Model Ashley Graham: ‘My body has always been treated as a thing and not mine’

Ashley Graham attends the Forbes Women's Summit on June 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Things changed for model Ashley Graham after she discovered her voice.

“My body has always been treated as a thing and not mine,” Allure’s July cover model told the magazine. “You’re the sexy girl. You’re the naked girl. Men are going to idolize your hourglass figure.

“It was always about what others thought about my body, until I gained a voice,” she continued. “Now I get to tell people what I think of my body.”

Graham, 31, celebrated the idea that “Now, as a model, you have a voice; you have a brain; they want to hear what your platform is and what you stand for.”

From the interview published online Tuesday, her sense of empowerment is palpable. “Women are actually paid more than the male models,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s any other industry where women get paid more.” 

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Introducing our July cover star, #AshleyGraham 🌟 The model, activist, TV host, and entrepreneur spoke to Allure about representation (and how to do it the right way), having an all-woman business team, and finding power in her own voice. Link in bio for the full story. — #photography: @vanina_sorrenti #hair: @bobrecine #makeup: @jameskaliardos #manicure: @ohmynailsny #styling: @alexwhiteedits #writer: @jess_chia

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Graham serves as host and executive producer for Lifetime’s beauty competition “American Beauty Star,” using tips she picked up as a judge on “America’s Next Top Model” from Tyra Banks (2016-2018).  

“There wasn’t even a teleprompter – she had everything memorized,” Graham told Allure. “She would deliver it three different ways, and then she would tell everybody on set: ‘I want this angle; I want that light on me here.’ And she did it all without apologizing.” On “American Beauty Star,” Graham said she: “wasn’t apologetic. I was very matter-of-fact, but I did it with a smile on my face. That’s how people run businesses.”

In addition to learning from Banks, the model said she turns to entrepreneur Cindy Eckert for wisdom, as well as Gayle King.

“Gayle and I had a couple of impactful conversations while I was walking into (Graham’s podcast) ‘Pretty Big Deal,’ ” she said. 

And the girl power extends to her team of all ladies who help run her entrepreneurial efforts.

“I’m proud of it. I feel like a boss when I walk in – it’s me and my girls,” she told the magazine. “I imagine the beginning of ‘Entourage’: We’re walking in slow motion; everyone’s hair is blowing. It’s like, ‘We’re here to own this (expletive).’ ” 

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