In November 2018, during the Vogue Fashion Festival in Paris, Ashley Graham gave us the secret of her remarkable career and her dazzling success in a universe that wants to put thinness on a pedestal.
Of all fashion history, Ashley is the first model plus-size to have achieved such notoriety. She is the first plus-size model to have made the cover of a sports magazine. And that says a lot about the influence it has on the fashion industry.
She lived in New York from age 17 to 21 and grew up influenced by the world of fashion. Now she is 31 years old, and if she is all confident and charismatic, this was not always the case. Indeed, she has not always had an easy life. When she was 19 years old, after another complicated day, she almost gave up everything. Yet, it was a hard blow that made her stronger and gave a new turning point to her career. She just had lost all confidence and it was her mother who convinced her not to give up, reminding her that of her vision of her body could change lives. It has now become her daily fight to promote the “body positive’ mindset.
Ashley is well supported and surrounded by her loved ones, and when you decide to become a model, this is very important to your success. Because, in pursuing this job, you are not immune to hard knocks and self-esteem issues, it is easy to lose that confidence when every day we compete with others, who always seem to have something more, something we do not have.
Ashley went beyond that by choosing to take charge of her career. She decided that she was certainly not going to submit to the diktats of fashion. And still today she maintains this same state of mind; she uses positive affirmation to forge a steel mind and stay on top. That is to say that every day in front of the mirror, she says to herself “I am bold, I am brilliant, I am beautiful”
The fashion industry is in turmoil, and Ashley Graham understands that. There is more tolerance and more inclusion in the sector. It is obvious, nevertheless, everything is not as perfect and the change is not taking place or has not yet taken place everywhere. The pace of change is slow.
A change made possible thanks to a model’s influence.
In order to comply with this positive change, Ashley has accepted being considered as a “plus-size” model even though she prefers to refer to herself as ‘curvy’. Ultimately, she wants the end of this categorization all together. No more skinny models on one side and larger models on the other. Everyone can be beautiful, so change must also happen at the level of the models themselves, who can influence the industry by simply being who they are.
The fashion and luxury industry is slowly adapting to change. For example, Michael Kors and Dolce & Gabbana now include more “plus size” models in their shows than others who have not yet embraced the movement.
But we are not there yet, especially since the industry has rules and issues firmly rooted in this environment. For example, it is difficult for people who are overweight to find clothes that fit their size, especially in major brand stores. Because, even if these brands have the corresponding sizes in stock, they do not promote them by fear of tarnishing their image. Furthermore, we do not see curvy models on the runways of these brands either. In a certain way, showing only skinny models, is a way of saying that the clothes of the brand in question are reserved exclusively for a certain type of morphology.
With the ubiquity of social networks, it is easier for models to share their opinions, Like Ashley who has more than 8.2 million followers on Instagram.
According to her, the body-positivity movement is the new norm. Social networks can have a big impact on the evolution of the industry, especially to help people to accept their appearance. For tomorrow, the fashion and luxury industry is today more tolerant, so that we see models of all sizes scroll and make the magazine and consequently we stop comparing ourselves to unrealistic canons of beauty, and that we accept ourselves as we are.
If it is the glory and the money that you seek by becoming a model, there is a good chance that you will be disappointed. Becoming a model is not given to everyone. It’s easy to misunderstand the craft when you only see sequins and gloss. Modeling requires sacrifice, effort and hard work. Yes, there are some models who are rich and well known, but for the vast majority, this is not the case.
The downside of modeling is also the feeling of frustration that we experience when we have not won a contract, because for one reason or another, in the face of stiff competition, we underestimate ourselves, etc. Being a model is also having a strong mind in order to deal with some things that may be irritating such as being retouched. Financially, it’s not always easy either.
Having said that, being a model in the advertising industry is maybe less glamorous, but it can be more profitable because the buyout fees or the full in perpetuity rights for the image for each broadcast can be quite high.
In the end, if you want to be a model, do it for yourself, persevere and learn about the industry. Elytiz supports change and wants to give voice to the model, so that tomorrow’s fashion world fits into the with the principles of equity and equality.