Graham’s ‘Star’ Rising
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