Supermodel Ashley Graham is a public figure that I have been digging for some time now. From her standing relationship as a spokesmodel for Lane Bryant to her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover, I have always been able to see her confidence through her images. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a copy of her memoir, “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty & Power Really Look Like”, in the mail back in May. Written with Rebecca Paley (the same co-author as Nadia Lopez’s “The Bridge To Brilliance”, which I reviewed here) the book is published by Dey Street Books, an imprint of Harper Collins.
As soon as I opened the book, I enjoyed the no-nonsense tone, similar to how you would speak to a good friend. It’s not condescending or high-brow, just super down-to-earth, and incredibly informative. We learn the story of a young curvy girl who was discovered in a mall in Nebraska, and her bumpy road to stardom. Having developed womanly curves and her tall stature by the age of 12, Ashley dealt with much frustration and confusion from family, classmates, and society alike. How is a young girl with the body of a woman supposed to dress? In what manner does a small-town, Christian girl deal with success in the big city of New York? What is dating life like? Who can she trust with her finances?
These types of questions, and more, are answered in this easy-to-read memoir by Graham. Aside from learning about her road to supermodeldom (is this a word?), I really enjoy the story of how she met her husband, cinematographer Justin Ervin, on a chance moment at church. She does not hold back in regards to her personal life, struggles, and successes alike, which I believe is helpful for the many young women who may read this book. She reminds you that despite all the glitz and glam, and collections with Dressbarn and Canadian retailer Addition Elle, she is just like us.
I would recommend this book to any young woman who aspires to model regardless of their size, race, or identity. I would also recommend this book to people a little bit further in their careers who need a bit of inspiration in the story of a woman who has found success in truly being herself.