Fashion fans saw Ashley Graham slay the Met Gala red carpet this year in a custom-made H&M gown, but in a new interview with New York magazine, the model explained that she had been invited to the event last year, only to face some fashion-related hurdles when it came to getting a dress.
The body-positivity icon explained that she even though she was out making headlines, she hadn't yet developed close-knit relationships with designers or gotten access to labels that would be willing to create something just for her, so she ended up staying home.
"I couldn't get a designer to dress me," she told the magazine. "You can't just show up in jeans and a T-shirt."
New York notes that Graham also had a few other reasons to stay home. First, she thought that she'd earned a spot on some sort of fashion blacklist when her husband, director Justin Ervin, hugged Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour prior to the event. She knew that wasn't the case, however, but the fact that she was not sample size did mean that any designer willing to dress her would have to make her something instead of just sending her out in something that walked the runway.
Fast-forward to this year and Graham seemed to have things handled. She showed up looking fiery and fierce and snagged amazing selfies with some of the event's biggest names, including Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West, and Serena Williams.
"Rihanna said I looked 'hot as fuck,'" Graham explained. "I had no idea what to say to her. I was just like, 'You slay every Met, Rihanna!'"
Graham added that thanks to her high profile she's now able to borrow clothes from designers that would never have thought of dressing her. Now, labels know that Graham's stylist, Oscar Montes de Oca, will alter the pieces so that they fit her attitude and her body. She hopes that the initiative leads other models and plus-size women everywhere to take charge, too.
"I'm getting a seat at the table we've never had before, and I'm also pulling up a couple of seats around me," Graham told New York. "I know this isn't about me. Just one girl is not going to change the world."
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