Ashley Graham hasn't "always felt confident" in her body.

Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham

The 30-year-old model - who was the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2016 - has admitted she hasn't always felt happy about her appearance and her body shape, but she has encouraged people who are not so positive to strip down, embrace the areas they dislike about themselves and find their inner role model.

Speaking on ITV's 'Lorraine' on Thursday (02.11.17), the brunette beauty said: "I haven't always felt comfortable in my body wither. And I would look at her [someone uncomfortable in their body] and say 'It's just a moment in your life, and if you want change, it's not a pill that you take, it's not a boyfriend that changes your mind, it's not a family member. It's you.' And I always tell women to get down to your bra and panties and look yourself in the mirror and say ' I love you back fat, you are my best friend. Thighs you are so sexy you can't stop rubbing against each other.' Start talking about the things you don't really love and suddenly your mind changes and you're the one that has to do it. Confidence is in there you just have to find a role model within you.

"I always tell myself 'I am bold, I am brilliant, I am beautiful, and I can have and do whatever I want.' And to have power changed my career. It changed my life."

But the star - who is married to Justin Ervin - thinks it is "awful" curvier women are put into the plus-size category, even though it is the "average size" of a woman in America.

She said: "The average size of the American woman is my size, so to call us 'the average' but to then place us into the category of plus size is kind of awful."

Ashley graced the runway for Prabal Gurung and Michael Kors during Fashion Week earlier this year, and the style icon is honoured the designers have "brought back curvy women" in the fashion industry.

She said: "This last season I walked in Prabal [Gurung] and Michael Kors' show and it was an incredible honour. And I am so glad both Prabal and Michael brought back curvy women into their show. It wasn't just this tokenism of having us in February, they brought us back in September and said 'we are praising women with curves and all shapes and sizes'.

"I have been doing this for 17 years, and never in my life have I seen more curvy models on the cover of magazines, on television, their careers flying, more actresses on the heavier side and being praised for it. We are not just the big, funny girl. We are finally being looked at as a sex symbol. I think that is really where you are saying that it is becoming normal."

However, Ashley has admitted breaking into the business hasn't been easy and she was often told she would "never" make it as a model because her size was not the "norm".

She explained: "It hasn't [been easy]. And i have a lot of people tell 'You're not going to make it. You're fat. You're never going to accomplish all of the things you want to accomplish because of your size because this is not the norm in fashion and this is not the norm in media.' And to have just overcome so much and just be able to tell young girls that you're enough no matter how much back fat or belly rolls you have, it doesn't matter."


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