Ashley Graham Reveals Impact of Faith on Modeling Career

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(Photo: Instagram/ Ashley Graham)Ashley Graham was the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue in 2016.

People may recognize Ashley Graham for her lingerie or swimsuit photo spreads, but the plus size model is revealing that her Christian faith does shape her career decisions.

Graham serves as the cover girl in Elle UK magazine's November issue where she opens up about her Christian faith. When asked if her faith impacts her career choices, the model revealed that her pastor follows her on social media.

"When I'm shooting lingerie or Sports Illustrated, I'm aware that my pastor follows me on Instagram," the 29-year-old model said. "You should be the same person from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed."

Originally from Nebraska, Graham admitted to falling away from her faith at one point after she moved to New York to pursue her modeling career at just 17. However, she soon found her way back to God.

"I come from a Christian background, and when I moved to New York, I got away from God," she said. "Then I realized that living here, you need something to keep you grounded or you'll go crazy."

Graham has subtly shared her faith for some time on social media. Instead of simply sharing a standard "Merry Christmas" message on Twitter in 2012, the model focused on Christ by tweeting, "Happy Birthday Jesus! #Christmas."

In 2010, she married a Christian cinematographer named Justin Ervin, whom she met at church. While she had to initially overcome some awkward racial moments with her family accepting her relationship with a black man, her husband eventually won them over.

Graham previously told People that while they may have been raised differently, the pair share a commonality in their Christian faith.

"We come from different backgrounds, but we have the same viewpoints on religion and family," she said.

Earlier this year, Graham released a book called  A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like. In an excerpt posted on Glamour, Graham detailed the moment she met her husband in church.

"One Sunday my volunteer position was to stand in the elevator welcoming people, passing out candy and pushing the button to the eighth floor. When two tall men walked in, I didn't bat an eye," she recalled. "One nudged the other and said, 'If you don't talk to her, I will.' His friend left the elevator, but he stayed on."

While Graham said Ervin's "nerd factor" wasn't her type, she decided to give him a chance.

"... There was something sweet about Justin, and I was at church, so I had to be polite. He rode up and down with me a few times, and he seemed to be looking into my soul when we talked," she wrote. "He was smart and funny and had traveled the world. So I agreed to go out for coffee."