Ashley Graham Says This Was the Turning Point in Her Modeling Career

The supermodel is also an entrepreneur, investor and mentor.
Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham.

Earlier this week, the Hello Sunshine Instagram account shared a video message from Ashley Graham in which the supermodel talked through her career trajectory. The clip, which was a promo for the 36-year-old’s new Roku Channel show, Side Hustlers, also covered her entrepreneurial journey. 

Graham said that she “began to carve out [her] own path in the industry” due in large part to one gig in particular: her SI Swimsuit Issue cover.

“In 2016, I landed the cover of Sports Illustrated,” the mom of three stated. “This truly was a turning point that propelled my career forward, and with success came so much more opportunity.” 

When she landed the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue, the Nebraska native became the first plus-sized model to do so in the publication’s history. Graham went on to pose for the magazine the following two years for a total of three brand features.

In the clip, Graham said that as her modeling career took off, so did her role as an entrepreneur—in which she developed swimwear, dress and lingerie lines—which eventually led to her work as an investor. “I wanted to put my money where my mouth is and support these businesses that I truly believe in by helping them grow,” she added.

Now that she has a handle on entrepreneurship and investing, Graham is shifting her focus to mentorship, she explained. That’s where her new reality show comes in.

Alongside cohost Emma Grede, Graham will mentor female entrepreneurs as they build their businesses. Eventually, Graham and Grede will determine which of the businesses they’d like to invest in.

Side Hustlers is now streaming on the Roku Channel.

Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.