Model Ashley Graham just gave an incredible TED Talk on the importance of loving your body and the discrimination she faces on a daily basis in the fashion industry. Addressing an audience of over 400 people in Valencia, Spain, Graham discussed her struggles as a model and how she came to accept her figure as it is.
She spoke about how the term “plus-sized model” made her feel like an outsider in the fashion world, despite having a successful modeling career. “The fashion industry might label me as plus-sized, but I like to think of it as my-sized,” she said in the talk. “I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the narrow mold society wanted me to fit in. I was never going to be perfect enough for an industry that defines perfection from the outside in.”
Graham does not believe that anyone should be labeled “plus size.” Instead, she thinks that women should call ourselves what we want to be called: "Women with shapes that are our own.” She makes a good point, noting the fact that plus size fashion is an $18 billion dollar industry, which is why it is ridiculous to think of these “plus-size” bodies as irregular or deviating from the norm. After all, the average dress size for women in America is a size 14.
Graham hasn't just inspired us with her Ted Talk. She appeared in Lane Bryant’s much talked-about Cacique Lingerie ads and is also a co-founder of ALDA, a coalition of plus-sized models. Watch her inspiring talk below:
Image by Danielle St. Laurent for BUST Magazine.