IMG model Ashley Graham gave one of the most inspiring talks ever before a sold-out audience of 450 people in Valencia, Spain during an April 2015 TEDxBerkleeValencia event.
Dominating the stage with confidence and enthusiasm for her commitment to being a body-image activist for all women, Graham who is a 27-year-old Nebraska native said:
‘My body, like my confidence, has been picked apart, manipulated, and controlled by others who didn’t necessarily understand it. I had to learn to reclaim my body as my own, and in reclaiming my body as my own, I understood as a woman that I had a greater purpose to redefine feminine beauty.’
Graham reflected on the reality that the fashion industry — and a society defined by attitudes cultivated by the fashion industry — defines perfection only from the outside, citing a recent Dove study of thousands of women in 10 countries that found only two percent of women willing to describe themselves as beautiful.
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition model challenged the audience to embrace themselves with her own experience.
‘I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the mold that society wanted me to fit in… . Rolls, curves, cellulite, all of it — I love every part of me.’