Ashley Graham Speaks on the Remarkable Impact She’s Made in the Modeling Industry

The three-time SI Swimsuit model opened up about inspiring women to embrace their bodies.
Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham.

It’s no secret that Ashley Graham has influenced the modeling industry for the better over the course of her career. The 2016 SI Swimsuit Issue cover model recently opened up to about the impact her body positivity has had on women in the real world.

Graham, who also appeared on the cover of Vogue in 2020, shared that the industry has largely changed since she started modeling 23 years ago. She stated that over the years, she’s been “preaching from the rooftops” that her body is not a fashion trend.

“I think it dawns on me the impact I’ve made in the industry when I talk to women who are either in tears or excited or just enamored of the fact that like, they just say, ‘I wish somebody looked like you when I was younger,’ or ‘Thank you for helping me through an eating disorder or a very low time in my life when you posted that photo of, you know, the side of your body with rolls or grabbing your stomach.’”

While Graham admitted that “a cover is cool” and walking a runway is “amazing,” she’s most most proud of those types of personal interactions with other women.

“These little moments I feel like that are little in my life that I’ve shared, knowing that that actually like encouraged somebody in their daily life to just be O.K. with themselves, I mean that’s when it really hits me,” Graham gushed.

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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.