This post was written by Alex Abel and originally appeared on People.com.
No one does confidence like Ashley Graham. The supermodel has changed the fashion game when it comes to inclusion and acceptance of different body types in campaigns and on runways, and helped many real women embrace their own shapes. Now, in the June/July issue of StyleWatch, she opens up about her own struggles, and how she breaks through them to continue to feel powerful and strong.
“There are some days I feel fat,” she revealed. “I’m not convinced there’s going to be a moment where every woman in the world wakes up and feels like a million dollars. So, what I want to do is give women the tools that will help when those moments come up. Sometimes it can be as easy as telling yourself that you are beautiful.”
Luckily for Ashley, she didn’t have to get there alone—she credits her mother with being her ultimate cheerleader. “My mom is the most positive person,” she explained. “She has always had a smile on her face no matter what came her way. After seeing that, I’m not going to let a little cellulite get in the way of my happiness!”
Ashley has taken the world by storm (and she says she’s just getting started!)—she created lingerie lines with Addition Elle, a fashion collab with Dressbarn, she has her own Barbie doll and wrote a book. But she says that she wasn’t just handed all these opportunities—she worked hard to make them happen for herself. “I took control!”, she shared. “I used to be bound by people who placed limits on what they thought I could do. Through that, I learned that if you want something, you have to be the one to go out and do it. If you don’t ask for something, you’re not going to get it.”
Her book, A New Model, was released about a month ago, and says she hopes it inspires people to continue to carve their own paths in their careers and their lives. “No one has written a book like this before,” she said. “I had such amazing success last year, but it’s not something that happened overnight. This has been a career-building journey for the last 17 years. The title of the book reflects the change we’re seeing in the fashion industry. There’s not one norm anymore. There’s not just one type of beauty. A New Model is saying that women should be confident in who they are and that they can be their own role models.”
Of course, Ashley also has an army of women supporting her to help, and her best piece of advice to other women is to create their own encouraging environments. “Support each other. In the modeling industry, one woman is great, but in order to make a major change, you need a group of models supporting each other. At the end of the day, I just want to help other women be happy and thrive. And that’s what I want for myself too.”
BONUS: See all of Ashley's stunning photos from SI Swimsuit 2017!