Ashley Graham debuts lingerie line at Las Vegas Macy’s

They called her “cottage cheese thighs.” They called her “thick.”

Ashley Graham’s bullies even came up with a soundtrack for her life and shouted it as she walked down the hallways of her high school in Nebraska.

“They would make that truck backing-up sound,” she recalled, cringing, “Beep, beep, beep.”

The worst of a lifetime of brutal fat shaming came after a modeling agent saw her at a local mall and suggested that she join an industry known for zero percent body fat.

Of course, he told her to please lose all that weight. She knew it was coming because size 14 in the fashion industry is considered a crime.

“The really hard moment was when my dad said, ‘Honey, if an agent is telling you to lose weight, then maybe you should lose weight.’ I was 15, standing in our living room having a moment I will never forget. I never had a parent tell me to lose weight and it hurt.

“Of course, he was thinking like a businessman. It’s not that my father didn’t love me. He wanted me to succeed,” she said during an interview at the Fashion Show mall in Las Vegas. It was her mother who had a different way of looking at it.

“She told me, ‘You’re like all of the women in our family. You’re like so many women in the world.’ ”

Turns out that her mom was right. Time magazine has named her as one of their 100 Most Influential People. She even has an Ashley Graham Barbie doll that’s coveted by her 5.7 million Instagram followers.

Graham, 30, and still a size 14, was in Vegas recently to debut her sexy lingerie line, which is sold at Macy’s.

Fans flocked to the event because Graham — who dubs herself a body activist — made history in 2016, as the first “curve model” to hit the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.

She wasn’t content with a one-and-done moment of triumph. Her fashion line soon will include jeans, bikinis and one-piece swimsuits. She’s also the author of “A New Model” (Dey Street Books, $26.99), which talks about her journey from Nebraska to the top of the modeling world.

That world is pretty crazy, which is why Graham begins each day looking in the mirror, not to admire her perfect skin or slather it with the latest moisturizer.

Speaking her truth

“I say my mantra,” Graham said: “ ‘You are bold. You are brilliant. You are beautiful. You are worthy of it all.’ ”

That New Age moment is combined with a solid Midwest work ethic and a never-say-die attitude.

“Let’s face it, I’ve worked my butt off for the last 15 years to get to where I am today. It has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”

It also has been about having an inner resolve to get past those who judge a woman based on her size.

Graham was walking through a mall with her father when she was 15, and a man approached, asking her if she ever thought of modeling. It turned out that he worked for an agency. It didn’t take long before she was living in New York City and facing the harsh realities of a brutal industry.

“I had so many agents tell me that at size 18, I would never work or work again,” she said. “I heard, ‘Go home and lose some weight.’ ”

She even tried to follow their advice. “I tried every diet, from living on cabbage soup to fasting to Weight Watchers, and then came the frozen meals and the shakes,” she lamented. “I realized that the more I took care of my body, eating what was good for me, then I felt happy and whole.

“It doesn’t matter what size your hips are when you measure them,” she said. “It’s about, ‘Do you feel good and healthy in those hips?’ ”

A 2010 ad for Lane Bryant changed her life. “It was banned from TV because the feeling was: How dare a curvy girl be on TV in lingerie,” Graham said. “The truth is it put me on the map.”

Just don’t call her a plus-size model. “That’s divisive. It puts you in a category of someone who could care less about her body. That’s not true for me,” she said. “Why don’t they call you a confident model who embraces her body?”

Graham’s outspokenness is why fans flock to her appearances, where she talks about the realities of body shaming.

Ask her: Who is a bigger critic of the curve — men or women?

“I don’t think guys judge curvy women as much as women do,” she said. “It shocks me how catty some women can be. In my whole life, I only had one guy break up with me over weight.

She started her fashion line because items such as sexy bras and lingerie are limited for curvy women.

“I have big breasts,” she said. “So does my mom and sister. We’re sexy girls who don’t want to wear a nursing bra.”

Seventeen collections later, Graham’s products are known for sex appeal and solid support. “They look and fit better,” she said. “They look as sexy as the bras and lingerie made for much smaller women. I wanted to have the lace that came off the runways in Paris and the designer pinstripes. Every woman should have all those choices of sexy and essential undergarments.”

“One of the best compliments I ever got was from a husband who said, ‘Thank you for creating lingerie that fits my wife. We’re finally having sex with the lights on.’ ”

“Men tell me, ‘I see a real difference in my woman because now she’s embracing her curves. She feels sexy and is sexy.’”

That’s the idea for Graham who has been married since 2010 to cinematographer Justin Ervin. She recently posted a picture on her Instagram where she’s kissing Ervin in a swimming pool with her legs wrapped around him. She’s in a black bikini with string bottoms and he’s grabbing her butt. “No caption necessary #marriedlife,” she wrote.

Her fan base went wild.

Changing the industry

“Never before have you seen the fashion industry embrace so many types of people,” Graham said. “There’s the curvy girl, the short girl, the freckled girl, the girls with piercings and tats. It’s fantastic.

“It used to be that in high school, girls would feel like, ‘No one looks like me, talks like me, acts like me,’ ” she said. “Now, different is in. You can be who you are.

“There is still a long way to go,” she added. “But there is a movement toward acceptance.”

Graham, who lives in Brooklyn, said her Sports Illustrated cover marked a major moment in that movement. “It changed my life forever while being such a history-making moment,” she said. “I will forever be grateful to them for taking a chance and putting me on the cover.

“Yes, it changed my life, but it changed so many lives and that’s the win,” she said. “It said, ‘It doesn’t matter if you have back fat. You can be sexy and beautiful.”

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Dream of AJ Montgomery
AJ Montgomery lost part of his leg in a vehicle accident but found his dream as a performer in “Le Reve.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly Clinton-Holmes of the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes chats with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, director of the Stirling Club's New Year's Eve entertainment.
Month-by-month entertainment coming in 2019
“True Detective” Season 3, HBO (Jan. 13) Travis Scott, T-Mobile Arena (Feb. 6) Robbie Williams, Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas (March 6, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 16) “Game of Thrones” Season 8, HBO (April) Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (May 17-19) “Fiddler on the Roof,” The Smith Center (June 4-9) “The Lion King” (July 19) Psycho Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay (Aug. 16-18) Life is Beautiful, downtown Las Vegas (Sept. 20-22) “Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum” (Oct. 15) “Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) “Star Wars: Episode IX” (Dec. 20)
Lacey Huszcza invites you to find something to love at the Las Vegas Philharmonic
Lacey Huszcza, executive director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic talks about the orchestra's wealth of programming. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gina Marinelli offers La Strega preview
Gina Marinelli used a pop-up New Year’s Eve dinner at Starboard Tack to preview items she’ll feature at her new Summerlin restaurant, La Strega. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Year’s Eve at Sparrow + Wolf
Sparrow + Wolf’s New Year’s Eve party was a sort of official unveiling of its newly renovated space. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Debra Kelleher Of The Stirling Club
Debra Kelleher, DK Hospitality President talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the Stirling Club.
Richard Ditton Of The Stirling Club
Richard Ditton, an investment partner of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
NYE at the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes reports from the reopening of the Stirling Club on New Year's Eve 2018.
Michael Stapleton of the Stirling Club
Michael Stapleton, COO of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
Recap the Countdown on Fremont Street — VIDEO
Nearly 40,000 people packed Fremont Street to enjoy America's Party Downtown. As the tradition stands, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman counted down the clock on the 3rd Street Stage, alongside her husband and former mayor, Oscar Goodman.
New Year's Eve live from the Las Vegas Strip Bellagio Fountains - Video
Reporter Aaron Drawhorn near the Bellagio Fountains as hundreds of thousands gather to celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas
Ryan Reaves describes the flavors in Training Day beer
Ryan Reaves talks about the flavor of Training Day, the new beer from 7Five Brewing that was launched at the PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves describes his new beer
Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves talks about his new beer from 7Five Brewing at a launch party at PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' five biggest NYE concerts
Imagine Dragons at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Lady Gaga at The Park Theater at Park MGM, Maroon 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Bruno Mars at T-Mobile Arena, and Tenacious D at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye @bizutesfaye
New American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
Bellagio Conservatory display is Majestic Holiday Magic
Majestic Holiday Magic at the Bellagio Conservatory
Las Vegas Ready for 2019 NYE Fireworks Show
The city of Las Vegas is ready to celebrate "America's Party" with a new and improved fireworks show that will pay tribute to the Golden Knights.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like