EXCLUSIVE ‘I didn’t have anyone to look up to who looked like me’: Ashley Graham says she’s ‘honoured’ to be a role model and admits being a working mum is ‘hard but so worth it’
Ashley Graham has said that she feels ‘honoured’ to be a role model after not having anyone who ‘looked like her to look up to’ when she was younger.
The model, 33, explained how being an ‘inspiration’ for many also encourages her to keep ‘pushing for change’ and more ‘inclusivity’ in the fashion industry.
And as well as reflecting on her 20-year career, the mother-of-one also candidly admitted that although being a working mother can be ‘hard it’s so worth it’.
Speaking ahead of Pandora Brilliance’s launch on Thursday, Ashley said she feels ‘honoured’ to be a role model.
The beauty gushed: ‘I’m honoured to serve as an inspiration for this new generation. When I was younger, I didn’t have anyone to look up to who looked like me.
‘That’s what inspires me to continue pushing for change. I believe everyone has the power within themselves to create infinite possibilities, but it starts with confidence.
‘When you feel confident in yourself, you can realise your own strength and use your voice to empower others.’
And as well as being a successful model, Ashley is now a doting mom to her son and detailed how becoming a mother to her baby boy Isaac has ‘brought so much joy’.
Reflecting on what she’s learnt, Ashley said: ‘I’ve learned that I can get by with much less sleep! I feel so much empathy for working parents.
‘It’s hard, but it’s so worth it! Isaac has brought our family so much joy.’
And when asked about what advice she’d give to other moms, Ashley said: ‘Honestly, I think people give expecting moms too much advice!
‘My biggest tip is that mama knows best — no one knows your baby as well as you do, so make the choices that are best for you and your family.’
Ashley and her husband Justin Ervin, who married in 2010, welcomed their little boy in January 2020 and have often been candid about raising him amid the pandemic.
Ashley also reflected on how the fashion industry has changed over the years and some of the biggest moments of her career so far.
She said: ‘The fashion industry has truly transformed since I first started out 20+ years ago. Looking back, I’m proud of how much the industry has changed, even if there is still a way to go.
‘There have been so many [transformative moments in her career]! Definitely moving to New York City when I was 17, my Sports Illustrated and Vogue covers, and of course becoming a mom last year.’
And although pleased with how things have changed, Ashley said there’s still some way to go, emphasising that everyone has a part to play in bringing around change.
The mother-of-one said: ‘It’s up to all of us to continue to fight for inclusivity and representation across all facets of the industry.
‘I also hope the future generation is able to cultivate confidence in who they are and feel empowered to own their true selves.’
Ashley is now working with Pandora and the launch of their new Brilliance collection which I made of sustainably lab-created diamonds.
Ashley said sustainability is important to her, saying: ‘Making sustainable jewellery and fashion choices is such a simple, yet important way, we can all make a positive difference. We all have a responsibility to help build a better future.
‘When people wear Pandora Brilliance, I hope they feel inspired and realise that we all have the power to transform our lives and build a brighter future together.’