The Empowering Mantra Ashley Graham Uses to Feel Like a Badass

The model and activist gets real about how much self-talk matters.


Ashley Graham went from feeling like an outsider in the modeling industry to straight up conquering it. And in a new interview published by V Magazine, Graham talked to Tracee Ellis Ross (you might know her from the hilarious and awesome Blackish) about everything from cellulite to politics.

Graham has been outspoken about the fact that she's not ashamed of her cellulite before, so it wasn't that surprising when she told Ross that she learned to accept her cellulite from her mom, who told her it was totally normal. In fact, it was her mom who encouraged her to keep going when she didn't feel like she wanted to continue modeling. "I was disgusted with myself and told my mom I was coming home," Graham said of her early days in NYC. "And she told me, 'No, you're not, because you told me that this was what you wanted and I know you're supposed to do this. It doesn't matter what you think about your body, because your body is supposed to change somebody's life.' To this day that sticks with me because I'm here today and I feel that it's okay to have cellulite." Mom FTW! (To learn more, read up on these 5 cellulite myths you should get out of your head.)

That doesn't mean she never has an 'off' day like everyone else, but it's all about how you talk to yourself. "If you say, 'I'm fat,' that's how you're going to feel. If you say, 'I'm stupid,' that's how you're going to start your day." Instead, she says, "I like this day. I am bold, I am beautiful, and I am brilliant." "For me, that hits the interior, the exterior, and it makes me feel smart," she said.

Ross shares that she actually does something similar, by turning things she's afraid of into mantras and then writing them down on index cards or on the home screen of her phone as a little reminder. Brilliant.

This isn't the first time Graham has preached the power of positive affirmation. Back in March, she talked about how she'll single out specific parts of her body she's not feeling great about and take the time to tell herself she loves them. Basically, she's all about loving and appreciating wherever you are today, which is what body confidence is *all* about.

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