If you’re wondering what your life is missing, the answer is Ashley Graham. Ashley is an American model who has also taken on the role of a body rights activist. She is not only an incredible role model for young women but also anyone who has ever felt insecure in their body. Many people know her as being a plus sized model, but Ashley has smashed those stereotypes, claiming that there is no need for that kind of title; she is just a model and an incredibly beautiful one at that.
She recently gave a self-love speech in front of a group of young girls, and it is absolutely inspiring. Her words, her stage presence, and her story-telling make for a mesmerizing combination as she spoke about self-love and true happiness. You might want to have some tissues on hand.
Ashley started her life much like the rest of us; normal and full of struggles.
She was born in Nebraska and lived quietly in a small town.
The best thing that ever happened in a shopping mall.
She was discovered while she was shopping at a mall in Omaha in 2000, and since that mall trip, her life has never been the same.
Before all the glamour and the photoshoots, Ashley faced some struggles
She was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia at a young age. This diagnosis caused her to struggle with understanding herself fully.
“Even when I go to the teleprompter sometimes, I remember that feeling. But I have to just shake it off and go back to my affirmations,” Ashley said in an interview with Glamour.
She rose straight to the top.
Since her discovery, she’s been featured in Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Glamour, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, among other prestigious magazines.
In 2001 she signed with Wilhelmina Models.
The company is one of the most well-known modeling agencies and has been for decades.
Wilhelmina has also signed other famous models, such as Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner.
She’s been featured on many magazine covers, but also in commercials and some TV appearances.
Ashley played the leading lady in DNCE’s music video Toothbrush.
Joe Jonas was lucky to stand alongside her.
Ashley’s career has not been shy of controversy.
She appeared in a pretty controversial Lane Bryant ad that many people thought was too “inappropriate” for television which is pretty ridiculous considering every other lingerie commercial shows the same amount of skin, if not more.
Graham was also one of the first plus-size models to appear in the pages of the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue
She has broken many stereotypes surrounding what a typical model should look like.
Much of Ashley’s career has been centered on self-confidence, breaking stereotypes and embracing your inner and outer beauty.
She is loud and proud of who she is, and she wants others to feel the same.
Ashley has also started her own line of lingerie.
The Ashley Grahm Collection has been quite a hit.
She also started the empowering hashtag #IAMSIZESEXY to inspire others to have confidence, and comfortability with their own sexuality– something she feels very passionate about.
She’s been invited to speak at a variety of events.
Her speaking skills are amazing– if not better –than her modeling skills.
Ashley has also been a back-stage judge on Miss USA and Miss Universe two years in a row.
She crushed it with her poise, elegance, joy and humor.
Earlier this year, Ashley gave a talk to an audience of young girls about self-love.
It resonated with a much wider audience than just those young girls.
It became a revolutionary act.
The speech didn’t have a title but it was coined as the “Being ok with who you are is a revolutionary act.”
Listen up, ladies and gentlemen!
Here’s the video that sent waves of inspiration and confidence throughout the internet and beyond.
OK, we all hate Craig.
Ashley starts her speech with a funny story that gets a lively reaction from the girls in her audience about an ex-boyfriend named Craig who broke up with her because she wouldn’t have sex with him.
Craig gets worse, much, much worse.
“The second reason,” Ashley continued, regarding why Craig broke up with her, was “because he said I was going to be as fat as his mom.”
The girls in the audience shriek in offense, as they felt a mutual hate towards Craig.
But Ashley isn’t here to shame men or talk about dating.
She goes on to make her speech about way more than just a high school break up.
“I think about that moment from time to time,” Ashley went on, “You know what, if I could go back and talk to her, I would say, first of all, Craig is a loser.”
“Second of all, you are fine. And that bulge on your hip that he’s talking about, not only is it okay, but it’s going to change the world someday.”
She began to talk about self-worth and how Craig wasn’t the first person to tell her that she wasn’t enough.
“The fashion industry told me I wasn’t going to be a real model because of all these curves,” she continued to slay across the stage. “But now we can cut to me on the cover of Glamour and Vogue and Sports Illustrated.”
She went on to say that it wasn’t always self-confidence and empowerment, but that it took a while for her to learn to love herself.
“I didn’t always appreciate the power that my body gave,” she stated.
Take notes, this is the good stuff.
“Here’s what I want from all of you,” Ashley drew all the attention from her audience. “I want you to skip past all the drama, all the self-doubt that I had to go through and get to the good stuff about owning and loving who you are.”
The wild cheers began to die down when Ashley dug deep by talking about self-love and true happiness.
It felt like everyone watching leaned in a little closer to hang on the words that Ashley was sharing.
“It took me a long time to figure out where happiness comes from.”
“But honestly, happiness comes from doing what you love,” Ashley said with confidence.
“Now that I’m in my happy place, you can’t tell me nothing because I know I’m good enough,” she said while strutting across the stage.
I need this on a poster to hang in every room in my house. Who else needs one?
She didn’t stop there.
Ashley went on to encourage the girls that “Whatever someone thinks is wrong with you, whether it’s your opinion or your body, that’s actually your superpower.”
Ashley is already on fire, spitting truth to everyone in that room and now everyone online.
It’s hard not to want to stand up and clap to everything she’s saying.
“Well I know now that the heart of my power is not my beauty, but my willingness to share my deepest vulnerabilities with all of you,” Ashley said.
This really is such a powerful statement and she is showing that she practices what she preaches, right at that moment.
Having a vulnerability can be a scary thing.
But, when someone as amazing as Ashley Graham gets on a stage to tell you how important it is, you know it’s worth listening to.
Share the hard stuff
“When you share your deepest vulnerabilities, with the people next to you…you tell her what you’re most insecure about it’s going to make you feel so much better…and it’s going to help you get over whatever it is you’re going through,” Ashley declared while looking into the souls of every young girl in that room.
She wrapped up her speech by explaining that she wasn’t here to talk about beauty, but something much deeper.
“I’m here to help you understand that true beauty is being okay with who you are. And being okay with who you are is a revolutionary act.”
Ashley wants us to not only love ourselves but love those around us.
“Making someone else feel good about who they are, that’s down-right heroic,” she said boldly.
Live by these words!
“Remember that you are bold, you are brilliant, you are beautiful. You are worthy of anything you want to accomplish. That is beauty beyond size. And that never, ever fades.”
Anyone else feeling absolutely blown away and really emotional?
Her words hold a lot of power and truth, not just for young girls, but for people of all ages and sizes.
Watch this video, then watch it again until you feel the love.
Then go ahead and share this article with someone who could use these encouraging and empowering words.