Model Ashley Graham became one of the most sought-after models on the planet after being the first "plus-size" model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but during a recent interview, Graham explained how much she hated the term and revealed she finds the term "divisive."
During a recent interview with the Associated Press to promote her new book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty & Power Really Look Like, Graham pondered, "Does any woman really just come in and say, 'I'm a plus-size woman'?"
She added, "Maybe as a defense mechanism or maybe as a way to kind of cope with fitting into society but...I just think it's divisive."
Following her cover model gig with Sports Illustrated, Graham has landed gigs on America's Next Top Model, Vogue, and has promoted Swimsuitsforall, a clothing line aimed at creating affordable clothing for women of all shapes and sizes at an affordable price.
Reducing women to a size, however, Graham says "isn't really getting us any farther in life."
Despite frustrations, she's still happy to see the direction the fashion world is headed. "I think what's really great is the fashion industry has really said, 'You know what, we're about inclusion right now,'" She continued, "We've had the body era. We've had the waif era, now here we are in the inclusivity era and it's race, it's age, it's gender, it's size."
Strangely, Graham has been criticized for appearing to lose weight, at times, which critics find to be a hypocritical behavior.
Addressing the issues, Graham explained, "My weight is going to go up and down but, also, nobody can dictate what I'm doing." She noted, "I'm a true size 14, I'm happy with my body, nobody has dictatorship over who I am."
Despite critics and controversy, Graham is going to keep pushing her message forward.
"I'm ready to come out with a line of clothes that's affordable, that's for all sizes. The beauty of being a curvier girl is that we're all shaped so differently," Graham revealed."But it's sad because I really think there's a lot of designers who do go up to a size 22, 24 but buyers are not buying them because they don't think we're gonna come in and buy it."
Graham confessed, "So, it's a vicious cycle, and I don't know where it starts and stops ... all I know is I'm talking about it and there are some designers who have been very open."
[H/T Daily Mail, Photo Credit: Raymond Hall / Getty]