Graham was the first plus-size model to appear in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition, by way of a Swimsuits For All ad, and has continued to use her exploding media influence as a platform for positive body image and self-acceptance messages. The 28 year old — represented by IMG — has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Glamour, as well as advertising campaigns for H&M, Bloomingdale’s, Calvin Klein and Marina Rinaldi.
Scouted at the age of 12 in a shopping mall in her native Nebraska, she signed with an international modelling agency a year later. Her huge social media presence — amplified by a TEDx talk she gave in 2015 — has made her a role model for women and girls across the globe. Any affiliation with Ashley Graham almost always results in a viral hashtag or campaign; her fame has resulted in partnership opportunities such as a plus-size lingerie collaboration with Addition Elle and a swimsuit collaboration with Swimsuits for All.
In 2016, Graham was invited by the UN Foundation’s “Girl Up” initiative to speak at their Leadership Summit, and in the same year, she was placed on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list.
Graham also co-founded ALDA, a collective of models signed with IMG that defy societal expectations and transcend the boundaries of conventional models’ appearances. ALDA models support the growing industry for plus-size models, advocating for body acceptance and challenging conventional notions of beauty.