Gra­ham’s ‘Star’ Ris­ing

WWD Digital Daily - - In Focus: Technology -

Ash­ley Gra­ham is walk­ing the path of ma­jor mod­els be­fore her and tak­ing a big step into TV.

The plus-size model, bud­ding de­signer and new Revlon am­bas­sador is headed for the small screen as the host of “Amer­i­can Beauty Star,” Life­time’s tal­ent-driven re­al­ity com­pe­ti­tion that is com­ing back for a sec­ond sea­son later this year with makeup artist Sir John (cur­rently on tour with none other than Bey­oncé) set to re­turn as the men­tor of con­tes­tants.

While Gra­ham has made a few other ap­pear­ances on TV be­fore, this will be her first lead­ing gig, but she’s been look­ing to do more TV. When Life­time ap­proached her and her team about the show, Gra­ham said she “jumped at the chance to be a part of it.”

“TV is def­i­nitely a ca­reer goal,” she added. “Grow­ing up, I didn’t see a lot of women my size when I watched my fa­vorite shows and it’s so im­por­tant that we change that for the next gen­er­a­tion and re­ally show them our di­verse world.”

Nor­ton Her­rick of Her­rick En­ter­tain­ment, which is the pro­ducer be­hind the show, sees Gra­ham’s ex­pe­ri­ences as a plus­size model who’s nabbed a num­ber of in­dus­try firsts, not least of which is a beauty con­tract and an Amer­i­can Vogue cover, as a big plus for “Amer­i­can Beauty Star.”

“Gra­ham’s ex­ten­sive work in fash­ion and beauty has pushed the bound­aries for in­dus­try stan­dards and we look for­ward to her unique per­spec­tive along­side our highly cre­ative panel of judges,” Her­rick wrote in a state­ment.

Gena Mc­Carthy, head of pro­gram­ming for Life­time, added that Gra­ham “em­bod­ies mod­ern beauty that is not only in­spir­ing, but em­pow­er­ing.”

But Gra­ham is also set to ex­ec­u­tive-pro­duce the sea­son, along­side Her­rick and fel­low model and sea­son one host Adri­ana Lima. Gra­ham said the idea of be­ing an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, a po­si­tion that equals in­flu­ence on the cre­ative di­rec­tion of a show, was an im­por­tant part of stay­ing “hands on” in her ca­reer.

“I only take on projects I feel pas­sion­ate about and for ‘Amer­i­can Beauty Star,’ I wanted to be as in­volved as pos­si­ble,” she said.

As for the show over­all, which will see a group of makeup artists com­pete through chal­lenges set to in­clude hair and wardrobe styling, along­side makeup, for sta­tus and a cash prize, Gra­ham is hop­ing to boost some other ca­reers along­side her own.

“Hav­ing worked in the fash­ion in­dus­try for a while, I know the im­por­tance of the peo­ple be­hind the scenes like hair­styl­ists and makeup artists,” she said. “They are true artists re­spon­si­ble for cre­at­ing iconic looks and mo­ments, and they play a big role in bring­ing art to life.” — KALI HAYS

Ash­ley Gra­ham

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