Ashley Graham is having an incredible year. The 29-year-old model, who gained recognition for being the first curve model to cover Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit issue and also becoming the first of her size to land a Vogue cover in March, was included in this year’s Time 100 and just launched a new plus-size lingerie line in July.
However, when she was first stepping onto the scene, things weren’t always so glamorous for the 5-foot-9 beauty. In a new interview with New York magazine, Graham revealed why she didn’t attend the 2016 Met Gala.
The star explained that she was actually “on hold” (a prelude to an invitation) for Anna Wintour‘s annual fashion extravaganza, but ended up staying home. The reason? “I couldn’t get a designer to dress me,” she said. “You can’t just show up in jeans and a T-shirt.”
Graham explained that, at the time, she didn’t have the right designer relationships, and there wasn’t enough time to create a custom gown — likely because she isn’t in the size 0 to 2 sample range.
Luckily, the demand for size diversity is growing (in part, because people like Graham are speaking up about it!), and this year, the model showed up to the 2017 Met Gala looking red hot in a couture gown from H&M.
“Rihanna said I looked ‘hot as f–k,'” Graham recalled of the NYC event, which took place in May. “I had no idea what to say to her. I was just like, ‘You slay every Met, Rihanna!'” Once inside, she experienced another once-in-a-lifetime moment: Kim Kardashian picked spinach out of her teeth!
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