As hard as it is, owning who you are and knowing what you want is the only sure path to affirmation... I want women to know they can get out of any situation if they return to their core source of strength: themselves.
People will run up to me with tears in their eyes and say, 'You're Ashley Graham?' and I match their enthusiasm and respond, 'Yes, I am!' and all they say is, 'Thank you so much.'
I wasn't put on the cover of 'Sports Illustrated' as a plus-size model; I was put on the cover of 'Sports Illustrated' as a model, as a rookie, as Ashley Graham.
I am more than my measurements. I'm not Ashley Graham just because I'm curvy.
I think women think I'm inspirational because I'm unapologetic. I have cellulite. I have back fat. I've got a thick stomach. But I work my body like I don't because I don't know any other body. I don't know how to feel thin. I just know how to feel like Ashley.
What better time to write a memoir than the big 3-0?
I love blocking people. I'm not afraid to block anybody.
I've lived the torment of the names. I've lived the torment of boyfriends breaking up with me because they were afraid I was going to be too fat later in life.
This is the thing: I know I'm paving the way for the next generation of girls, and they're not going to have to do this. That's what I hope. I'll take the brunt work and just handle it, and then you guys can just sail right on through.
I tried every diet, from living on cabbage soup to fasting to Weight Watchers, and then came the frozen meals and the shakes. I realized that the more I took care of my body, eating what was good for me, then I felt happy and whole.
I've had agents tell me, 'You're not gonna be on the cover of anything; you're a catalog girl.' I've had clients tell me, 'You're too fat, and we can't book you any more because you don't fit into the jeans.'
For 10 years, I'd been told I was always going to be a catalogue girl, never a cover girl. Well, I got with IMG and did five covers in a year, boom, boom, boom.
I don't think guys judge curvy women as much as women do. It shocks me how catty some women can be. In my whole life, I only had one guy break up with me over weight.
People called me 'cottage cheese thighs' all through school.
I'm giving curvy women a seat at a table that we've never been invited to before - a table with high-end fashion people who have never considered us beautiful.
Curvy models are becoming more and more vocal about the isolating nature of the term 'plus-size.' We are calling ourselves what we want to be called - women, with shapes that are our own.
'Sports Illustrated' decided to have curvy women not only in their magazine but on the cover of their magazine. Now, that means size diversity is here, and it's real, and it's not a trend.
Curvy girls can pull off any look - it's what we do.
Growing up, I had my mom to look up to; J. Lo and Marilyn Monroe were notable curvy women. But I didn't have anyone with cellulite or back fat telling me they didn't care.
To some, I'm too curvy. To others, I'm too tall, too busty, too loud, and, now, too small - too much, but at the same time not enough.