Ashley Graham is widely seen as the face (and figure) of the body positivity movement. With her massive success as a supermodel, Graham has made incredible strides for the diverse representation of real women's bodies in our culture and the media, from high fashion to TV. But Graham knows that body positivity starts at home with the dialogue between young girls and their parents. On Good Morning America Tuesday morning, Graham opened up about her new book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like, in which she discusses the body-shaming she experienced from her own father growing up — as well as the wonderful example her mom set.
"I get very candid in the book because I really believe that parents need to know that they are shaping the future of their children," Graham told Robin Robert on GMA. "Words have power. The things that you say to yourself as a parent, the things that you say maybe even just one time to your children, they take it, and they take it into their real world and their life and beyond. And I wanted to get candid because I want to be a better parent than what I had."
The 29-year-old made clear, though, that her mother was "absolutely amazing," adding that they are still best friends today. "One thing my mother did, and I learned later, was she never looked in the mirror and said, ‘I’m so fat.’ Or ‘I’m so ugly,’ or ‘I need to go on a diet,’" the Nebraska native explained. "Projecting that onto yourself is only going to make your daughter or son think that of themselves, because they’re a product of you. So just saying, ‘You know what? I look really good today,’ and then just moving on, they’re like, ‘Oh, maybe I need to say that to myself.’"
In the book, Graham reveals that her dad was verbally abusive. "Constant criticism -- that was my dad through and through," she wrote, per GMA. "My father was a master of the cutting insult. His nickname for me was, ‘Duh,’ because he didn't think I was very smart." Later, she writes, "The worst I ever felt in my entire career was when, a few years into my career, my dad agreed with my new agent, who said I needed to ‘tighten up.’"
Considering that Graham became a household name and inspiration other women by being herself, we're eternally grateful she didn't listen to her dad or her agent — and followed her mom's example instead.