Ashley Graham was left in tears after she directed four women who are insecure about their bodies in their first lingerie photoshoot.
The model helped each of the women feel confident on set, so they felt able to remove their robes and star in some stunning photos.
Graham was brought to tears after hearing each of the women’s stories, saying they were proof body positivity is more than a “trend”.
“I did not think I was going to cry today, there’s an emotion just rushing through me,” she said, her voice breaking.
“People think that body image and the body revolution is just a fad but it’s not. It goes from big girls to little girls. It goes from Spanish girls to black girls. It goes from white girls to young girls. It’s everybody in between.
“If we keep having this conversation, if we keep talking about the things that society has said are ‘ugly’ and the things we don’t see in media, that is what is going to change. That’s how we make a statement and rule out all the things that are here right now and make a new normal.”
Graham met the four women at the start of the shoot – Karolena, Anastasia, Alyssa and Kaitlyn – and listened as each of them spoke about their relationship with their body.
At the start of the shoot, the model revealed she feels insecure about her “side butt”, so she pulled up her underwear as high as possible to put the area on show and help the other women feel at ease.
“What I had to get used to [about being photographed] was having people point out to me what didn’t look good, because I didn’t notice certain things until people pointed them out to me,” she said.
“Loving who you are but then having someone say ‘we need to retouch that’, that is what’s wrong with society. We’re not seeing or talking about insecurities that women go through, but we’re shining a light on perfection.”
Graham was particularly moved after meeting Alyssa, a woman who is recovering from an eating disorder .
Alyssa said: “I still hate a lot of parts of my body. When I was the most anorexic it was 10 years ago, but the way I see myself doesn’t really go away.”
Thanks to Graham’s encouragement, by the end of the shoot Alyssa was dancing around on set, visibly more relaxed.
She said she usually hates seeing pictures of herself, but she felt surprisingly happy with the end product.
It was enough to bring Graham to tears.
“I’m about to cry because I’m looking at you and I’m thinking about all the young girls out there who’ll say ‘if she can do it, I can do it’,” Graham said.
“So thank you.”
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