Ashley Graham is one of the most sought-after models today, but popularity was not something she enjoyed while growing up.
In a chat with Harper's Bazaar, the 29-year-old model revealed that she was the target of bullies at school and that they used to make fun of her weight.
"Girls would call me 'cottage-cheese thighs' and 'thunder thighs'. They'd be like 'Wide load coming through. Beep, beep!' I hated school," she recalled, adding that despite making a name for herself as a model, she was not accepted by her schoolmates.
During her teenage years, Graham received praises from others for her modeling work, but back at school her peers were still calling her ugly, the body activist revealed. "They would say, 'You're not really a model, you're a fat model.' It was humiliating. I think I just put my head down and internalised it," she admitted.
Besides her schoolmates, her father was also very critical as she wasn't good at maths and because her reading level was low. "[My dad was] a dark presence. My dad was very critical and harsh. He was physically there but absent emotionally. He thought I was stupid because I had a really low reading level and I wasn't good at maths. His nickname for me was 'Duh'. That puts a lot of pressure on a kid."
But over the years, she learned to accept her body and now she is proud to flaunt her figure on social media. Being healthy is far more important than being thin, and Graham wants women to embrace their body. But there are times when the model is shy about her curves as well, and most often it is when she has to wear swimsuits.
"I mean, of course like any girl when you get to the beach or the pool and you go, 'Oh, I have to take my cover-up off, crap.' And you feel like everybody's watching, and then you just go, 'Oh fine, I'll just take it off'," she told People Now.