Nebraska native Ashley Graham has been working as a top plus-size model since she was discovered at age 12 and signed to Ford Models at 15. Her gorgeous looks are somewhat reminiscent of Eva Mendes and Natalie Portman rolled together -- and she's probably not far off from the combined weight of those two bony little things, as a matter of fact. Ashley notoriously posed nude with six fellow plus-size models (including Crystal Renn and Kate Dillon) in a Glamour magazine photo that sent the fashion world in a tizzy over the scandalous sight of "naked fat ladies," a.k.a. actual beautiful women.
Ashley has also set off a controversy of a different kind among the size-acceptance movement by appearing in ads for a weight-loss drug. As unfortunate as any involvement with an evil diet pill is, I'm willing to forgive Ashley because apparently there was no insinuation that she needed or wanted to lose weight. For an audience of seriously overweight women looking to get healthier, someone like Ashley makes a far better role model to aspire to than an impossibly skinny chick or a self-hating celebrity like Kirstie Alley or Valerie Bertinelli. Ashley's 36-34-47 shape is what people need to see in the happy "After" photo instead of the miserable "Before."