Ashley Graham's mother urged her not to give up on a career in the fashion industry.

Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham

The 29-year-old model has admitted she felt despondent about her future as a catwalk icon when she was younger and was close to giving up her dreams until her parent stopped her and told her the fashion industry "needs" her.

Speaking to ET Online about her career, the brunette beauty - who signed to Wilhelmina Models in 2001 -said: "Everything was about exterior, everything was about weight for me.

"I really had to step back and say, 'OK, am I looking for love through sex? Am I looking for love through food? Am I looking for love through the affirmation of fashion people who don't understand my body?'. I had to really have, like, a come to Jesus moment.

"I said, 'I can't do it anymore, I'm coming home. This is it,' and she said, 'No, no, you're not coming home. Your body is going to change someone's life and New York needs you. The fashion industry needs you,' and I stayed."

And not only has the 'A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like' author's mother encouraged her to continue with her profession at the helm of the fashion business, but she has also inspired Ashley to have a strong work ethic and to be an independent woman as her father was "absent" as she was growing up.

Ashley - who is married to Justin Ervin - explained: "My mom is the product of two farmers, and she had to really work hard. So she grew up with work ethic and determination and drive, and [the idea that] when you start something, you finish it. So that's how she raised me and my sisters.

"When you're a product of something, you have to say, 'OK, I'm going to learn from their mistakes and I'm going to take also the good with me.'"