Wednesday 20 September 2017

Top model Ashley Graham reveals she was bullied about her weight in school: 'Girls would call me cottage cheese thighs'

Model Ashley Graham arrives for the Time 100 Gala in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S. April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Model Ashley Graham arrives for the Time 100 Gala in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S. April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Model Ashley Graham is seen coming out of the 'View on May 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
Model Ashley Graham signs copies of her new book "A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like" at Barnes & Noble Tribeca on May 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
Ashley Graham (L) and Stella Maxwell attend the "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images For US Weekly)
Ashley Graham attends the "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images For US Weekly)
Model Ashley Graham walks the runway during the Michael Kors Collection Fall 2017 fashion show at Spring Studios on February 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images for Michael Kors)
Ashley Graham arrives for GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2016 at Tate Modern on September 6, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Ashley Graham and Bella Hadid arrive for GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2016 at Tate Modern on September 6, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Model Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham on Sports Illustrated
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

Ashley Graham has revealed that she was bullied about her weight in school.

The top model, who has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Vogue, said she hated her school days.

"Girls would call me 'cottage-cheese thighs' and 'thunder thighs,'" she told Harper's Bazaar.

"They'd be like: 'Wide load coming through. Beep, beep!' I hated school."

Ashley Graham attends the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017 Launch Event - Outside Arrivals at Center415 Event Space on February 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
Ashley Graham attends the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017 Launch Event - Outside Arrivals at Center415 Event Space on February 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Graham (29) said her life working as a young model contrasted greatly with her experience in school.

'As a model, people are telling you you're beautiful, and at school, people are telling you you're ugly. They would say, 'You're not really a model, you're a fat model.'

"It was humiliating. I think I just put my head down and internalised it."

Graham also admitted that she grew up receiving criticism at home, as well as in school.

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"[My dad was] a dark presence. My dad was very critical and harsh. He was physically there but absent emotionally.

"He thought I was stupid because I had a really low reading level and I wasn't good at maths. His nickname for me was 'Duh'. That puts a lot of pressure on a kid."

The plus-size model said that while she didn't always love her curves, she has learned to embrace them.

"I still wake up some mornings and feel fat, of course I do, but I've come to a place where I'm like, the cellulite's not leaving, and I'm not going to beat myself up about it, I'll embrace it. Some women say, 'I can't get out of bed, I'm never going to find a man, or get that job that I want, because of the way I look.'

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"I love my body. When I look in the mirror, I see a woman who is strong and ambitious, satisfied with who she is.

"I'm simply not able to adhere to strict rules around deprivation. I get upset, 'hangry', when I'm not eating. I would never go on a major diet and work-out spree just to be thin.'"

While she is recognised worldwide for her work as a body positivity activist, Graham said she doesn't think of herself that way.

"I've been told I'm a pioneer and a trailblazer, that I changed the game, but to me, I'm just a model who happens to know how to talk to women about loving the skin they're in.

Ashley Graham attends the
Ashley Graham attends the "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

"I'm trying to convey that confidence and feeling sexy is about being comfortable with who you are."

Read the full interview in the Harpers Bazaar’s July 2017 issue, on sale June 1.

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