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Over 50 and All About that Bass? Tips for Choosing the Best Swim Suit

Meghan Trainor made the world realize that it’s “all about that bass” and with summer here, it’s time to flaunt that curvy figure in a gorgeous and fitting bathing suit. Yet no matter what your size or age, we’re constantly over analyzing our bodies, so choosing the right bathing suit can be both challenging and nerve-wracking. While there are many guides out there to help accentuate and highlight your curves, many of these are geared to a younger crowd. If you’re over 50, you not only have curves to work with, but you also need to find something age appropriate. Here is a guide to everything you need to know to choose the best swim suit for you.

Two-Piece Suits
For some of us, we like to stay covered up when choosing a swimming suit. However, covering up just calls more attention and will make you look old-fashioned. Who says curvy moms can’t wear bikinis? Nowadays, plus sized models are embracing the idea that anyone can wear a two-piece and you just simply have to find one for you. High-waisted bottoms are currently in style and provide the shaping effect of a one-piece while still embracing your curves. If you’re busty, you may want to find a top with underwire that will help lift and support. At most stores, you can mix and match tops and bottoms so you can find that perfect match.

One-Piece Suits
If you’re more comfortable in a one-piece try to find one that doesn’t cover everything up. Find a swim suit that highlights other areas. A one-piece that accentuates your breasts, will distract from your stomach. You can also find one-piece suits with built-in control panels that are invisible from the outside viewer. When you’re shopping for your one-piece, hone in on those that have adjustable features such as halter necklines, removable cups, adjustable ties, or stretchable fabric. These swimming suits will let you tailor your suit to your body and liking.

The Dos and Don’ts

• Color: You should pick sophisticated colors that match your maturity. Go for neutral colors or saturated brights. You should not wear anything flashy such as bright neon colors or metallic.
• Prints: If you’d like some interesting patterns for your swim suit, look for geometric shapes, stripes, florals, ombre, or paisley. These will keep you looking sophisticated and sharp. Do not wear anything catered for a younger crowd such as animal print or sparkles. It will make you seem like you’re trying too hard.
• Coverups: The most flattering cover-ups will consist of flowy beach pants or a long beach dress. Don’t try too hard.

More Advice?
If you’re still not sure what to buy, try checking out Instagram or fashion blogs and search for some senior fashion influencers that inspire you. Such influencers are predominantly celebrities and fashion icons in their own right who know how to pull off a look and make the most of their assets. By following the style advice of such inspiring women, you will be able to find the perfect bathing suit for you.
Remember to embrace your curves and your age. Fashion is an expression of you, so don’t try to be someone you’re not. It’s all about that bass, even over 50.

Suggested image: https://unsplash.com/search/fashion-store?photo=Y-ygHjgGP7k
Sally Writes

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Sexy Swimsuits Season Has Arrivied

SEXY SWIMSUIT

The dreaded swimsuit season is upon us! it’s that time of the year to either get fit to fit into the perfect swimsuit or find a swimsuit that compliments your Curvy body.
I am choosing the second option, I am all for finding a swimsuit that  enhances & minimizes to give the perfect fit. Ladies to win this battle, I suggest you take the time and know your shape, be clear on what you love to show & what you want to minimize on your body.

Legs should be no where on the minimizing list, if it is a sheer see through wrap with a long opening should do the trick . The # 1 concern of most curvy woman is how to minimize the tummy area. I suggest trying on a one piece swimsuit  that has a spandex lining, it should work as if the swimsuit had its own control garment. For The women with the more adventurous sexy  souls, a high waist bottom 2 piece swimsuit,  again make sure its lined, should help to minimize the tummy area.

Find a swimsuit that has beautiful summer colors, the sun reflection off bright colours helps to minimize & accentuate your figure . This swimsuit season we are proud to launch the perfect swimsuit collection for the curvy body. From one piece  suits, to high waisted 2 piece, & bright summer colours, we are sure we have the right  swimsuit for you.

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How To Pick The Perfect Dress

HOW TO PICK THE PERFECT DRESS

A dress is just a  plain simple dress until you bring it to life. A lot of women say there shopping for the perfect dress, But what does that mean?  Is there such a thing as the perfect dress just waiting on the hanger to be purchased? Absolutely not!  Any dress can be made into the perfect dress, by just adding your charisma, personal style & flare.

When getting into the mindset of looking for a dress start by asking yourself what are the things you love about your body, then find a dress that accentuates that particular part of you. Look at the type of event you are attending, ask yourself is it a casual formal, dressy occasion. Another question to ask is how do you plan on making your own unique statement.  Next, let’s consider what’s your personality like? Are you playful, adventurous, sexy,  or conservative etc?

Knowing your personality is very important,  this is how you will bring your dress to life, it is also how you will show how unique and beautiful you are. The final piece of finding the perfect dress is adding flare. This is how you will accessorize your dress and really add your personality to it, think about the color, style, type of shoe you will wear to make your outfit pop, the jewelry you will add, how eccentric or basic the jewellery piece will be.


lastly, Your hairstyle and makeup choices will complete the entire look making the perfect dress a hit & you simply outstanding.

 

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Cozy Up In Our Sweater Cardigan

The Winter Magic Sweater

Do you ever want to be fashionable, trendy, warm & cute all at the same time?   When buying a great fashionable piece this winter that’s exactly what you should be considering.
Yess! A great sweater should be all that, and more!

When looking for a sweater, look for a sweater that can be worn with almost anything not just your favorite pair of jeans. Buy a sweater that’s able to magically transform you into either a casual, dressy or a super chic dresser! This winter we are featuring our comfy, versatile adaptable sweater, it can be worn as a tunic sweater, a sweater dress, cardigan or just a fashionable duster coat.

Learning how to buy a staple piece is a great way to get the most value for your dollar. This season considers the many wears you can get out of our comfortable versatile sweater, also the many seasons you can wear it through is endless.

Lastly, think about how fashionable and on-trend you will look each time you change up or add your personality to our perfect versatile comfortable sweater.

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Hello 2017!

On behalf of the Management team and Voluptuous models, we would like to bid everyone a happy New Year! We are so excited to share all of our new adventures and upcoming fashions for 2017 with you. We wanted to start out with a blank slate to let you know how beautiful and unique you are without anything added. At Voluptuous we always observe the beautiful woman first, then we add the fashions to make her outstanding!

 

To start off our year we are introducing our Bralette & boy short set’s because we believe what’s underneath is as equally important to helping you feel incredible. Our Voluptuous models will continue to show you that we all bodies are unique & sexy.

SHOP THIS ITEM NOW!

By early spring we want to make room for the new in-between woman and how fantastic she looks in our clothing. She is just curvy & unique but does not fit into traditional sizes, we identify her as the #sexynewwoman.

Finally, we invite you to Shop our new Bralette set & start your new year off dressing sexy from underneath!

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10 Lessons in Self-Confidence From Plus-Size Models

Being heavier doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy and loving your body doesn’t mean you’re encouraging others to take up bad habits. These models are here to give our body-obsessed media a clue!

Despite all the amazing advancements in our society (the iPhone, Google glasses, stem cell research), our perception of beauty has, annoyingly not evolved with the times! In fact, it’s dwindled down to one ideal – skinny.

The widening gap between the female body seen on the street and the one seen in magazines is alarming. ​According to the National Center of Health Statistics, in 2013 the average American woman weighed 164 pounds. However, the average weight of today’s fashion models is between 108 and 125 pounds.

So there we have it – the proof is in the numbers. Curvy women ARE the norm and deserve to have positive representations in the media! Luckily, as plus-size models achieve more notoriety in fashion, they’ve showcased the many gorgeous shapes and sizes women come in (and psst – they’re healthy women too! Crazy, riiiiight?).

In an industry that privileges a specific idea of what a woman should look like, these ladies have to remain confident. Here are a few life lessons we could all learn from these models.

Lesson #1: Your character is what people fall in love with, not your hip size.

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Kate Dillon is a veteran of the modeling game and has been stomping runways for two decades now. However, behind the glamor of her early career as a 17-year-old model was an eating disorder that got so bad she had to take a break from the overly critical industry. During her hiatus, she learned to accept her healthy body, which was forty pounds heavier than her 120-pound days, and entered a new era of her modeling career.

 

Lesson #2: You have to be your biggest cheerleader

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Tiffany Bank turned heads and stereotypes when she posed with Atlanta Falcons player, Ray Edwards, in a stunning editorial for Plus Model Magazine in October 2013, but she’s got a lot more up her sleeve! Bank’s models, acts, writes, and gives lectures on positive body image. She’s absurdly gorgeous proof that women – no matter what their size – can accomplish their dreams.

 

Lesson #3: Healthy doesn’t exclusively mean skinny

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Toccara Jones didn’t win her cycle of America’s Next Top Model, but in the ten years since the third season ended, Toccara has been steadily working as an in-demand model. She received a FOURTEEN page spread in Vogue Italia in 2008, showed off her acting chops in 2011’s Think Like a Man, and was the face for the “I Will Not Lose” plus-size line campaign under Rocawear.

 

Lesson #4: Don’t surrender to disordered eating just to say you’re a size 2

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Barbara Brickner radiates elegance and confidence – qualities that won her the admiration of numerous plus-size designers and a lengthy career in fashion. She’s modeled for Eddie Bauer, Nordstrom, and Mode magazine. In 2001, the Italian clothing company, Elena Mirò, chose Brickner to model solo for that year’s calendar because the execs considered her a true representation of “twenty-first century womanhood.”

 

Lesson #5: All women deserve recognition and praise

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The upstate New York native, Marquita Pring, has been modeling with Ford Models since her early teens. She’s shot several Levi campaigns, walked the runway for Jean-Paul Gaultier, and was featured in Italian Vogue.

 

Lesson #6: There is beauty in our differences

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Whitney Thompson is a blonde bombshell and the first and only plus-sized winner of America’s Next Top Model. She earned the coveted title back in 2008 at 20-years-old and hit the ground running. Thompson has donned the cover of Plus Model Magazine, was the most recognizable face for Forever 21’s plus-size line, Faith 21, and shot a CoverGirl commercial with superstar Rihanna.

 

Lesson #7: You WILL learn to love your body

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Emme Aronson, real name Melissa, paved the way for plus-size models. She took her athletic rowing body into a groundbreaking career in modeling through the 90s. Since then she’s become an outspoken advocate for positive body image, penning a book True Beauty: Positive Attitudes and Practical Tips From the World’s Leading Plus-Size Model in 1998.

 

Lesson #8: Negative thinking will damage you more than fashion mags

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Christina Mendez has forged an inspirational career in TV and fashion. She’s posed for Glamour, Latina Magazine, and Source Magazine, as well as appearing on BET’s model search, Rip the Runway. In case you still aren’t impressed, Mendez is a mother to a son with autism and is a dedicated advocate for autism awareness. Also, she’s gorg!

 

Lesson #9: Ignore the haterz; don’t let them block your shine

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Tess Munster has endured harmful criticisms from Internet “trolls” since she started modeling professionally in 2010. She started Tweeting her hashtag “effyourbeautystandards” last year because of the “intense pressure I felt from everyone to be something/someone I’m not.” Tess has an enviable amount of talents; besides being beautiful, she’s also a make-up artist and blogger who only launches positivity into the world.

 

Lesson #10: Conformity is to lose all your power!

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Ali Tate is a newbie model; she used to play soccer and was then recently signed with Ford and Muse modeling agencies. We love her unwillingness to change herself. This woman has got a great head on her shoulders, and we can’t wait to see how far she goes!

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Loving Your Body Matters

Lets talk about   National Eating Disorder Association Awareness Week, and how it’s great to see so many people sharing openly about their experiences with their bodies and bringing so much awareness to such an important issue for women and their bodies.

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One question that often arises in the body positivity conversation is: “Why are you so focused on appearance? Isn’t it what’s on the inside that counts?”

I get why people ask this question. It seems superficial to spend so much time talking about our bodies. However, I see inner and outer beauty as inextricably linked. You have to heal one so that you can bring the focus to the other. I think most people who have had a violent relationship with their body would agree.

By “violent relationship,” I mean you’ve got a history of constantly trying to change, mutilate and tear your body apart because it doesn’t meet the standard of perfection you’re ascribing to. That describes me and most of the women that I know, even the “skinny” ones.

When you’re caught up in this violence towards your body, it drains your energy and divides your focus. Instead of waking up every day and living at full amplitude, you spend countless hours fixating on food choices, punishing yourself for failing to meet the impossible standards you’re holding yourself to, staring at your reflection and willing entire parts of yourself to disappear, and otherwise beating yourself up because of what you are or aren’t doing, and the way that you look.

I and many women I know will admit to spending thousands of dollars on diet programs, fitness classes, miracle devices and “snake oil” solutions that promise to give us the body of our dreams. We have declined social invitations, or been unable to be fully present at social events, because we’re caught up in hating our appearance. We’ve turned away jobs, suitors, friendships and opportunities because we’re ashamed of how we look. We’ve made “gym widows” of our partners and families because we HAVE to get that workout in. We’ve tortured ourselves and punished the people around us for the sake of striving to have a “perfect” body.

THAT’S a superficial existence.

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The way to heal your relationship with your body and begin cultivating the beauty of the woman within is to make a choice to embrace your body as it is (side note: if you’re someone with a history of clinical eating disorders, you probably need some outside help with this. And even if that’s not you, working with a physician or a mental health professional on this stuff is always a good idea).

Once you make the choice to transform your relationship with your body, you can begin exploring avenues for self-care such as showing your body love through movement (my self-love driven way of describing “exercise”). You free up energy to start creating goals for yourself that go beyond measuring your worth on the scale, and instead are driven by defining the woman that you want to be in all aspects of your life. You can start designing a life that is fulfilling because you’re able to share your natural talents and abilities with the world in a way that benefits everyone around you! I call this “living at full amplitude.”

Spending time taking care of yourself and affirming love for your body are NOT self-indulgent, vain pursuits. They are critical to ensuring that you don’t allow body issues to divert your efforts away from living at full amplitude. And anyone who tells you different is just being superficial!

If you’re looking for a place to receive support, inspiration and to connect with like-minded women about transforming your relationship with your body, check out the#healthyatanysize community!

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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HOW PLUS-SIZE FASHION IS TRANSFORMING THE INDUSTRY

 

plus-size-models

After countless years of the media showing curvier women like myself that we’ll never be pretty enough to be a model, full-figured women are taking matters into their own hands. The plus-size movement is gaining great momentum, and the gorgeous women behind it are crushing the unrealistic societal standards of beauty.

According to the University of Texas at Austin, the average size for women in the U.S. is between 12 and 14, so how is it that the images of beauty we are shown fall between a size 0-4? We need to call out the fashion industry on this BS, and many models are.

Jennie Runk, who was the first plus-size model to appear in H&M’s summer campaign in 2013, and Tess Holiday, the first model to land a major contract at a size 22, are helping promote body positivity on and off the catwalk.

In 2013, Denise Bidot brought much-needed diversity to a highly recognized fashion event when she strutted her stuff as the first Latina plus-size model to walk during Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. Just last year, Ashley Graham made waves on the catwalk when she led a show filled with beautiful curvy women to showcase her lingerie line at the 2015 NYFW. Throughout the show, viewers were encouraged to use the hashtag #IAmSizeSexy, helping spread body positivity into the fashion world.

What many don’t realize, however, is that this movement goes beyond just inclusion; it is teaching women that they are beautiful no matter their size. At last, the fashion world is finally beginning to catch onto this, and more women and girls of all shapes and sizes are able to see themselves reflected in campaigns they always dreamed of.

Just earlier this year, American Eagle, which has long made it their point to run un-retouched photos of women for their Aerie line, finally embraced a curvier woman: Barbie Ferreira. The size 12 model stood at the forefront of AE’s new swimsuit campaign, showcasing un-retouched photos of the unapologetically curvy beauty.

Victories such as this one serve as a great example for young girls and women across the nation, ultimately leading them to slowly embrace their own figures and join in on the change.

Just recently, 10-year-old Egypt Ufele, who was long tormented in her New York school, decided to take matters into her own hands by debuting her own all-inclusive clothing line during New York Fashion Week, putting all the bullies to shame.

This movement is a fight for equality. Models and women across the nation are even joining forces to drop the “plus-size” label. No matter what size you are, they argue, we are all women and shouldn’t be labeled differently. In 2015, Australian model Stefania Ferrairo set out to start a revolution, launching the hashtag #droptheplus. Ferrario posted various images of herself with the hashtag to help stop the alienation of curvier women and to help them embrace and love themselves as they are. The movement quickly went viral, with women all across the globe sharing pictures and stories through social media.

“’Plus’ implies bigger than ‘normal’,” Drop the Plus stated on their website. “Mixed with all the other body image pressures facing women, the implication that most women are ‘plus sized,’ not ‘normal’ is very dangerous to women and society.”

It should be noted, however, that not all full-figured women want to drop the “P” word. Many have also chosen to reclaim the term.

When it comes to body image, the fashion industry still has a long way to go. Whether women embrace “plus-size” or disassociate with it, the fight for self-love and body acceptance only continues to grow. And the catwalk better get ready, because models and women behind this movement are coming in with full force.

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Brittany Howard, Adele, Jazmine Sullivan and More Plus Size Red Carpet Magic at The Grammy Awards

I do dig awards season! My life is nowhere as glam as the ladies on the red carpet last night, so it is refreshing to see more than a few plus size celebrities, singers, and artists represent on the red carpet for the 58th Grammy Awards! Seriously, this years was a fashionably stellar night for plus size fashion!

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From the red carpet on the stage at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, there was all kinds of glam. Normally, the Grammys red carpet the is traditionally no-holds-barred, bold, and out there, but last night, our fellow Curvy Fashionista singers brought the glam and drama last night for the Grammy Awards at the Staples Center and we are here to share it all with you!

Are you ready to see what we are talking about? If you follow us on Facebook, then you already know a few of the looks that wowed us, but we have a bit more that we found!

Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes

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Nominated for Album of the Year, Best Rock Performance (Winner), Rock Song (Winner), and Alternative Music Album (Winner), Brittany Howard fronts the group being all kinds of regal and carefree at the same time!

Tasha Cobbs

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Nominated for best Gospel Album, this Georgia based Curvy Fashionista stunned in this custom dress!

Jazmine Sullivan

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Nominated for Best R&B Singer, Jazmine was snatched for the gawds and killed it, in a custom Michael Costello gown, styled by Timothy Snell! (Hey plus size stylist working it!)

Adele

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Goes sultry and dark in a Givenchy gown and we are digging the sleek and chic appeal!

Lalah Hathaway

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on Best Traditional R&B Performance for ‘Little Ghetto Boy’, got the cape memo and sparkles in her amazing dress!

See? Didn’t they bring it? All kinds of glam and I am here for all of this. I seriously LOOOOOOVED Brittany’s Cape look. It was everything! Who do you think was best dressed Curvy Fashionista for the 58th Grammys?

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Plus-size model Philomena Kwao laments the lack of black women in fashion, as she reveals she used whitening soap because she thought ‘beauty meant lighter skin’

 

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  • The 26-year-old appears with Ashley Graham in the new Swimsuits For All campaign in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 
  • The Ghanaian-British model said people think of Beyoncé or Rihanna when they talk about beautiful black women, but darker skin tones are pretty, too
  • She added that the plus-size modeling industry has done a good job of spotlighting body diversity, but not skin tone diversity

 

With size 14 stunner Ashley Graham covering the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, it truly seems like the plus-size industry is making major strides in the media — but according to Philomena Kwao, it still has a long way to go.

The 26-year-old Ghanaian-British model says that in spite of the growing acceptance of curvy women in the fashion and modeling worlds, curvy women with her deep, dark skin tone are still largely left out of the picture.

‘I think that the plus-size industry has been great with size diversity, but it hasn’t really been great for skin tone diversity,’ she told Elle.com ‘I still feel segregation along skin tone.’

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Plus-size and dark-skinned, Philomena, who grew up in London, is pretty much one-of-a-kind in the modeling industry.

And while that uniqueness is partly responsible for her success — she’s done campaigns for Beth Ditto Collection, Torrid, Addition Elle, and, most recently, a Swimsuits For All campaign alongside Ashley Graham — it has also made climbing to the top harder.

When she was younger, she had a tough time loving herself because she looked different from the women she saw on TV.

‘Growing up, I had body confidence issues not really so much because of size, but my skin color. I had trouble recognizing that the depth of my skin tone is really beautiful because whenever people referred to a beautiful black-skinned woman, you’d see Beyoncé and Rihanna,’ she said. ‘So, you’d do harmful things to try and get to that color, like skin bleaching. I once tried those whitening soaps.’

Fortunately, she eventually gave up on those, and managed to break into modeling — which worked wonders on her confidence.

While some people might assume that being in an industry that focuses solely on looks could hurt a girl’s self-esteem, Philomena said it put her in position to celebrate what makes her different and unique.

It gave her perspective, too, since seeing herself in the mirror or in pictures all day, every day made her realize the world doesn’t fall apart when she doesn’t look ‘perfect’.

Whenever people referred to a beautiful black-skinned woman, you’d see Beyoncé and Rihanna

Booking that Swimsuits For All campaign, which is running in the current Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, was especially ‘self-affirming’, because Philomena never thought she could be a swimsuit model.

Despite her big break, though, she still insists there is much to be done for diversifying the modeling industry as a whole and the plus-size modeling industry in particular.

‘There’s not many models in the U.S. that have my depth, like, really dark skin, that are also plus size,’ she explained. ‘Skin color has been one of those things we haven’t really, really addressed on a large, widespread scale.

‘When I started, there was only one other girl that I could name that was even close to my shade. I didn’t understand why there weren’t more black plus-size models with darker skin tones. It feels like the final frontier of beauty is to be black, to be plus, to have natural hair.’

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Though she knows skin tone and race can be a touchy subject, she also feels important to talk about it so things get better.

‘Some conversations are difficult, but if we shy away from every difficult topic, we will never see change,’ she wrote on Instagram.

Things are changing, albeit slowly, and Philomena is happy to have some a major role in shifting the industry. In an Instagram post sharing her Swimsuits For All ad, she wrote: ‘It’s the golden age of body positivity and I’m so proud to be a part of it.’

But even though she’s breaking down barriers, she’s not a fan of labels. She told Elle.com that she doesn’t like to use words like ‘plus’ or ‘curvy’, since they come with certain connotations. She’s also averse to the idea that you have to be slim to be happy.

That’s because she’s perfectly happy, but she doesn’t obsess over her weight. Instead she does healthy things because they feel good, like starting the day with a green juice and exercising.

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Meet Ashley Graham, the ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Issue’s First ‘Plus-Size’ Cover Girl

Meet Ashley Graham, the ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Issue’s First ‘Plus-Size’ Cover Girl

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ow a gal went from being discovered at a mall in her native Nebraska to becoming the very first ‘plus-size’ model to grace the cover of SI’s popular Swimsuit Issue

he first time Ashley Graham made front-page news wasn’t so pretty. She’d starred in a commercial for Cacique, Lane Bryant’s new line of sexy lingerie for plus-size women. But the ad, depicting the then-size 16 stunner in a 38D bra and panties, was deemed too big and beautiful for TV, and got nixed by ABC. “We’ve never witnessed this level of content censorship,” a rep for the clothier fumed at the time.
What a difference six years makes. Today, Graham is the first plus-size model to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, an annual release depicting bikini babes in exotic locales that both brings some much-needed heat to cold, dark February and anoints the next generation of model-stars. Since its inception in 1964, the Swimsuit Issue has introduced the world to future stars Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Heidi Klum, and Tyra Banks, and recently boosted the stature of Chrissy Teigen and Kate Upton. Heck, in 2007, Queen Beyoncé even graced its cover. It’s a pretty big deal.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this! This is so much fun,” beams Graham, nestled on a couch, sipping black coffee. “It’s great to see all the men come out here. I have a lot of female fans, and it’s really nice to see that men are desirous of girls my size as well.”
America, of course, is getting bigger. In 1960, the average American woman weighed 140 pounds. Today, she’s 166 pounds and a size 14—which just so happens to be Graham’s current size. Last year, SI made waves by casting its first “plus-size” model, Robyn Lawley, in its pages. But the fact that Lawley was even classified as a “plus-size” model was ludicrous. I mean, look at her. And because she’s a size 14, which again, is the size of the average American woman, Graham thought “they would never put a girl my size on the cover.” Well, she thought wrong.
We’re huddled in the corner of Swim City, a pop-up venue in New York City’s Flatiron District, where hordes of fans have gathered to meet the ladies of the 2016 Swimsuit Issue. And in person, by any reasonable standard, Graham isn’t “plus-size.” In fact, she’d rather we do away with the category altogether.

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“I hope in the next year people will stop saying ‘plus-size,’ and they’ll just say, ‘She’s a model.’ I think that the day is coming,” she says, before cracking a smile. “There are all kinds of descriptions for models. My favorite is curvasexalicious. And I taste good.”
Graham, who is 28, learned she’d be shooting a spread for SI’s Swimsuit Issue on Thanksgiving, right after taking down a hearty meal. “I learned about it after eating two giant plates of food,” she says, laughing. “I cried like a baby.”
She’d met with Swimsuit Issue editor MJ Day in 2014, and the two hit it off, but Graham didn’t make the cut for the ’15 issue. She did, however, appear in an ad in the issue for Swimsuits for All, a brand of plus-size women’s swimwear that really upped her exposure.
“I proved to them that, yes, people want to see a woman my size, and men and women are really excited about it,” she recalls. “I don’t know that that was the catalyst for MJ to put me in, but it definitely proved a big point.”
Despite her newfound notoriety, Graham isn’t an overnight success. She was discovered at a shopping mall in her native Nebraska at the age of 12, and moved to New York at the age of 17 to pursue her modeling dream full-time. “My mom and dad said, ‘If you don’t make it, you have to go to college.’ They gave me just the summer—three months—to make it.”
“I’m the ‘slow and steady wins the race’ kind of girl, and thank God for that,” adds Graham. “You see models come and go, and I’ve been doing this for 15 years and have had small milestones in the progression of my career. It’s been such a blessing because I’ve been able to cultivate what I want to do, what I want to say, and how I want to be represented, and now here I am on the cover of Sports Illustrated representing not just curvy women, but any type of woman who was told, ‘No, you can’t.’”
And Graham’s been told those three words quite a bit during her career due to her size. “I was told ‘no’ all the time,” she says. “I was told, ‘You’ll never be an editorial model and you’ll never be on the pages of any magazine.’ And the first year that I was signed with IMG I was on five different covers and had my own TED Talk. It’s really shaped the industry and I feel like the things that I’ve been saying, and watching the industry change, has been such a testament to my work.”

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he name of Graham’s TED Talk was, “Plus-Size? More Like My Size,” and she’s preached body positivity ever since breaking into the industry.
“Nobody looked like me growing up,” says Graham, who was a size 12 by the age of 12 and comes from a big-boned family. “I was told to look up to J. Lo and Marilyn Monroe, because they were two of the more curvy women in society, but J. Lo’s ass is amazing, and Monroe was… maybe a size 6? She definitely wasn’t hitting the double-digits. I never really had anybody but my mother to look up to, and she always told me, ‘You are smart, you are beautiful,’ and she had confidence in her own body as well. It starts in the home. Mothers and fathers are the ones that fuel their children’s desire to be who they want to be.”