Hey curvy girls all over the world,
Friend to the blog Ashley Graham lands another mainstream magazine cover. The brunette bombshell graces the cover of NY Magazines fashion issue. For the cover, Graham is covered in leopard print. She rocks a leopard fur coat, bustier, and shorts from Dolce & Gabbana. In the fashion issue, Ashley slays all her photos. However, what really caught my attention was what she said in an interview featured on The Cut. Ashley Graham acknowledges that white privilege is one of the reasons she gets the opportunities that other curvy models of color don’t get.
In an interview with Jada Yuan for NYMag, Ashley had this to say, “I know I’m on this pedestal because of white privilege,” she says. “To not see black or Latina women as famous in my industry is crazy! I have to talk about it. I want to give those women kudos because they are the ones who paved the way for me.”
Not many people like to admit that white privilege very much exists, especially when it comes to the fashion world. White curvy plus size models are often praised more when there are countless curvy black plus size models who have been in this fashion game for years. Ever since Ashley covered the Sports Illustrated issue back in 2016, she has become a true star. From being a judge on America’s Next Top Model to being a correspondent for Miss USA, Ashley is just about the only name on anyone’s lips when it comes to curvy models.
As a black woman, I’ve always wondered why is she the only one. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love me some Ashley Graham. However, models like Liris Cross, Precious Lee, and Marquita Pring, should be receiving the same opportunities as Ashley Graham. The plus size modeling industry has become white washed and very few people are talking about it.
When it comes to models above a size 14, the names and faces you always see are Candice Huffine, Hunter McGrady, Robin Lawley, and Tara Lynn. Within the past year, you may see a sprinkle of black models. Let me be real. You will only see one or two black models and maybe one Latina model. The most common black curvy models you see are Philemeno Kwao and Precious Lee. As for Latina models, you frequently see Denise Bidot. Just a handful of plus size models of color is not nearly enough. It is also not a true representation of the countless black and Latina models that are out there willing and ready to work.
This isn’t only happening with curvy models. Black straight size models have the same plight. The best way to try to change the white privilege narrative when it comes to curvy plus size models and just models in general, is to start holding companies and brands who only use white models accountable. Don’t just use one model of color and say your brand is diverse.
One thing you can’t take away from Ashley Graham is that she has taken the baton from those who opened doors for her and she’s running with it. Ashley is now opening doors for a new generation of models with meat on their bones. She’s turning into a business mogul with lingerie and swimwear lines. She’s adding more television to her resume. The next door she’ll probably be kicking through is beauty. My hope is that more women of color can be offered the same opportunities.
Read Ashley’s full interview on The Cut