The body image activist and supermodel with over 8 million followers on Instagram knows how to use social media for good.
On the day Ashley Graham addressed the fashion industry at the Australian Fashion Summit in March, she posted a snap from a laneway café in Melbourne where she was enjoying a quick smoothie before getting ready to go on stage. She invited her followers in the city to stop by and meet her over blended cocoa and banana goodness.
The bona fide supermodel was an early adopter of social media but instead of curating her grid like a creative director, she shares her real-life story, whether that’s physically stepping out from behind the screen to meet fans IRL or sending her #unfiltered messaging out to the world.
Post-smoothies, she joined the Summit to share her approach to social media, along with her support for the body diversity movement in fashion.
Here is her advice:
1. Be the change you want to see
The supermodel started gaining attention on Instagram as soon as she started posting with her no-filter images and messaging, from her cellulite to her cheerful captions.
As the oldest of three daughters, Ashley had always felt younger women look up to her, and soon realised she could help them love the skin they’re in as well. When the messages started pouring in, she felt her calling and changed her bio description to ‘Body Activist’.
2. Authenticity, always
While she jokes, “You can be anything you want to be on Instagram, you just put it in your bio – that’s what I did!” – authenticity is at the centre of every one of the businesswoman’s posts. Stay true to yourself, and you’ll find your following, says Ashley.
“[My following] is nothing I sought, it just happened – and that’s really a testament to everyone who is on social media to remember to be their true authentic self. The more you are yourself, the less you edit your photos, the more you post whatever you want – that’s when you will see your numbers grow and you will see things start to change.”
3. Understanding your audience
Ashley couldn’t be more proud of the women who follow her and can see the flow on effect of posting just one sexy selfie. “I’m really happy that most of my followers are women,” she says. “Women want to see other empowered women. That confidence oozes through your phone.”
The result of her body positive posting is a lot of heart and crying emojis in her comment sections and direct messages, and Ashley makes time for all of them. “That’s the most empowering thing – because I told my story, you can tell your story and it has a ripple effect.”