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Ashley Graham Reflects On Being Called ‘Cottage Cheese Thighs’ By Middle School Bullies

Ashley Graham Reflects On Being Called ‘Cottage Cheese Thighs’ By Middle School Bullies

Ashley Graham may be an accomplished model now, but her looks weren’t always celebrated. In fact, she was downright bullied because of them in middle school.

In a lengthy essay published by Time on Wednesday, the 36-year-old wrote about the difficulties of growing up with her famously fuller figure — beginning with middle school bullies. She wrote:

“In middle school the kids called me ‘cottage cheese thighs.’ I craved acceptance of others and the empathy of a friend group that might understand what I had to offer beyond my exterior.”

Omg that’s so f**ked up…

Related: The Bachelorette Has Added A Plus-Sized Contestant!

She added that because she was on the receiving end of so much criticism, her “sense of self evolved under the influence of feedback from others.” And that continued even after she was scouted at just 12 years old:

“A scout spotted me at the mall in Omaha when I was 12. Soon I was being paid to have my picture taken. Adults were telling me that my looks had value. It came with a caveat, though. I was ‘big pretty’ or ‘pretty for a big girl’ or ‘pretty from the neck up.’ There was always that double label: pretty and plus-sized.”

How messed up! And so harmful to an impressionable young woman!

Even after returning to school from weekend modeling gigs, she said both students and teachers alike would “tilt their heads and squint at me, looking for whatever the industry saw” because “plus-size wasn’t cool, but the pretty was interesting.”

She recalled longing for a mentor who could help her understand her “value and purpose as a model,” but that there was no one in the industry she could “emulate.” But eventually a conversation with her mom changed everything.

She said that at 18 years old, she was living in Manhattan struggling with the complications of being “a plus-size model at a younger age.” On the verge of quitting it all, she called her mom:

“One day I finally called my mom crying, looking in the mirror and just feeling like I couldn’t do it anymore. She told me something I’ll never forget: ‘Your body is going to change someone’s life. You have to keep going.’ That was the ‘aha’ moment for me. My mom helped me understand my purpose. As I let her words sink in, I thought about how for years I’d let other people tell me who I was. I needed to define my worth for myself. And I could use words, like my mom had, to do it.”

From then on, she started using positive affirmations to help develop her “self-love.” And thank goodness she did! Because like her mom predicted, she’s now a hero to so many! SHE’S now the mentor she was looking for as a child!

Thoughts?? Let us know in the comments down below.

[Images via Ashley Graham/Instagram & The Drew Barrymore Show/YouTube]

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Jun 09, 2024 08:48am PDT