Ashley Graham, known for being one of the more famous plus-size models, has given a pretty candid interview about her industry experiences in New York magazine. And one of those experiences includes having to stay at home for the 2016 Met Gala because she had nothing to wear.
Graham notes that she didn’t make it to the event in 2016, part of which she attributed to the fact that her husband unfortunately hugged Anna Wintour, who we all know is a Carolina Herrera-clad humanoid cyborg who will never die and certainly never hugs.
Graham actually had been “on hold” (a prelude to an invitation) for the Met Gala the year before but ended up staying home. “I couldn’t get a designer to dress me,” she says. “You can’t just show up in jeans and a T-shirt.” She insists it’s just because she didn’t have the right designer relationships and there hadn’t been enough time to get a custom gown (at the time she was convinced it was because her husband made the faux pas of hugging Anna Wintour not long before the gala), but likely a factor was that Graham is well out of sample-size range.
Considering Graham did attend the gala this year in a custom H&M gown, perhaps the hug wasn’t the culprit.
Elsewhere Graham talks about how she was basically kept in the shadows at her agency Ford, which closed its plus-size department in 2013. There, she had an agent who insisted that Graham, who would go on to grace Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Cosmo and more, just wasn’t a cover girl. He also did not push her for editorials and told Graham to stay positive in every interview she did even after she felt it was unfair that TV stations censored her Lane Bryant ad for being “too sexy.”
But even though she now has a memoir, a lingerie line with Addition Elle, and a new agency in IMG, Graham still has to put up with bullshit from designers who have actually refused to dress her. It’s why, often, you see plus-size models in magazines who are wearing lingerie, vintage clothing, or are just naked (including a few photos in this exact spread for Graham’s interview) because the magazine cannot get actual designer clothes that aren’t sample sizes.
But Graham even gets shit from her own fans who call her a “fake fat person” when she does lose any weight (or, at least, appears to have lost weight.) And it’s clear that the “body activist” label Graham gets saddled with, which stresses that her size is what makes her famous, can be tiring. “That kind of sucks, too, because it’s like, ‘Damn, my size is what makes me famous?’” she says, hoping that one day she won’t have to answer questions about her body. “This is the thing: I know I’m paving the way for the next generation of girls, and they’re not going to have to do this.”