Ashley Graham is sharing her story.
After working for 17 years in the industry, the 29-year-old has skyrocketed to fame as one of the most-notable curvy models.
Speaking to her friend and fellow plus-size model, Lauren Chan, Ashley remembered:
“There was an incident on set of a campaign job when I was 17 years old — I haven’t told this story — and there was a photo assistant who was into me. He was like, ‘Hey, come here,’ and he led me into a closet. And I was like, ‘What?’ I thought he was going to show me something. And he pulled me in, and he pulled his penis out. And he was like, ‘Grab it.’ And I was like, ‘No! That’s disgusting.’ I freaked out. And thank God I was closer to the door, and I just bolted out.”
She went on to explain why she’s never spoken up about the incident:
“And sure enough, I’ve seen him at jobs since. I even knew a girl he dated. I didn’t tell her because there was a voice in me that said, ‘Maybe he’s changed.’ It was my young mentality. But I told myself, ever since that incident, that I wasn’t going to allow someone at work to manipulate what I wanted to do on set. So any image that you see out there is one that I wanted to take.”
But now, the cover star realizes the severity of what happened — and has a message for other women who have similar experiences:
“Now I know that [it was assault]. At the time I didn’t. Then, it was like, ‘Did I do something to provoke that?”‘Or, ‘Did I give them a signal that it was OK?’ The insecure girl inside me was like, ‘Well, maybe I did something.’ To all those girls out there: No, you didn’t do anything.”
What a powerful message.
You can catch the rest of the inspiring interview HERE.
[Image via Glamour Magazine.]