Ashley Graham explains her revealing Instagram photos: 'I don't post myself half-naked to get the likes'

Ashley Graham quickly made a name for herself as an outspoken body-positive advocate when she first entered the mainstream as a model, using her growing platform to speak out about size inclusivity and to show women around the world what "normal" bodies look like. As the conversation continues, Graham remains steadfast on her mission: getting to "the point [women] don't have to explain our bodies at all."

"I don't post myself half-naked to get the likes. I post myself half-naked so that someone who's 10 years younger than me knows that that side butt, that hip dip – that's not abnormal to have," she told Porter magazine, explaining that she's grateful to have "a voice to be able to say what is beautiful and what is OK. I wish that, when I was younger, there had been someone as outspoken as I was, who was as fearless with their cellulite and back fat, so I could know that this was normal; this was what a body looks like."

Graham does just that by displaying her authentic self on her social media — glamorous and not-so-glamorous moments included. She's even shared photos of her unedited body while pregnant and after giving birth to her son Isaac in January 2020.

"In the beginning, I was like, an alien is taking over my body and I am getting larger and larger by the moment. Then this alien popped out and I was like, 'Oh my God, I love you.' And you just don't care. But then COVID hit, and all the gyms shut down, and I'm living with my mom, eating cinnamon rolls every day," she said. "People will tell you this lie when you get pregnant, which is that the weight falls off when you breastfeed. But it’s a lie! I've had to go through a different body journey, post-pregnancy – just understanding her and being OK with her."

While feeling at home in her evolving body has been a challenge, Graham spoke to the incredible power that she's felt in being a mother. "I've always kind of lived bravely and fearlessly, but through my home birth and raising him in this pandemic, it’s like, oh yeah, I guess I am pretty fearless. It just feels good." She even admitted that having a baby during this challenging time forced upon her a much-needed break. "I mean, having a baby and then a pandemic, boom, smacks you in the face! It's like, OK, time to take a breather."

But after spending half the year in her hometown in Nebraska with her husband, Justin Ervin, and her mom, Graham is back to business in New York City where she said there is a "hopeful energy." She continued, "I really learned the value of family and community through this whole thing. I'm so grateful for that."

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