Fashion Focus is a series of interviews with fashion industry professionals and insiders. In the latest installment, published on Fashion Focus Nashville, we were able to get an exclusive interview with Ashley Graham.
In the wide ranging conversation she discusses her career, what it was like working at H&M, plus talks about how she deals with being one of only four plus-sized models in the modeling world. Find out more information about this event on Fashion focus 2016 nashville‘s Facebook page.
1. Ashley Wears H&M’s Bubble-Gum Color
Ashley Graham works for one of the largest names in fashion, and even though she still has to defend her size in front of the entourage crew, her work is spectacular. In fact, Ashley once told us that she actually hates working with big brands because she would like to be able to walk out of their doors with a smile on her face and not feel as if he has been objectified.
2. She Says This is One of the Best Years for Models
You may remember Ashley last year when she took on a very public battle with the world’s biggest modeling agency, IMG models (formerly known as Elite). The cause was being paid less than her male co-star and turned down a multimillion dollar offer from them once she found out how much he was being offered.
3. A Model Has to Learn How to Deal with the Antics of Other Models
During her time as a model, she has traveled the world and found that when she’s traveling with other models, they are very competitive and don’t get along very well with one another. In fact, she has learned how to deal with the antics of other models.
4. She Has a Love-Hate Relationship With Fashion Week
Graham admits that it’s tough for her to be around fashion week because she has a sort of love-hate relationship with it. Being a plus size model is a tough gig, but in order for her career to flourish, she needs the kind of exposure that fashion week provides her.
5. Ashley Graham Has a Love For Fashion
When you meet Ashley Graham for the first time, she’s very humble and sweet and is glad that she’s gotten to the point in her career where people will pay attention to what she has to say. However, don’t let her soft side fool you because this girl has a love for fashion that is hard to find in people who are just getting started in their industry. She loves fashion and all of the designers that make it happen.
6. She Doesn’t Like To Talk About Work
When we first met Ashley Graham, she was very tired after a long product show in New York. However, when she started talking about her career and the experience of being a plus size model, she realized that while many people expected her to be very bored with it all, she really enjoyed working in the fashion industry. She just doesn’t like to talk about it too much.
7. Ashley Wants Her Success to be about the Designer’s Success
Ashley Graham loves fashion and is super excited because it has given her so many opportunities for success in her career. However, she wants to make sure that the success of this fashion world doesn’t come at a price. In other words, she wants her success to be a reflection of the designers’ success and wants to see them rise in their industry as well.
8. She Has Some Fierce Looks in Her Closet
Despite her sweet personality and her love for the fashion industry, when Graham gets ready for events, she can go super glam and really look like one stylish lady who is out on the town in NYC. In fact, people go crazy over her looks at events.
9. She Has a Formal Education in Fashion Merchandise
Graham recently graduated with a degree in fashion merchandise and retail management. While she never envisioned herself going to school to get a degree, she realized that her love for modeling wasn’t going to last forever and wanted to have something else that would help her career flourish.
10. She’s Got Some Great Advice For Young Models Starting Out In Their Careers
We really enjoyed talking with Ashley Graham because she is so kind hearted and gives such great advice for young models starting out in their careers. For those who want to be in the industry, she suggests that they take their time and actually think about what they want to do.
11. Ashley Hates Being Compared to Other Models
While Ashley Graham has grown accustomed to being compared to other models like Kate Upton, she does find it very difficult because it’s hard for her not only because she’s a plus-sized model but because she also loves being compared to models like Kate Moss. Eventually, though, she says that you learn how to have your own thing going on with your modeling career and don’t worry about what others have done in the past.
12. Ashley’s Got Some Great Advice For Other Plus-Size Models
Ashley Graham may be one of the most prominent plus-sized models around these days, but she really hates being called a “plus sized model.” This is because she wants to work hard and be recognized for the work that she does and is more than happy to tell you that she is simply a fashion model.
13. Ashley’s Top 3 Agencies in NYC Are: Ford, IMG, and Wilhelmina Models
In order for other models to make it in our industry, Graham suggests that they join with Ford Models, IMG models (formerly known as Elite), or Wilhelmina Models. Of course, she also suggests that they try out other agencies and agents prior to joining any of these three.
14. She’s a Bookworm & We Love Her for That
Graham is a bookworm and loves to read everything from Romance novels, to chick-lit, to murder mysteries. However, she’s also got a great love for fashion and has made it her goal in life to make sure that fellow fashionistas know that plus size modeling is a thing of beauty. She feels like the world needs more plus size models and is constantly working on ways that we can get more of them in our industry.
15. Ashley Graham’s Current Favorite Book is: “She’s Come Undone”
We had the pleasure of speaking with her and we asked what her favorite book was that she had read lately and to our surprise, it was a biography of the woman who many consider to be the first plus-sized model. Her name is Bertha Remington (1825-1904) and she has become an inspiration for all of those in our industry who want to live a similar type of life. Called “She’s Come Undone” by Betty Boyd, the book tells Bertha’s story and how she grew up poor and how she worked hard for all of her success.