To get a crash course in self-confidence, look no farther than version and podcast bunch Ashley Graham. She has always been vocal about asserting her space in beauty and fashion: Whether she is modeling in unretouched photographs or sharing her daily affirmations she does not hold back on embracing her individuality.
Graham shared her keys to finding strength as a panelist in the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year Summit that she moderated featuring Younger’s Nico Tortorella, Pose’s Indya Moore, writer and comedian Phoebe Robinson, along with Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat.
The big takeaway: There’s more energy in being an outlier than you could think. The group kicked off by speaking about the so-called boxes that their identities often fill in a creative area, such as being an individual of colour, not conforming to the gender binary, or at Graham’s case, being a size 16.
We’ve been required to fit into boxes, and we’ve been told we have to conform,” Graham explained.” I’ve been told that I must be the perfect shape or the perfect size for sample sizes.” But, she said, celebrating, and speaking up for her differences unlocked a new level for her success.
“When I needed to create my own terms, that is when I eventually became powerful.”
Moore, who describes a gender-variant-femme, said that her gender identity wasn’t talked about while she was growing up. ” I had to navigate my presence as being [viewed as] misbehavior my whole lifetime,” she explained. She says that fearlessly celebrating her identity today is the only means to live the life she desires, and also to elevate other gender-nonconforming folks.
Reaching that level of confidence stems from what Graham calls a “Defining moment.” For her, that seemed like leaning in to her dimension where she had been the curve version and accepting tasks.
“I’ve been the token curve woman, and sometimes I think, If I say no, will they give it to somebody else or is that place completely gone now,” Graham said. Being the first person in the area, even if it’s isolating or assessing that “Box,” leaves room for more women later.