Awhile back, I watched an episode of “The Tonight Show” featuring a plus-sized model named Ashley Graham. ABC had recently refused to air her Lane Bryant ad during “Dancing with the Stars” on the grounds that it was too revealing.
Jay Leno heard the story and felt ABC’s decision was ridiculous, particularly in light of the many Victoria’s Secret ads regularly shown on television. Leno wanted to increase awareness of broadcast double-standards and discrimination toward plus-sized models, so he invited Ashley Graham to appear on his show.
Confidence, Magnetism, and Self-Love
Watching Ms. Graham on “The Tonight Show” elicited a strong and unexpected reaction in me. When Jay Leno introduced her, Ashley glided out on the stage dressed entirely in spandex! While she is a very beautiful woman, she’s definitely much curvier and voluptuous than most models we see in magazines and on runways (I read that she’s a size 16 at 5’9”).
While I didn’t feel the spandex ensemble was the most flattering thing she could have worn (this applies to pretty much anyone, mind you… – the outfit above is a much better option!), that’s not what struck me most about Ashley Graham. What I noticed first and foremost was her abundance of … confidence. She carried herself with pride and poise and looked every bit as statuesque, sexy, and elegant as any movie star who might walk onto the Tonight Show stage. I was mesmerized by her magnetism and evident self-love.
Body Image Lessons from Ashley Graham
What can we learn from Ashley Graham? Here are a few thoughts for women (including myself at times…) who could use a shot of “body assurance serum”:
- Sexy and beautiful are not attached to a certain size or to a societal ideal.
- There are many definitions of beauty, not just one!
- If a woman acts and feels attractive, others will see her that way as well.
- If you love your body, others will, too!
- If you carry yourself with pride and “own” every inch of your body, you will feel more confident.
Self-Love at Any Size!
We can’t all look like Victoria’s Secret models, nor should we. But we can strive to be our very best and love ourselves through each step of our life journey. We can learn to love our bodies for what they do for us and for the fact that they carry us through our lives faithfully and steadily. We can learn to embrace and celebrate our best points and release our judgment about those parts we don’t like so much (clothing can definitely help in this pursuit!).
We can end the war within and enjoy our precious, beautiful, and all too brief lives. That is my solemn wish – for all women (and men, too) who struggle with body image issues. We can learn to love our bodies as they are and one day stride onto the “stages” of our lives with the grace and assurance of Ashley Graham!