Is the fash­ion world fi­nally ready for Ash­leyGra­ham? BY LAURAdeCARUFEL

ELLE (Canada) - - Story Board -

Plus-size phenom

Ash­ley Gra­ham on her trail-

blaz­ing modelling ca­reer.

By Laura deCarufel

fash­ion is full of skin­ny­marinks, but the fresh­est face of the sea­son boasts a fuller sil­hou­ette—as well as fe­line brown eyes, a megawatt smile and cheek­bones for days. Ash­ley Gra­ham, 27, has ruled the plus-size world for a decade. Now, as the modelling in­dus­try (fi­nally) ap­pears ready to em­brace a broader def­i­ni­tion of beauty, Gra­ham has her eyes on the su­per­model prize. And why not? She has al­ready worked with David Sims, Katie Grand, Sølve Sundsbø and, most re­cently, Carine Roit­feld. “I want to get to the next level, next level, next level,” says Gra­ham.

What was the plus-size modelling in­dus­try like when you started? “At first,

I didn’t get the dif­fer­ence be­cause I was so young. As I got older, I re­al­ized ‘Oh, I’m one of the “big girls,” the ones who aren’t quite ac­cepted’—that opened my eyes a lot.” Is there more re­spect now? “I have never felt dis­re­spected as a plus-size model—it was mainly in the high-end world where I felt like I didn’t be­long. But it has changed im­mensely over the past five years. There are [plus­size] girls on cov­ers, in ed­i­to­ri­als and in makeup cam­paigns. High-end de­sign­ers like Donna Karan, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein are do­ing plus­size col­lec­tions.”

Why do you think it has changed?

“The aver­age Amer­i­can woman is size 12 to 14, so if you aren’t cater­ing to the aver­age woman, you’re cater­ing to a small group of people. [De­sign­ers] re­al­ize that—and they want to make money.” What have you learned from trail­blaz­ers like Crys­tal Renn? “Crys­tal is ac­tu­ally one of my best friends. I have some of the best moves be­cause of her! We’d stand in front of the mir­ror naked to­gether and she’d say ‘This is how you ma­nip­u­late your body.’” What’s next? “I love how Cindy Craw­ford wasn’t just a face—she ac­tu­ally cre­ated a brand. That is some­thing I re­ally ad­mire and want to work my way up to.... Maybe in five or 10 years there’ll be an Ash­ley Gra­ham Show, but there’s an Ash­ley Gra­ham Show hap­pen­ing right now, in my apart­ment in Brook­lyn!” ■

“It was love at first con­ver­sa­tion,” says Gra­ham about her de­but Ad­di­tion Elle lin­gerie line, which hit stores last fall. “As a curvy woman, I could never find any­thing sexy and glam­orous for my size boobs and butt! I wanted to give the [lin­gerie] in­dus­try some oomph.”

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