Attention all curvy women! Ashley Graham is here to make your summer swimsuit dreams come true!
When she's not designing a Barbie, sans thigh gap; writing an autobiography; or consulting on America's Next Top Model, Ashley is still a woman on a mission — one determined to show curvy women around the world that they can feel confident without covering up. In a recent interview with Shape.com, the former SI Swimsuit cover model and body activist opened up about everything from her experience overcoming body shaming to how she stays motivated to workout. And let us just say, we've never loved her more!
On ignoring the negativity: "Parents need to remember that their children are listening to and absorbing everything they say. In my book, I talk about how our parents are our first role models, and I think that if there was more family talk about body image, young children would grow up more confident in their own skin. As for the social media trolls, I've learned to ignore the people who think they are 'experts' on my body. I'm the only person who can measure my own health and wellness. If I'm happy with the way I look and my doctor says I'm healthy, that's all that matters."
On learning to love workouts: "I'd be lying if I said it was easy to fit my favorite workouts into my schedule! I didn't go the gym once during my book tour, but I don't let that discourage me or make me feel bad about myself. When I got home I scheduled a few workouts and got back on track. Once scheduling workouts becomes stressful, you lose the fun and enjoyment of it."
On finding the perfect swimsuit for a curvy figure: "There's a myth that curvy women feel more confident when they have full coverage with their swimsuits. I say, the smaller the better! I have my own line with Swimsuits for All and together we design suits that are both sexy and comfortable. I like to include special 'wow' factors like mesh cut-outs, deep V-necks, bright patterns, and string bikinis. I recently threw a pool party in the Hamptons and all of the women were wearing my swimsuits. It was empowering to watch them walk around confidently in their own skin without feeling the need to wear a cover-up."
BONUS: See some of Ashley's sexiest moments from SI Swimsuit!