We all know and love Ashley Graham, the inspiring AF plus size model who proves that beauty has no particular shape or size. She recently spoke at Glamour’s International Day of the Girl and talked about why being yourself is the best thing that you can do. And, yes, it’s exactly as amazing and motivational as it sounds.
Her speech, which was broadcast on Facebook, is equal parts hilarious and deep. She starts off by telling a teenage love story about a “bad boy” named Craig who she went out with when she was sixteen. What happened to her has happened to a lot of us—she got dumped because she wouldn’t sleep with him (groan) — but the second part of the break-up was uniquely harsh. She continues, “He said I was going to be as fat as his mom.”
What’s her advice all these years later? If she could time travel and chat with her teen girl self, she would say, “Ashley, first of all, Craig is a loser. Second of all, you is fine.” And in the best part of her speech, she says that the “bulge on her hip” that he hated is not only okay, but it’s “going to change the world someday.” Isn’t that just the best thing that you’ve ever heard?! She definitely doesn’t look like the “traditional” or “typical” version of a model, which is exactly why she’s so fantastic and why she has come so far in her career. She has literally changed what we think a model should look like. Just let that sink for a moment. Yeah, it’s insanely cool.
If you’ve ever been dumped for a similarly stupid reason, if you’ve ever felt like your body didn’t match the ones that you see in the pages of a magazine, if you’ve ever thought that you were different —Ashley Graham wants you to know that you are truly awesome. As she says in this epic speech, “You guys are the key to your own happiness. Because I thought I could get happiness from guys like Craig.” She chats about believing that dating guys was the only path to loving herself and how that’s not the right way to go. Been there, right? She also says that your differences are your “superpowers” and “Being okay with who you are is a revolutionary act.” Even though it’s 2017, it’s definitely tough to stand proud and be cool with yourself, despite how much you want to. Isn’t it super comforting to hear from someone as confident as Ashley Graham that even she dated jerks and felt like she wasn’t good enough?
Ashley’s story has a happy ending, of course. She’s a famous model, she gets to talk about super important topics, and she’s also married to a great guy who knew her “worth” as she says. And she did it all on her terms, with her gorgeous curvy body, and without changing who she is to make someone else happy. There were people who said she couldn’t possibly be a model. What did she do? She proved them wrong. So wrong.
It’s no secret that it’s a bit of a rough time these days. Just spending two seconds on social media proves that, whether you’re reading the latest bad news story or seeing a Facebook friend saying “me too.” The next time that you need a pick-me-up and to remember how amazing you are, watch Ashley Graham’s speech. Remember her words. Because she knows that she’s enough and that she always has to be herself, and if you listen to her and take her words to heart, then you can believe it about yourself, too.