Ashley Graham Talks Breaking Barriers With British Vogue Cover and Continuing “Mission of Beauty Beyond Size”

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Ashley Graham is proud to be changing lives by breaking beauty barriers.

The 28-year-old, 5’9″ curvy model appears on the cover of British Vogue‘s January issue, breaking a trend most fashion magazines had adopted for decades. Like its competition, all editions of Vogue have for decades shined the spotlight almost solely on women under a size 12. And not only did Graham score a cover, but the outlet also makes no mention of the two words she hates: “plus-size.”

“The most rewarding part about the honor of being British Vogue‘s January cover girl is knowing how many lives we are changing,” Graham, who also appeared on other magazine covers for the first time earlier this year, wrote in an essay posted Wednesday on the outlet’s website. 

Patrick Demarchelier

Graham says she has been “hearing from thousands of women that they don’t feel invisible anymore, that they now feel that they have gotten their seat at the table.”

“I feel even more inclined to continue my mission of beauty beyond size with the support of Vogue,” she said.

“That’s why this barrier-breaking cover means so much to me,” Graham continued. “Not just because I get to see myself gracing this British Vogue cover, but for all the women who have heard ‘no’ all of their life. This is a triumph for us all, and a beautiful demonstration of how we used our voices to create change, because loving ourselves at every size and shape is not a crime, it’s a right.”

Graham’s British Vogue cover was not without controversy. Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman said earlier this month some designers “flatly refused” to dress the model for the shoot. 

“This past year has been a whirlwind of wins—I’ve continued to make strides in championing beautiful curvy women and I now have my own Barbie that is measured to my own standard of perfection,” Graham wrote in British Vogue. “I’ve been confident enough to speak up and show out for the curvy girls of the world, and I encourage more women to do so as well—to own your bodies unapologetically.”

“We’ve set the tone for 2017,” she said. “We have more work to do, but we’ve declared that thick or thin, beauty beyond size is our future.”

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