Although she’s now a champion of body positivity, confidence didn’t always come easily to Ashley Graham. In the new issue of V Magazine, the supermodel talked about how she achieved her current sky-high levels of self-confidence—and it has a lot to do with her mom.
Graham said her mom encouraged her to love her body from an early age. One example: When she was in middle school, the now-supermodel first noticed her cellulite—and hated it. “I remember telling my mom, ‘Isn’t it disgusting? It’s so ugly,'” she said. Her mom’s perfect response: “She pulled her pants down and said, ‘Look, I have it, too.’ And I was like, ‘Gasp!’ She looked at me, then at it, and just rolled her eyes. She didn’t tell me that it’s beautiful or ugly. She just made it a nonissue. It doesn’t define my worth.”
Graham said her mom also encouraged her when she felt like giving up her modeling career. When she moved to New York to break into the fashion industry, she faced a wave of criticism about her appearance—”[I was] told, “You’re fat,” “You’re ugly” or “You’re just not good enough”—and it hurt her confidence. But her mom kept her motivated:
“I was disgusted with myself and told my mom I was coming home. And she told me, ‘No, you’re not, because you told me that this was what you wanted and I know you’re supposed to do this. It doesn’t matter what you think about your body, because your body is supposed to change somebody’s life,'” she told the mag. “To this day that sticks with me because I’m here today and I feel that it’s okay to have cellulite.”
It’s no surprise Graham told the mag that she counts her mom as one of her role models—the woman sounds incredible!
Graham said the key to maintaining the confidence her mom instilled in her is simply reminding herself of her best qualities on a daily basis. “Words have power,” she said. “If you say, ‘I’m fat,’ that’s how you’re going to feel. If you say, ‘I’m stupid,’ that’s how you’re going to start your day. I wake up sometimes, and I feel like the fattest person alive, but I’m not going to let that affect the rest of my day. Say to yourself, ‘I like this day. I am bold, I am beautiful, and I am brilliant.’ For me, that hits the interior, the exterior, and it makes me feel smart.”
BRB—writing that quote on a sticky note to remember forever.
h/t V Magazine
Watch: How Practicing Yoga Helped Jessamyn Stanley Love Her Body