Throughout her career, Graham has tirelessly promoted the cause of body acceptance.
Last February, model Ashley Graham made history by becoming the first size-16 model on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. Throughout her career, Graham has tirelessly promoted the cause of body acceptance and earlier this month was awarded for her efforts by Glamour at its annual Women of the Year Awards. At the ceremony, Graham was presented with her very own Barbie, but the model had one important stipulation: its thighs had to touch.
Graham’s demand is part of the #ThickThighsSaveLives awareness campaign she started to fight against the impossible thigh-gap beauty standard. “I got made fun of for them my whole life and now I’m being praised for my thick thighs and they have saved my life and I want to women to know that their thick thighs are saving their own lives,” she says. Graham’s work helps free women from feeling they need to live up to a beauty standard that says touching thighs are unattractive. Women are starving themselves for thigh gap and it’s time for it to stop.
The Barbie was modeled after Graham’s exact proportions and she made sure its creators adhered to her every curve. “All we did was take 360 degree photos of my body to send to them, and afterward we fleshed out some details,” she told The Huffington Post. “The color of my hair, a few details on my face like beauty marks and full eyebrows. The number one prerequisite, though, was that her thighs touched. I was like, ‘Guys, we can make this Barbie, but if her thighs don’t touch, she’s not authentic.’ ”
Graham believes that when young girls have Barbies with realistic proportions it works wonders for their self-esteem. “I never really thought that I didn’t look like her growing up, I just thought she was perfect,” Graham said. “If I had a Barbie that was my size, I would have thought my size was normal. Young girls now get to grow up seeing that their bodies are normal, which I think is so empowering and encouraging to the younger generation.”