New mom Ashley Graham bares it all in the August issue of ELLE Magazine! The plus-size model opens up about the pain of childbirth, raising a biracial son in America and how quarantine has lead her to be more low maintenance than ever. Her hubby, photographer Justin Ervin was on camera duty for the very special digital edition and both he and baby Isaac make appearances in the spread.
ELLE’s August digital issue—the first-ever issue of its kind—celebrates the value of friends, family and community, especially during these turbulent times. The issue takes an intimate look at the relationships of the women featured, be it with a parent, sibling, partner, child, or best friend. The August digital issue of ELLE is available on Apple News+ and ELLE.com August 3.
Ashley’s interview was conducted by actress and friend Kristen Bell, check out some of the quotes from the story below:
Ashley on ‘the astronomical pain’ of childbirth and the silver lining of watching Isaac grow up before her eyes:
“First of all, I had no idea it was going to hurt that bad. Let me just go there for a second: Every mother talks about, ‘Oh yeah, it’s painful.’ Whether they got an epidural or not, or a C-section, whatever happened, they’re like, ‘Yeah, it hurt.’ And they say it kind of calmly like that. They don’t go into the astronomical pain that you go through, especially if you choose to go natural. So there’s that. The silver lining in all this is that I gave birth just before quarantine, so I’ve been able to watch Isaac grow up before my eyes. Experiencing every single moment with him has been a dream come true. I feel really bad for the next kid, because I don’t know if they’re going to get this much attention.”
Sounds like Ashley is pretty optimistic about the future — she’s already talking second kid and the world going back to a less restrictive state where she’ll be busy working and traveling a lot again. As for the childbirth thing — we’re shocked she wasn’t better prepared for the inevitable pain.
Ashley on why women are ‘superheroes’ and celebrating her stretch marks and embracing her changing body:
“When I look at my new stretch marks and the changes that my body went through, it reminds me that, as women, we’re all superheroes. I’m always reminded that our bodies were built to do this. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to give birth, but I didn’t realize it until afterward. Before I was even pregnant, that was always my hope for women in general, that they could learn to continue to love their bodies through the changes and the ups and downs. And then, when I got pregnant, I had to reimagine my relationship with my body with this creature inside me taking over. I was gaining weight so rapidly. At first it felt devastating, and then when I met Isaac, I said, ‘No, this is exactly what every woman has talked about for ages. This is not just a battle wound. This is something that has changed my life forever, and I’m going to celebrate my new body.’”
It’s good to see her continuing to promote healthy self image — and be brave enough to share her post baby body with the world. How many of us would be this comfortable with millions of people seeing us breastfeed in the buff?
Ashley: “Everybody has an opinion [on parenting], right? But I just kind of did what I wanted to do. Isaac is not sleep-trained, but he only wakes up maybe once or twice in the night, max. I feel 100 percent rested, so it’s not like I’m living in agony every day like, “He didn’t sleep last night.” We’re walking into month [seven], and he’s screaming at the top of his lungs. He thinks it’s so fun to be louder than Mom and Dad.”
Lucky her — most moms will tell you that the first year it’s hard to get a good night’s rest.
Ashley on canceling mommy-shaming culture:
“I’ve got a couple of family members who are pregnant, and my instinct is to say, ‘Oh, do this, do that.’ But I stop myself every time, because I remember how I felt when everybody told me what to do and sent me their unsolicited advice and their lists. If there’s a question to be asked, ask it. But other than that, keep your trap shut and just let that mother figure it out. The mommy-shaming on social media is out of control.”
Ashley on the racial unrest in America:
“Our country is in pain. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and their families deserved better. Everyone in the Black community whose voice has been ignored for far too long deserves better. My son Isaac is only a few months old, but the past few weeks have sparked deeper conversations in our family around the inequalities facing the Black community and what it means to be Black in America. I want him to grow up in a world where justice exists for everyone and no one is discriminated against because of the color of their skin.”
Ashley on being an ally to the Black community:
“Being an ally means taking action. It’s important to get involved with organizations that are creating change, such as Campaign Zero, which recently partnered with Next Generation Action Network to meet with local city officials across the U.S. to cut police budgets and redistribute those funds to community-based alternatives. It’s also essential for both big and small businesses to continue prioritizing diversity and inclusion in their hiring practices, ensuring their teams’ makeup is representative of the world we live in. Change and impact also starts at the ballot box—not only for the presidential election in November but for local city and state elections as well. We need to make our voices heard and elect people who will enact the change we and the Black community need.”
It’s great to hear her offer up substantive solutions, actual organizations to work with and promoting voting. Having a following means taking responsibility and actively voicing the steps we all need to be taking to change things in a way that will benefit our entire society in the future.
Ashley and Kristen on their shelter-in-place beauty routines:
Ashley: “I haven’t shaved my legs, my bikini line, or my armpits since my third trimester, and I don’t care. And then there’s my teeth. I’ll be eating lunch and I’ll say, ‘Oh, I think I forgot to brush my teeth.’ Justin, my husband, keeps saying, ‘How did you forget that? How do you not taste your breath?’”
Kristen: “In my normal life, I rarely shave my legs. Ironically, I think I’ve shaved my legs more during this quarantine than I have in my entire adult experience, simply because I have the time. When I get into the shower, it doesn’t have to be 90 seconds. I have time to actually shave. It’s kind of exciting, and it’s fun to do at- home beauty stuff.”
Ummmmm we were already kind of raising our eyebrows at the body hair stuff, but the toothbrushing thing is downright disgusting. Ew. Her husband is definitely trying to tell her something. She should listen. What did you think about the interview with Ashley? Any quotes in particular stand out for you?
Hit the flip for the cover of the issue, which features Bella Hadid and for some of her interview excerpts as well.