Graham, who was the first plus-size model to grace the pages of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, gave this incredible TED talk titled “Plus Size? More Like My Size” that began with a pep talk to herself in a full-length mirror.
“You are bold, you are brilliant and you are beautiful,” she told herself. “There is no other woman like you. You are capable. Back fat? I see you popping over my bra today, but that’s all right, I’m going to choose to love you. And thick thighs? You are just so sexy you can’t stop rubbing each other. That’s all right. I’m going to keep you.”
“And cellulite,” she continued, “I have not forgotten about you. I’m going to choose to love you even though you want to take over my whole bottom half. You’re a part of me and I love you.”
Graham explained to the crowd that her words are her way of taking control back over her body — a body that others tried to label her entire life.
“My body, like my confidence, has been picked apart, manipulated and controlled by others who didn’t necessarily understand it,” she said. “Once I reclaimed ownership over my body, I discovered a greater purpose as a woman who was defying preconceived standards of feminine beauty.”
Watch Ashley Graham’s incredible TED talk:
The model, who has landed five major covers in the last year, said that her experience is easily translatable for the rest of us: Delete the word “can’t” from your vocabulary, especially when it comes to loving yourself.
“Never let anyone tell you you can’t… ” she said. “It is critical that both men and women create a body-positive environment. Uplift the important women in your lives, create a safe space for them to express their beauty and feel comfortable embracing their bodies and who they are, not hiding them because of what they’re not.”
Words to live by.