Model and clothing designer Ashley Graham thrilled fans earlier this month when she announced that she is expecting her first child. The curvy model and body positivity activist is thrilled to be expecting her first child and continues to advocate for embracing your body as it changes throughout pregnancy, gaining her new fans every day. While Graham has been in the modeling business for years, her new ventures into podcasting and fashion design have only started to raise her public profile, leaving many wanting to know more about this statuesque beauty.
Who Is Ashley Graham?
Ashley isn't just a supermodel, she's also a television personality, author, clothing designer, podcast host, and businesswoman.
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska on October 30, 1987, the oldest of three girls. Her father was a database marketer, her mother a stay at home mom. She is now one of the most successful curvy models in the industry. She's appeared on numerous television shows, acting as host for various Miss USA and Miss Universe broadcasts as well as appearing as a judge on America's Next Top Model. In 2017 she released a memoir titled A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like in which she revealed a lot about her personal life and being a body-positive advocate in the sometimes harsh and judgemental world of modeling.
Don't call her a plus-size model either, she prefers the term "curvy."
How Did Ashley Graham Get Started In Modeling?
Ashley was just 12 years old when she was spotted by scouts from a local modeling agency while shopping at the mall. At 5'9 and a size 12, she revealed to PEOPLE that the time she was scouted she was being bullied in her middle school for her weight, being called "the big friend with cottage cheese thighs," she said. After doing local modeling shoots in her hometown, she decided to pursue modeling as a career and moved to New York at the age of 17. Despite enduring constant bullying about her size from those in the industry, the curvy model signed with the reputable Wilhemina Agency in 2001, before moving to the Ford Agency in 2003. She is currently represented by IMG Models.
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When I was 5 growing up in Nebraska, I couldn’t have imagined where life would take me… but the girl in this photo knew it was going to be somewhere good 😉 I’m so grateful for the support along the way and the reminder that there are no limits to what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. I have @themamagraham to thank for that, and I want you all to remember the same about yourselves! #ICanSoIDid
How Ashley Graham Met Her Husband?
Ashley met her husband of nine years, director Justin Ervin at a New York City church in 2009, where Graham was volunteering. She explained to Gwyneth Paltrow during an appearance on her GOOP podcast that she was at church at the request of her mother after she had a "little issue with some tequila," that saw her showing up to her modeling agency "a little drunk."
"My mom said, 'rehab or church,'" Graham explained. "And I was like, 'I'm not an alcoholic, so I'll just go to church."
"The next thing you know I'm in the elevator... and I'm volunteering that Sunday. I'm the elevator lady," she explained. Two men had gotten on the elevator and noticed the brunette beauty.
"The one guy says to the other guy, 'If you don't talk to her I am.' I blushed. And the next thing ya know, Justin, my husband, was the one who stayed in the elevator."
The two went for coffee but Graham was turned off when Ervin didn't offer to pay, and she never called him back. About a month later they saw each other again at church and Ervin asked Graham out again, this time offering to pick up the tab. "He said, 'I have been taken advantage of and I have had women use me for a steak dinner, I don't want that, I'm looking for a wife," Graham explained.
The couple went on their second date and quickly became inseparable, with both vowing to abstain from sex until marriage. They were wed on August 15, 2010.
The recently announced they were expecting their first child on their 9th wedding anniversary.
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To my forever love and my daily inspiration. Happy anniversary @ashleygraham These 9 years have played out like a lifetime. I guess it’s because my life really started once you came into it. Now that we’ve made a life together, let’s make a life together. I love you and I love us. All of us...
Ashley Graham Greatest Moments
Graham revolutionized how the fashion industry sees curvy women. "For so long, curvy women have been a token in the fashion industry," she told Vogue Magazine. "Maybe we saw one curvy model in one editorial in an entire year, or we were limited to a magazine's shape issue. That's no longer our reality."
Graham was also the first size 16 model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Annual Swimsuit Edition. Not only did the model grace the pages of the renowned magazine, but she was also on the cover. "I thought Sports Illustrated was taking a risk by putting a girl my size in the pages," Graham told PEOPLE at the time. "But putting me on the cover? They aren’t just breaking barriers; they are the standard now. This is beyond epic."
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Truly speechless!!! This cover is for every woman who felt like she wasn't beautiful enough because of her size. You can do and achieve anything you put your mind to. Thank you so much to the entire @si_swimsuit team! I'm so excited to be a part of your family. I love you all!!! #siswim #beautybeyondsize
Graham also wasn't afraid to call out lingerie giant Victoria's Secret over their lack of body representation in their annual Angels fashion show. Graham, who designs her own signature line of lingerie for Addition Elle, seemed to take a shot at the lingerie brand when she photoshopped a runway photo of herself modeling her own creation and added Victoria's Secret Angel wings captioning the photo, "Got my wings! 🦋💐🌈😜 .. my #AdditionElle wings! #thickthighssavelives,"
She even gave a TEDTalk in 2015 about body positivity and body acceptance, and her issues with the term "plus-size."
Ashley Graham Net Worth
Graham is a boss lady, with a net worth of approximately $10 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In addition to her modeling work, Graham has her own lingerie line with Addition Elle and has partnered with Swimsuits for All on her own line of swimwear. She made Forbes "30 Under 30" in 2016, the same year was asked by the UN Foundation’s “Girl Up” leadership convention to speak. She has made numerous television appearances as host or judge and has written two books.
We can't wait to see what Ashley does next!