From Too Fat to Too Skinny: Ashley Graham Has a Powerful Message for Anyone Trying to Police Her Body Size

Ashley Graham Writes Essay on Body-Shaming - Plus-Size Model on Body Positivity

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Ashley Graham has had an incredible year, from hosting Miss USA to appearing on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. But that doesn't mean she's getting universal praise. In an essay for Lenny, the curvy supermodel and body-positive advocate wrote about what it's like to get ripped apart for being too fat, and for being too thin, all at the same time.

Graham recently posted an Instagram of her fab outfit while working as a judge filming the rebooted America's Next Top Model. "It was one of those photos where you look and say to yourself, "YESSSS, HONEY! I look damn good," she wrote.

But then the backlash began. The angle of the photo made Graham look slimmer than usual, and some fans commented that they felt betrayed. "You don't love the skin you're in, you want to conform to Hollywood, you believe being skinnier is prettier," one wrote.

Right when the backlash happened, Graham hit back at critics on Instagram and Snapchat. "People come on my page and body shame me because I'm too big, because I'm too small, because I'm not good enough for their standards," she wrote in an Instagram comment. "But at the end of the day I'm good enough for me."

In her essay, Graham added that she actually has gained weight over the past three years, not that it matters one bit. "I work out not to lose weight but to maintain my good health," she wrote. "And anyway, if I did want to lose weight, it would be no one's decision but my own."

Graham writes that she gets scrutinized for her appearance no matter what, and she's trying to use her fame to get people to stop with the body-shaming altogether. "For the past sixteen years, my body has been picked apart, manipulated, and controlled by others who don't understand it," she wrote. "If you see another woman taking a selfie or a photo in her bathing suit, encourage her because she actually feels beautiful, don't give her the side eye because you think she's feeling herself too hard."

And it's clear she isn't letting the critics stop her. She has been posting lots of badass Instagrams from the gym lately, as she should:

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Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.