Book Review: “A New Model” by Ashley Graham

Like most of us, I heard about Ashley Graham after she hit it big as one of the cover models for Sports Illustrated magazine. Although I don’t personally read the magazine, I fully understood the significance of having Ashley on the cover having seen past models for the magazine. The inclusion of Ashley meant the start of acceptance of different body types for women so I wanted to learn more about Ashley and her career.

What I didn’t expect when I picked up “A New Model” was to learn so much about Ashley’s personal journey to find peace and acceptance about her own body image. I really loved that she was so candid about who she was when she started her career as a teen to who she has become today.

Ashley takes a no holds barred approach when diving into the truths about the fashion industry for plus-sized models. Writing about walking away from people who didn’t believe in her being anything more than a catalog model because of her appearance. “Too fat, too thin, too loud, too quiet, I was never going to fit the standards others created for me. Instead of complying I protested,” she wrote.

She wrote freely about a lack of relationship between her and her father and how it impacted her life choices. Leading her into unhealthy relationships with men who would further tear down her self-worth. She shares how her experiences have jump started her campaign for women to feel confident, beautiful and powerful:

“I decided to stand up for my beliefs when I thought about all the women in this world who get ridiculed for posting confident photos of themselves. When a woman feels beautiful and someone tears her down, it’s not okay.” – Ashley Graham, author A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty & Power Really Look Like

As a reader, you can tell her writing is steeped in honest life experience as you read about her issues with finding motivation to exercise for the good of her health not just her career. Plus she shares her battle with food, yo-yo dieting and its impact on finding body peace. “The irony is that food gives me a sense of control, even though it makes me totally out of control . . . At its essence food is nourishing. There is truth to that. The trick is understanding and respecting the line where it crosses into something unhealthy,” she wrote.

There are all of these topics and more in this book that women at any stage of their lives can relate to in some way. I personally found “A New Model” to be a refreshing take on the fashion industry and an insightful self-reflection.

Ashley Graham is a renowned model and a leader in the body positive movement you can learn more about her work on her website. You can also watch her TEDx Talk here.

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