Plus size model Ashley Graham says her Christian faith has helped her throughout her modeling career.
Graham is one of the most sought-after models in the fashion industry and although some of her work would be considered over sexualized she candidly told Harper’s Bazaar UK that her Christian upbringing continues to impact her personal and professional decisions.
“My faith has given me the strength to say ‘no.’ If I’m not comfortable, or if something doesn’t align with my mission, then I’m not participating. My faith is my balance,” the 31 year old Nebraska native said.
The model, who's been married for nine years, said she and her husband always pray together.
“My husband and I like to pray together because in the Bible it talks about when two or more are gathered, God is in the midst. Whatever your higher power or beliefs, I think it’s important to have that quiet moment of reflection,” she said.
In the interview, Graham also pitched a request to attend Kanye West's exclusive invite-only Sunday Service.
“And if anyone can get me into Kanye West’s Sunday Service, I’ll be on the plane to LA,” added the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl. “I need to go have some worship.”
Graham gave the outlet further insight into her Christian upbringing and how it's motivating her to change the modeling industry, adding, “Growing up in a Christian household, I was constantly questioning what my purpose in life was. I believe it’s changing the fashion industry.”
The plus size model emphasized that she has her share of insecurities and that’s something she's very transparent about.
“I’ve always been very honest in sharing the insecurities I have,” Graham maintained. “Cellulite, back fat. … It opened a door for other women to share their insecurities. If we all feel the same way, why are we stressing about it? I’ve never gone to therapy but having these conversations really does help.”
“[But] when I look in the mirror now, I see a fearless woman,” she added. “I see a leader. I see a bold, hard-working woman ... I also see an intelligent woman who doesn’t let insecurities or challenges hold her back. ..."
Graham moved to New York City at age 17 to pursue a career in modeling. After facing a lot of rejection, it was her mother’s words that kept her going.
“She said: ‘You have to fight through this,’” Graham recalled her mother telling her during that difficult season in her life. “Thank God I listened to her."
In her career, Graham has become a role model for body positivity and is one of the most successful supermodel's in America.