Ashley Graham wants to help inspire women to embrace their new curves — stretch marks and all.
In a first look at the third episode of her digital series, Fearless with Ashley Graham, the model and first-time mom-to-be spoke with mother of four Taylor Hoit about the positive effect being candid about body changes can have on other women, who might be having a difficult time with their own journey.
“I actually first discovered you when you posted a photo of yourself on Instagram,” Graham, 32, says in the clip to Hoit, who had shared a powerful photo of her postpartum body 10 weeks after having twins, shortly after Graham shared a nude photo that highlighted her stretch marks earlier this year.
“This body has grown four children,” Hoit wrote in the caption of her post. “This same body gave birth to two of those children 10 weeks ago and somehow I find myself struggling to accept this body as if it didn’t just give birth.”
Hoit went on to explain that the impetus behind the social media share was a conversation revolving around weight that was going on in the mom group she belonged to.
“It was a day where everyone was saying, ‘This is how much I’ve gained, this is how much I’ve lost, this is what I look like,’ and I wanted to change that conversation,” she said. “Like, what are we talking about? We grow children — our bodies did that. How grateful and lucky we are that we’ve done that?”
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Pregnant Ashley Graham Praised for Sharing Stretch Marks Photo: “We Need This as a Reference”
Hoit added that although she “struggled” with the post and actually “wanted to take it down,”after Graham “Liked” the image, she decided to “keep it up.”
The Canadian mom went on to note that what’s been so challenging is that “this time” around, her body hasn’t “bounced back” as quickly as it has in the past.
“I feel like maybe my body’s changed forever,” she explained, “and I’m just trying to figure out how to feel beautiful on the inside and the outside.”
Although Graham’s photo was praised by many when she posted it back in August, the model went on to share that she, too, had been struggling with her “new body” at the time.
“It’s interesting that you say that because the reason why I had posted that original photo, I had just announced that I was pregnant and I thought then I was going to feel good and I didn’t. I just felt terrible. And that morning, actually … ” she said, stopping herself as she began to cry.
“That morning, I was like, ‘Get it together, Ashley, there’s other women out there that are going through the same thing as you — why don’t you have a dialogue?’ ” she explained.
Adding that the experience of having a “new body” made her feel “so isolated” and “so alone,” Graham noted that pregnancy has meant having “to come into this new world of body confidence.”
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While celebrating her son on the way last week, Graham also spoke about how incredibly supportive other moms can be, telling PEOPLE exclusively, “In addition to celebrating our baby at our shower, it was important that we showed love to the new moms too!”
“One of the greatest parts of this pregnancy journey has been making friends with and bonding with other moms,” she added. “There were six pregnant moms at the shower, who’ve all been a part of my support system. We talk about all of the different aspects of pregnancy and motherhood, especially around taking care of ourselves as well.”
During the night, Graham joked that the shower was “like Christmas!” before later going on to express gratitude to her guests for being a part of such a special night: “Thank you all so much. We can’t raise this baby boy without all of you — you’re our community.”
The third episode of Fearless with Ashley Graham will begin streaming on ellentube.com at 7 a.m. on Friday.
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