I didn't even think about hiding anything - I honestly went into it [with the idea that] I'm going to show myself off because no one of my size has ever been in this magazine [Sports Illustrated] and I need other women to know that they are just as beautiful.
I have been so blessed not only to talk about things that I want to talk about in my industry, but also to have a platform - and people want to hear about it. People want the change; people want the difference; people want to know what's going on. People want to see themselves in the industry that for so long has ostracized girls of my size.
I think that the work that's left to be done - and I see the end in sight at this point - is to just let go and stop talking about it. It's definitely 'stop talking about the whole size thing.' I don't go to my girlfriend's house and say, 'Hey, I'm your big friend, let's talk about big things.' It's not a topic of conversation within my friend group - I'm ready for society, Hollywood, the press, magazines, everyone, to just catch up and say, 'These women are just like the women we've been using for so long. Let's... Read more »
I wasn't put on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a plus-size model, I was put on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a model, as a rookie, as Ashley Graham. This is exactly where we're headed, and yes, there are so many more things we need to do in the curve/plus-size industry.
I don't like to use the words "real women," honestly. I like to use the word woman. And I say that because there are so many women out there who are naturally thin, or are naturally curvy, and I think when we start putting a label on the type of woman it gets misconstrued and starts to offend people. At the end of the day we just all want to be known as women or models or actresses or whatever.
When NYDJ called me and told me that Christie Brinkley was going to be on set with me I freaked out. And when I met Christie, she had a little freak out because she said that her daughter Sailor loved me so much.
I might sound like a crazy person, but that's the way I pump myself up. You know how some people are just like 'I have to talk about it'? Sometimes I'll call my husband and we'll talk about it, sometimes I have to talk to myself in the mirror. So I start talking to myself: 'You got this. Don't think of this as Sports Illustrated, just think about this as the best swimsuit campaign you've done in your life. And just kill it and own it and don't put that pressure on yourself.'