Ashley Graham Quote

This Quote From Ashley Graham Changed My Life

Who knew that words from a model that I've never met would flip my entire perspective?

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We all have words we've heard in passing or that have been spoken to us that have had a significant impact on our lives. Whether it's relationship advice your grandmother gave you or a quote about life from your favorite TV show, the words have stuck with you and have affected how you live and interact with those around you.

Ashley Graham, for those who don't know, is a model, designer and body activist who's appeared on the covers of some of the worlds most prestigious fashion publications. She's been the cover star, on several occasions, of Vogue, Glamour, and Elle, just to name a few. She took the fashion industry by storm with her fierce sense of body-confidence and her rejection of the classification "plus-size" as a model. She's one of the most recognizable models in the industry today. She's even had a Barbie Doll made in her honor.

Ashley Graham gave a speech to a room full of young women on behalf of Glamour magazine, and during her talk, she uttered a sentence that directly changed my thought process and the way I go about living my life. She said to these girls,

"Whatever someone thinks is wrong with you, that's your superpower."

In reviews of her talk and articles highlighting the most memorable moments from the speech, this as hardly one of the main focus points. For me, however, watching the video, it was the single most impactful piece of advice she gave.

Ashley Graham has been a great advocate for body positivity and self-confidence. Since her start in the fashion and modeling industry, she's been extremely open about her struggles with bullies and confidence issues growing up. She's spoken about how people in her life singled her out for her weight, how companies told her she'd never find success as a model because she was plus-size. She relayed stories about friends, family members, and romantic partners that had shamed her because of her weight and tried to get her to change to fit a more acceptable societal standard.

But she wouldn't have any of it. Instead, she took her weight, her body type, and made it her superpower. She chose to take the negativity she was shown because of a number on a scale, and she twisted it into the most positive aspect of her life. She decided that if people were going to focus on her weight, then it would be because she was gracing the covers of magazines, walking runways, and looking amazing.

Part of the reason this quote is so memorable and impactful to me personally is because, like Ashley, I struggled with my weight, my confidence, and people making comments about the way I look. Also, like her, I grew up with this aura of negativity surrounding the fact that I wasn't as skinny as most girls my age. I grew up believing that bigger = less attractive, less likable, less accepted, and just less in general. I grew up drawing a direct line connecting weight to self-worth because that's what was expressed to me when friends or relatives would comment on my body or tell me that "it's okay, you'll lose that baby weight eventually."

Bottom line: all throughout my adolescence (which is hard enough without the addition of body-image issues), I believed that unless my weight was under a certain number, then it was a problem. However, growing up, I also saw and heard so many sermons of self-love and people saying that weight didn't matter, that it was just a number.

But those words never clicked in a way that made sense until I heard Ashley Graham say that whatever people thought was wrong with me, whatever I thought was wrong me, that's my superpower.

I don't have any plans to drop my current path and become a model, but I do see myself, and others, differently. I no longer associate my value with the number on a scale. Hell, I don't even own a scale. The point is, I've learned to love myself, love every single inch and perceived flaw of my body, no matter what the media shows me, and no matter what others say I should feel about the way I look.

Obviously, the path to self-acceptance is longer than a video of Ashley Graham talking about her body-image, but it definitely helped me along. And those words, that declaration of power and ability based on what society thinks I should fix about myself, changed my life.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Being Ugly

What it means to me

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Due to a series of ongoing events throughout my semester, I've reconsidered what it means for someone to truly be ugly. Though it is often used in terms of appearance, I do not see it as such-- now more than ever. Ugliness runs deeper than appearance-- it runs within one's soul and festers into other areas of one's life, particularly in their treatment of others.

I view ugliness as someone's conscious capacity and implementation of malice. Taking time and energy out of your day to hurt someone else, that's what I view as ugly. Some offenses are more minor than others, however, it is still a conscious effort to hurt or affect someone else negatively-- and that's the source of the problem. I truly wonder what causes that sort of behavior in someone, as I, along with most people, simply do not invest time or energy into hating or plotting against others. It seems like a full-time job.

I can theorize all sorts of reasons as to why someone would act this way: hate, jealousy, vengeance, etc. Yet, all of these reasons don't hit the root reason. It almost seems that some people are just innately ugly in their soul. This alludes to the timeless debate of whether one's personality is due to nature or nurture. Again, although our surroundings and environment do have a large effect in our behavior, that alibi only goes so far when multiple people are placed in the same environment, in the same situation, and only some are willing to cross moral boundaries in order to hurt the others. Just because an environment applies pressure to people, does not mean everyone is going to act out in malice, and it certainly does not give everyone an excuse to do so. Some people are simply conniving and, well, ugly inside.

If you have ever encountered people like this, I know from personal experience that it is such a drag. You have an enemy, essentially, whether you chose to or not, however based on their hatred towards you, they are now considered an enemy, a hater, and any other associated term. Know that they will do anything in their power to bring you down, even if it requires bending the truth and creating elaborate schemes, but you have to keep on doing you. Let them obsess over ways to bring you down. At the end of the day, their time and energy is being invested into bringing you down, while yours is being used to build yourself up. They will fall by default. So, keep your head high, act in grace, and make your money. They can sip on their Haterade and watch from below.

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