Do you have access to a cold shower while you're reading this? You're gonna need one. Supermodel Ashley Graham is back in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, but this time she left her bikini top at home. The video of Ashley Graham dancing topless for the famed magazine is giving me life, and I'm using it as an opportunity to soak up all of her confidence and get a little bit of my own mojo back, too. There's no rule that says you have to be Ashley Graham to take your top off and do a little shimmy, but damn it doesn't hurt.
Graham made history when she was the first "plus-size" model (is the world done using that phrase yet?) to grace the cover of the famed athlete magazine. In 2016, she smoldered in the beach surf on the front cover of the famous magazine. Since then, she's become one of my favorite role models, preaching self-love, body positivity and inclusiveness, and never taking sh*t from anybody. Today, you can't touch the fashion industry without seeing her, thinking about her, or hearing from her. It's honestly the best.
In 2016, she told The Daily Beast,
I hope in the next year people will stop saying ‘plus-size,’ and they’ll just say, ‘She’s a model.’ I think that the day is coming. There are all kinds of descriptions for models. My favorite is curvasexalicious. And I taste good.
The term "plus-size" is still around, but the public's view on modeling is changing.
This year, Graham filmed a fun, flirty, and oh-so-steamy video for Sports Illustrated featuring suits from her own swimsuit line, Swimsuits for All x Ashley Graham. While the video shows her rocking a bunch of different looks and bathing suits, there is a substantial portion of the video that includes Graham just walking around without a top on. It's jaw-dropping.
Turn your computer away from your boss and take a look.
How ya doing? Everybody hanging in there?
Me? Oh, I'm just dancing around in front of my mirror smooshing my boobs up toward my face.
Not only is Graham using her platform to shatter stereotypes around modeling, she's made it a point to support her friends in their individuals careers, too. This year, newcomer model Danielle Herrington scored the SI cover image, and also became the third African American woman to be the face of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Graham shouted her support on Instagram, sharing Herrington's cover and the caption,
DANIELLE!!!! Tears of joy for you this morning! Congratulations on breaking even MORE barriers being the 3rd black woman to ever grace the cover of @si_swimsuit! I have so many emotions😭 SOAR BABY GIRL!! @danielle_herrington_
As part of a super inspirational TED Talk called "Plus Size? More Like My Size," Graham expertly discussed the modeling industry and the backwards thinking that comes with it surrounding female bodies. She said,
My goal is to give a voice to young women who struggle to find someone they can look up to—for girls who struggle to look inside the mirror and say, 'I love you.' For women who feel uncomfortable expressing their confidence they've locked away inside themselves. [...] It is critical that men and women create a body positive environment. [...] Be your favorite kind of woman. Don't let anybody else take that job.
And, if you feel like it, take off your shirt. It's super liberating.
Catch Graham, Herrington, and all of the other swimsuit models doing their damn things at SportsIllustrated.com.
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