Internationally-known body activist, model and entrepreneur, Ashley Graham, describes her journey into fashion industry stardom. She doesn’t leave out any gritty details, as she describes the challenging and rewarding progression toward becoming her own role model. Inspiring body confidence in the next generation, Ashley expresses the need for the universal embrace of body diversity as beauty paradigms continue to shift.


(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)






  • to pop – to be very noticeable; to release sth quickly
  • mold (AmE), mould (BrE) – the frame on or around which an object is constructed; a fixed pat tern; type
  • physique – the form, size of a person’s body
  • to scout – to go in search (for)
  • casting call – a series of auditions held in order to find a suitable actor, dancer, model, etc.
  • folds (in skin) -the loose parts that hang over other parts of it
  • to tug at – to pull at someone or something vigorously or repeatedly
  • to cave – to agree to something that you would not agree to before, after someone has persuaded you
  • to get a handle on – to understand and be able to deal with
  • to pick apart – to criticize (a person or thing) in a very detailed and usually unkind way
  • vocal – often expressing opinions and complaints in speech
  • to relinquish – to give up
  • self-affirmation – the behaviour of expressing a positive attitude towards yourself

Complete the gaps in the extracts of the talk with the phrases in bold below:


I guess                                necessarily                        mainly                 even though                     let alone            

it’s no wonder                 in fact                   basically                              in reality                             actually

(…) And cellulite, I have not forgotten about you. I’m going to choose to love you 1. ………….. you want to take over my whole bottom half, but you’re a part of me. (…)

2. ………… , did you know that the plus size fashion industry actually starts at a US size 8? And it goes up to a US size 16. So 3. …………… (=in essence) what I’m saying is that the majority of this room right now is considered plus size. (…)

As a curvy woman it was the assumption that I should look up to Marilyn Monroe or Jennifer Lopez 4. ………. (=most of all) because they were two of the most notable curvy women in the public eye that were being praised for their curves. But these weren’t my role models. 5. ……… (=actually), the woman I looked up to the most was my mother. (…)

My body, like my confidence, has been picked apart, manipulated, and controlled by others who didn’t 6. ………… understand it.  (…)

With so much emphasis put on the body and external, 7. ………. that we all suffer so much internally. You know people in the fashion industry 8. ………….. told me  that I would never be in magazines 9. …………. the covers of them. Well 10. ………….. we’ve proven them all wrong.

 ANSWERS: 1.oeven though; 2. In fact; 3. basically; 4. mainly; 5. In reality; 6. necessarily; 7. it’s no wonder; 8. actually; 9. let alone; 10. I guess

Practice Makes Perfect

Use some of the words in Glossary to complete the gaps in the sentences below:

1. They will do whatever they can to push you, but try not to …….. .

2. She ………..ed my hair! Can you believe it?

3. I woke up with a start and tried to …………. on the situation.

4. I think you should …………… your office for your own good.

5. Let’s ……… her flaws and plan a strategy that she can’t help but fall into.

6. I’m sure he’ll tell us what he thinks. He`s always been very …….. .

7. He’s been …………. for a national football team for the last 5 years.

8. We wouldn’t like to press everything into the same ……… .

 ANSWERS: 1. cave; 2. tugged; 3. get a handle; 4. relinquish; 5. pick apart; 6. vocal; scouting; 8. mould


  • What springs to mind when you hear the phrase “plus-size”?
  • Do you think plus-size fashion is a positive trend?
  • What do you make of the model’s credo?
  • Are you happy with your current weight or do you worry about it?
  • Have you ever been on a diet? What kind?
  • Who worries more about their weight – men or women?
  • Do you think we should learn about how to control our weight at school?
  • An English proverb says: “Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.” What does this mean? Do you agree?


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