Curve model Ashley Alexiss has over 1 million followers on Instagram and 7 million across all of her platforms. And while having such a vast fanbase is incredible, it also means Alexiss and her fellow curve and plus-size model peers have gotten their fair share of trolls

In an interview with Revelist at the Faviana Oscar watch party, Alexiss shared why the industry needs to change the conversation to focus not on physical health, but on the mental health of curvier models. 

"Everyone thinks that it’s all about physical health, but mental health is just as important," Alexiss said. 

There are countless articles about models, especially curve and plus-size models, dealing with body shaming online from trolls. Those comments can can take a toll. "A lot of people get the notion that plus-size means that you’re unhealthy, and that’s not something that any of us plus-size models promote," Alexiss explained. 

Alexiss said she spent "many sleepless, crying nights" after reading the comments when she first started in her career, but suddenly had an epiphany. "I really had to look myself in the mirror and think, am I cut out for this?" she said. Alexiss eventually found the answer to that by accepting her body and encouraging other women to do the same. 

"So it’s [about] loving yourself, and loving what you have [and] all your imperfections," she said.

"And I can kind of enjoy my body rather than constantly strive for it to be something that I know it’s not going to be," she continued. Her journey toward liberation has resulted in a very successful career so far. 

At 5'4" and a US dress size 10/12, Alexiss aspires to show how models of all heights and sizes should be represented. 

"So I’m kind of representing for not just the curvy models, but the vertically challenged models as well," she said. "I’m kind of trying [to] just break the mold a little bit because I’m more average." 

With supermodel Ashley Graham breaking barriers in the plus-size industry, Alexiss views it as an opportunity for more body diversity within the modeling world. "I think the biggest thing... is that Ashley Graham has really just paved the way for all of us but the problem [is] that she’s doing so, so well that no one expects someone else to do as well as her," she said. "We could all succeed together. I think that that’s something that we’re all trying to do collectively and I think we’re doing quite a great job. It’s 2018 and body positivity is all the rage."

Since she started modeling about eight years ago, Alexiss has appeared in major publications and has started to run her own size-inclusive Alexiss Swimwear line, all after being told she wouldn't amount to anything. 

Not only does she have an MBA, but Alexiss has been featured in Yahoo, Esquire, Maxim, and Playboy, according to her websiteIn 2017, she was featured in a lingerie campaign and announced as an ambassador for the brand. "You know [they said], 'You’re never going to get a national campaign. You’re never going to be a face of a company,'" she said. "And I’m almost glad that that happened because it really motivated me, and now it has happened."

Moving forward, she wants to appear in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition and continue to expand her inclusive swimwear line. 

By overcoming the trolls to inspire literally millions of people, Alexiss is showing how curvy AND petite women can break the mold and create their own success. Visit Ashley Alexiss' Instagram and website for more! 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

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