This month, I read A New Model by Ashley Graham. I remember the first time I was made aware of Ashley, I was so excited. Although I personally am not (and have never been) considered “plus-sized”, that didn’t make it any less inspirational to see such beautiful representation of that community. My admiration for Ashley and the work she does was the main reason why I chose to read this book. I love reading auto-biographies, because they are not only an easy read, but usually pretty relatable. They take a celebrity, someone who seems unattainable and poised and far away, and make them seem more like just an ordinary person.
I may not be plus-sized, but I have always had proportionately wide hips and a “full butt”, if you will. I’ve been made fun of for it before, so I’ve always been a bit self-conscious of my body. Reading about Ashley’s experiences and the comments she’s heard due to her size and proportions resonated with me. She may be strong and confident about who she is and how she looks now, but she wasn’t always that way. And even now, she still experiences some doubts!
My favorite part of the book was Chapter 3, where she discusses some of the comments people made about her, and how her body still changes to this day. It’s completely normal for our bodies to fluctuate in size and appearance, even if you eat the same things and exercise the same amount every day. Reading about Ashley’s experiences with this kind of flipped a switch in my mind. There is literally no point in obsessing over every little bit of your body. Some days your butt may look just the right size in your mind, and then the next day it doesn’t look as great. Who cares?! It’s insanely ridiculous that society has managed to convince so many of us that there is one specific way we need to look, and anything else isn’t good enough. Further, reading about what people have said behind her back was interesting and provided some perspective for my own experiences. Seeing how beautiful Ashley is, and then seeing what people said about her, made me realize how ridiculous it is to listen to comments like that. People like to get on bandwagons, and seem cool, and bring others down so they can feel better about their own securities. Taking stock in what someone says about you behind your back is purposeless.
Ashley provides a sense of camaraderie that even she is susceptible to these pressures, but also some inspiration. She discusses how she has managed to overcome some of these toxic ways of thinking, and it made me feel like some day I will be able to get past it too. She finishes the book by emphasizing her “Beauty Beyond Size” message. Not only should our definition of beauty not be restricted to sample sizes, but it should really embrace people of all shapes. Most women don’t have big breasts, a small waist, and hips that are just wide enough to be trendy. It’s time that we throw away those unattainable beauty standards, and I’m so happy to see that there are people like Ashley in the industry who are trying to make that happen.
Overall, I would strongly suggest this book to anyone! It’s great for people who have insecurities and are looking for some inspiration and comfort in trying to accept their bodies. It would also be a good read for anyone who knows someone who is uncomfortable with how they look. It gives great insight to how other people think about themselves, and how they may be able to overcome their insecurities.
If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought of it! And if you have any suggestions for similar books that I should read, feel free to contact me and tell me about them! I can’t believe January is over already, and I’m excited to share what book I’ll be reading in February, so be sure to check in for that!