You don't have to be in the body-positive community to know about Ashley Graham.
Ever since she graced the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Graham has captured (and held) the world's attention. With 4.8 million Instagram followers, the size 14/16 supermodel is redefining beauty standards with every selfie she posts.
Who wouldn't want to be Ashley Graham right now? As a longtime fan, I decided to try her style on for size. After searching her most-liked photos, I chose five iconic Insta-Grahams to recreate. But I had no idea the emotional rollercoaster ride I was in for...
The first image I decided to recreate was recently taken down by Graham, but I couldn't pass it up.
The picture is a #TBT from her shoot with Maxim magazine; those hands belong to her husband, Justin Ervin.
I'm currently trying to see myself in a sexier way and having to recreate this post was a great start.
Graham makes sexy seem so effortless. I am learning to see myself in a sexier way, but this was a challenge for sure. Since I'm currently single, I had my co-worker be the supportive husband I needed for this picture.
Recreating Graham's pictures had me seeing my body in a different way.
With over 176,000 likes and comments about her amazing curves, I was a little nervous to put myself side-by-side with the world's top plus-size model.
I kept thinking of the various ways I could contort my body to fake curves like Graham's.
Why was I comparing my body to hers?
Graham's most-liked photos have her hourglass shape on blast.
This photo has 159,000 likes and counting!
After realizing that I didn't have to compare my body to Graham's, I was ready for another semi-nude picture.
I wasn't comfortable showing as much skin as my muse, but I was down for some cleavage.
Feeling comfortable with your body is all about taking baby steps until you reach your goal. This photo made me feel beautiful and I can't wait to push my boundaries even further.
Trying to pose like Graham made me realize I can feel sexy with or without clothes.
Overall, this experience was challenging and rewarding.
Starting out, I didn't think embodying one of my body-positive icons' style would make me question my own body confidence. It's so easy to compare yourself to someone else and feel less than, sometimes you don't even realize it's happening.
I thought the hardest part would be duplicating her poses, but in doing so, every picture emphasized the things that I felt self-conscious about.
But there is no better way to overcome an insecurity than to face it. I may not have an hourglass shape like Ashley Graham, but my body is as great as hers. All bodies are good bodies.