graham wants people who thinks of her body as a “thing” to change their backward ways.

The model, podcaster, TV host and lingerie mogul is an expert at shutting down Internet trolls who shame her killer curves, and is known for telling photographers to not Photoshop out her stretch marks. 

Even still, Graham tells the new issue of Allure that she has definitely felt objectified in the past.

“My body has always been treated as a thing and not mine,” the 31-year-old former Maxim cover model tells the mag. “You’re the sexy girl. You’re the naked girl. Men are going to idolize your hourglass figure.”

“It was always about what others thought about my body, until I gained a voice,” she continued. “Now I get to tell people what I think of my body.”

Today, she’s hoping that voice will help pave the way for more diversity in the beauty industry.

“You can’t just check the box and be like, ‘Oh, we did it,'” she said. “I have never looked at tokenism as a bad thing, as long as the brand, the client—whoever has the mission—continues to branch out and say, ‘This was our first time; next time we’re going to add more of the race, the gender, the sexuality, the religion, the disability,’ whatever it is,. Stop talking about hiring [diverse candidates] and just do it.”

Graham also points out that her modeling stardom helped her reach her influential platform as a host and social media sensation. 

“Women are actually paid more than the male models,” Graham said. “I don’t know if there’s any other industry where women get paid more. Now, as a model, you have a voice; you have a brain; they want to hear what your platform is and what you stand for.”

And Graham is using that opportunity to inspire other ladies, as her team is made up entirely of women.

“I’m proud of it,” she said. “I feel like a boss when I walk in—it’s me and my girls. I imagine the beginning of Entourage: We’re walking in slow motion; everyone’s hair is blowing. It’s like, ‘We’re here to own this shit.'”