Not letting the haters get her down. Ashley Graham clapped back at a critic by encouraging her followers to share their own photos embracing their bodies.
On Monday, December 19, the model, 35, shared a photo of herself rocking a backless metallic dress. She gave a cheeky wink to the camera. “Quote tweet this with a photo of you taking ‘fat positivity’ too far. I’ll start,” she captioned the snap.
She initially posted the photos in her sexy dress on Friday, December 16. “When it’s @torikelli’s 30th and she says 2000s, I show up in my bday freakum dress, ikyk 😜😜 (also the amount of tape I had to use to keep these girls up was obnoxious),” Graham wrote via Instagram.
In a since-deleted tweet, Twitter user Sameera Khanwho lists herself as an “anti-woke journalist” in her bio, posted two pictures of Graham from her night at Tori Kelly‘s birthday party with the message: “The fat positivity movement is getting out of hand.”
While replying to commenters, Khan referred to Lizzo and Graham as “both disgusting,” and when a defender said Graham isn’t fat, Khan said“Obese then.”
Graham is used to the naysayers. “When I wanted to find resilience in myself — and where I did find it — was when I first moved to New York and I wanted to quit,” she recalled to Glamor in an April 2021 profile. “I had been bombarded with an industry that kept telling me, ‘You’re not good enough. You’re not skinny enough. You’re not big enough.’ I wanted to give up and I wanted to go home.”
It was the model’s mother who kept her on track. She continued: “I told my mom, ‘That’s it, I’m coming back to Nebraska.’ And she told me, ‘No, Ashley. Your body is going to change someone’s life.’ I didn’t understand what that meant then, but I understand what it means now because my body has changed an industry and it’s changed so much. It’s also taught me that I can do whatever I want to do, as long as I’m doing the things that make me feel good and that are creating change.”
Graham has been a champion for body diversity and acceptance. In 2016, she became the first size 14 model on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issueand she became the first plus-size model to be on the cover of Vogue in 2017.
“I hate that I constantly have to discuss my body, because I don’t know any man that has to do that,” she told WSJ. Magazine In a February 2021 cover story. But what motivates me to continue to talk about my body is that I didn’t have someone talk about their body when I was young. This is why I don’t post like the ‘perfect’ Instagram photos. I keep it real and raw constantly because I want [people] to know that there are women with cellulite, with back fat, with stretch marks… There are a lot of curvy women, plus-size women, fat women, whatever you want to call them.”