Plus-Size Model Ashley Graham: “I Used to Think I Was Disgusting”

Marquita Pring, Ashley Graham, and Jenn Maitland at Camp Pocono Trails
Marquita Pring, Ashley Graham, and Jenn Maitland at Camp Pocono Trails Anastasia Garcia

Preaching self-confidence!

Ashley Graham's year of crushing has no signs of slowing down. After becoming the first plus-size model to appear in an ad in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in 2015 and a TED Talk that went viral, Graham is now making sure young women are getting the message.

After being asked by a camper-turned-counselor to visit Camp Pocono Trails, a weight-loss retreat in Pennsylvania, Graham delivered an empowering talk to the young women, who range in age from 7 to 21, about how she wasn't always the poster child for self-confidence.

According to Yahoo, the Nebraska native (along with fellow plus-size models Julie Henderson, Marquita Pring, and Jenn Maitland) shared her secret for gaining self-esteem, telling campers that she used to look in the mirror and think, "You are so ugly, you are so fat, this is disgusting."

Ashley Graham
Marquita Pring, Ashley Graham, and Jenn Maitland at Camp Pocono Trails. Anastasia Garcia

It took a light-bulb moment for her to realize that she was holding herself back. "It hit me one day," she said. "I said, 'What am I doing? My mom didn't raise me like this. My aunt did not raise me like this.'"

Once she realized her attitude was self-destructive, the model, who recently launched her own lingerie line, Addition Elle, changed her outlook and focused on loving herself for who she is. "I read in a book that, if I actually looked myself in the mirror and said, ['I am beautiful, and I do have a great body,'] and meant it every day, it was going to happen. I started loving my body, I started working out and taking care of myself," Graham said.

Graham also told campers it's important to note that this process isn't a "trick." "I didn't trick myself. I told myself, 'This is changing, you are beautiful, you are worth it,'" she said, "No man, no job, no friend is going to tell me who I am—I'm going to tell me who I am."

What do you think of Graham's message? Tweet with @UsWeekly using the hashtag #stylebyUs!

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