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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 February 2019

Why model Ashley Graham tries to celebrate her body every single day

However, even the body-positive activist has off days, she reveals exclusively during trip to Dubai

Ashley Graham is in Dubai this week. Getty Images for Lifetime
Ashley Graham is in Dubai this week. Getty Images for Lifetime

Ashley Graham may have body confidence “pretty much down pat at this moment in time”, but even she has off days.

“Yes, there are bad days, but I think that’s just being a woman," the American model told The National in an exclusive interview yesterday. "Sometimes you roll out of bed and you don’t want to wear a body-con dress, because you don’t feel your best. We all have these celebrations of our bodies and we all share the same bad days as well."

And there's nothing wrong with that, the body-positive activist adds. "It doesn’t mean that I don’t like my body or I wish I had a different body; it means that today is just not the best day," Graham says.

“I try to celebrate my body every day – it is kind of hard not to when I’m talking about it every day. But what has really helped me get out of my bad day ruts, is to be able to tell my story and to know that my story has changed the lives of so many other young women. And that I’m not alone, and they are not alone; there’s a community.”

The model is currently in Dubai launching a capsule collection that she has created in collaboration with Italian brand Marina Rinaldi. The collection consists of denim jeans, dresses, skirts and jackets, as well as the space-age silver jacket that Graham is wearing when we meet.

Ashley Graham in a silver jacket that she has designed for Marina Rinaldi. Courtesy Marina Rinaldi
Ashley Graham in a silver jacket that she has designed for Marina Rinaldi. Courtesy Marina Rinaldi

Finding denim that fits properly is a particular challenge for curvy women, Graham acknowledges. “It sucks,” she says, before breaking into her trademark throaty laugh.

“When Marina Rinaldi approached me to do a collaboration, I immediately said, 'we have to make it young and we have to make it cool', because Marina Rinaldi has really been known for an older customer. So I came in and was able to do my own young, fun twist on it, and make it a bit sexy and very contemporary. I wanted to start with denim because it’s young but it’s also hard to fit. And for me, fit is key. So this denim has stretch, and is custom-made in Italy.”

Graham is a strong believer that anybody can wear anything, regardless of their shape or size. You just have to own it, she says. “Being a curvy girl, you’ve always been told what you can and can’t wear but I think, now, there are no rules and no limitations. As long as you are comfortable, that’s all that matters. Own it.”

The model has spent the last couple of days in Dubai, on her first proper trip to the UAE - she had previously only spent 15 hours here on a layover. “I got on a tour bus with my husband; we were those people. So this is my first extended time here and it’s been really nice.”

She has been posting pictures of her experience on Instagram, and asking her followers for suggestions on where to go and what to do. “It’s no secret I’m loving my trip to Dubai!” she posted last night.

Updated: January 30, 2019 02:18 PM

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