We always knew it wouldn’t be long before our favorite plus-size model sensation; Ashley Graham broke into the new year with something new and exciting. And now in nothing short of an iconic fashion, Ashley Graham is the star of a risqué and boundary-breaking photo shoot in V Magazine‘s January issue. Famed photographer Steven Klein photographed the 28-year-old model in a series of provocative poses at the Standard Hotel’s Meatpacking location in New York City.
Donned in lingerie and not much else (save for a few capes and some fishnets) in the spread, the editorial was nothing short of the high fashion edginess V Magazine is known for. “Meet Ashley Graham and it won’t be just her beauty — and her unabashed voluptuousness — that will astound you,” Stephen Gan, V’s editor-in-chief, told Refinery29. “She’s got a high-spirited personality to match, too. Combine all of that with her wit and you’ve got a major powerhouse to be reckoned with, like a modern-day Mae West meets Warhol superstar. Steven Klein’s pictures, to me, capture her in all her glory.”
The imagery is powerful, but it’s Graham’s interview, conducted by Chelsea Handler, that reminds us why we love her so much. Graham has become a role model of self-love and acceptance for women, but is still widely referred to as “plus size.” Graham told Handler what she wants for herself, and all women, is to strip the labels altogether.
When people ask what it’s like to be a plus-size model, Graham says she “can’t stand that question anymore. … I mean, I’ve been doing this now for 17 years and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken up about the label ‘plus size.’ I don’t think women should be labeled at all, I think that it’s completely divisive.”
Despite her disdain for labels, she still recognizes the responsibility she has as the person who “for whatever reason, has been given the opportunity to be on so many covers and to have a voice. I don’t take that lightly,” she said.
In the event that she does forget the impact she is having, her fans are quick to remind her. “Some days I forget that and someone comes to me crying and says, ‘Because of you, I wore shorts today,’ or I’ll get an email that says, ‘I had sex with my husband with the lights on.’ At those moments I’m like, ‘Wow, you are changing people’s lives, and you’re doing it by just being yourself.’”
See the full interview now on V’s site and in the IRL issue, which hit newsstands yesterday (and features seven different covers, starring Kendall Jenner, Joan Smalls, Lara Stone, Amber Valleta, Carolyn Murphy, Lily Aldridge, and Ellen Rosa). Checkout the rest of the editorial images below;
Photo Credit: Steven Klein for V Magazine.
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