Ashley Graham is unapologetic when it comes to displaying her curves, and often encourages other women to do the same. Now the model says she believes it is her destiny to empower other women – a role she doesn't take lightly.
Speaking to ELLE Canada as part of her cover shoot, Ashley explained: "I believe that we're all here for a purpose and that one of my biggest ones is to help people understand that they're beautiful. I get emails every day from women who say 'I would never have gotten into a bikini without you.'"
Ashley Graham said it is her purpose in life to empower other women
The 28-year-old also revealed why she thinks she has become such an inspirational figure to women.
"You know what's so funny? I think women think I'm inspirational because I'm so unapologetic," she said. "I have cellulite. I have back fat. I've got a thick stomach. But I work my body like I don't because I don't know any other body. I don't know how to feel thin. I just know how to feel like Ashley."
However she admits she hasn't always been so secure with her body. "When I was growing up, my mom always told me that I was smart even though I was called dumb in school because I have dyslexia. I was also a big girl who played sports and ate well, and she would tell me 'You're fit and healthy.' I was super-insecure at the time, but it helped to hear her words."
The model says women are inspired by her unapologetic nature
She explained that after moving to New York to model she gained a "ton of weight" and didn't feel comfortable in her own skin.
"I was a size 18 and I was looking for affirmation and attention in all the wrong areas. I had agents telling me I had to lose weight, and I was like, 'Why am I allowing people to dictate my future?'"
Now Ashley truly embraces her figure and it has paid off, leading her to become a sought after model and the face of lingerie brand Addition Elle's new campaign.