A New Model By Ashley Graham: Book Review

A New Model Book Cover Courtesy of Dey Street Books

Ashley Graham

For those that don’t know, Ashley Graham is a plus size model, fashion designer, TV personality, and body positivity advocate. As the first plus size model to cover the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, she has quickly become the \”It\” girl of the plus community. Her book touches on body shaming, eating habits, abusive relationships, religion and racism, in addition to her rise to the top. I had pretty much decided what I was going to write after the third chapter until I read the postscript.

What I Noticed While Reading

Ashley Graham is aware of her privilege in many ways. For one, her body type is the more acceptable plus size. She has a flat stomach, thick thighs, and large breasts. She is more easily accepted than someone with an apple shape. I was interested to hear her take on that struggle. I too, am often told I’m not that fat or I’m not really plus size. She also is aware that her being White (and racially ambiguous) has awarded her certain opportunities. In her postscript, she mentions that her figure is commonplace in Black and Latina communities, but they often don’t get the same chances. I hope she uses her platform as a designer to include more models of color and different sizes.

In the book, Ashley often said things like “I wasn’t even fat” or “I wasn’t fat at all.” Then followed those up with “I’ve been called ‘fake fat’.” Fat is a relative term, but I got the vibe that she was almost afraid of the word. For the record, I don’t think Ashley Graham is fat. However, as body positivity advocates, we should stop placing a negative stigma on fat and plus size.While there’s more than one way to promote body positivity, it’s counterproductive to shy away from words that describe us physically. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I thought it was a good book. Ashley Graham’s energetic personality really shines through. It is a quick, easy read. The postscript was excellent. I hope this book starts a trend for other plus size, body positivity advocates. Often times our narrative is overlooked. It is absurd that even in 2017, some brands refuse to cater to plus size women. Hopefully, that will change as we continue to let our voices be heard. Once again, Ashley has blazed a trail for all plus size women. I will continue to support her, as well as any other women that strive for “Beauty Beyond Size.”

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