The first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
"Ashley Graham is an American Plus-size model. She has appeared on the cover of fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, and Elle. In addition, she appeared in several Levi's campaigns. Graham has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Entertainment Tonight, and CBS News and was interviewed by NPR about plus-size modeling.
In 2001, Graham signed a deal with Wilhelmina Models, after attending a model convention. In 2003, she signed a deal with Ford Models. During her early career, Graham appeared in YM magazine. In April 2007, she was profiled by Sally Singer of Vogue magazine and then appeared on the October 2009 issue of Glamour editorial 'These Bodies are Beautiful at Every Size,' along with plus-size models; including Kate Dillon Levin, Amy Lemons, Lizzie Miller, Crystal Renn, Jennie Runk and Anansa Sims. In 2010, Graham appeared in a controversial Lane Bryant TV commercial. The commercial received over 800,000 views on YouTube and was covered by news outlets such as The Huffington Post and the New York Post. On May 31, 2010, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, to address the controversy.
In December 2010, Graham also appeared in an editorial for Bust magazine. Graham appeared in several Levi's campaigns, notably Curve ID SS 2011 with Sabina Karlsson, Ana Lisboa, Marquita Pring and McKenzie Raley, and Boyfriend Collection F/W 10 with Rachel Clark, Ana Lisboa, Anais Mali, Marquita Pring and Ashley Smith. Graham has appeared in several Marina Rinaldi campaigns: Spring/Summer 2012, Fall/Winter 2012 denim, and Fall/Winter 2012 sport. The other clients includes Addition Elle, Bloomingdale's, Elomi lingerie, Evans, Hanes, Liz Claiborne Macy's, Nordstrom, Simply Be and Target. In December 2012, Graham was featured two of the Billboards at New York for Lane Bryant. At the end of that year, Graham was named the Full Figured Fashion Week's Model of the Year.
In 2013, Graham designed a lingerie line for Addition Elle, a Canadian plus-size clothing retailer. Graham also appeared on MTV's Made, as a coach for an aspiring plus-size model. Graham appeared on the May 2014 issue for international's Harper's Bazaar pre-fall collection and beauty editorial. Graham was the cover model on the June 2014 issue of Elle Quebec. In 2015, swimsuitsforall, a plus-size retailer for women's swimsuits, featured Graham in an advertisement in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue. The ad was part of swimsuitsforall's #CurvesInBikinis campaign in which Graham was one of the first plus-size models to appear in the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In 2016, she became the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She was also featured in DNCE's music video for "Toothbrush".
Graham has spoken at high schools about body image and body acceptance. She has participated in humanitarian missions in South Africa with the Themba Foundation. Graham is a proponent of the Health at Every Size movement. Graham gave a TED Talk advocating for self-acceptance with regards to body images. She also explains why one shouldn't refer to her (and others) as "Plus -Sized" Models, as it separates them from other models. She is an advocate for a confident self-image, more information about this body-positive attitude can be found at Clio Visualizing History's Click! The Ongoing Feminist Revolution." (1)