Ashley Graham Exudes Sultry Classical Beauty in V Magazine (photos) 1

Ashley Graham talks about shattering barriers in the fashion industry for plus-size models in V magazine. (Photo by Mario Testino for V magazine)

Ashley Graham evokes visions of classical nudity in a series of Rubenesque images that shatter the fashion industry’s modern-day obsession with unnaturally thin models.

The 29-year-old model poses for renowned photographer Mario Testino in the latest issue of V magazine. She tells how she came to love her curves after being told for years she was “fat, ugly and not good enough.”

“But being told, ‘You’re fat,’ ‘You’re ugly’ or ‘You’re just not good enough,’ and trying to live in these model standards, that was my normal. I think I hit bottom around 18,” she tells Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of singer Diana Ross.

Since she broke into modeling in 2000, Graham has risen to the top ranks of fashion industry. She’s appeared on the cover of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Elle magazines.

She broke new barriers last year by becoming the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. And so far this year, she’s the first plus-size model to appear on the covers of both British and American editions of Vogue magazine.

She explains:

“I was disgusted with myself and told my mom I was coming home. And she told me, “No, you’re not, because you told me that this was what you wanted and I know you’re supposed to do this. It doesn’t matter what you think about your body, because your body is supposed to change somebody’s life.” To this day that sticks with me because I’m here today and I feel that it’s okay to have cellulite.”

“Growing up, I idolized Beyoncé, J-Lo, and the Spice Girls,” she says. “I was a mix between Ginger and Scary Spice. I wore the Scary buns and Ginger’s slutty, leopard outfits.”

“Today, I have two role models. One of them is my mom. Just seeing how happy she has been going through [life] and how she’s handled every curveball is like, That’s a women who has integrity and dignity and has been kind and generous to people around her,” she says.

“Business-wise, it’s Kathy Ireland. She’s OG. When she was younger and in Sports Illustrated she was like, I’m going to sell some socks and make a business. Now she has a billion-dollar company. Kathy Ireland, if you’re out there, I’m still trying to be your best friend. You’re on my vision board.”

Graham has a new book out, “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like” It hit store shelves May 9th.

George Cortina handled styling for the shoot. Check out her photos and let us know your thoughts. Because some images contain nudity, clicking on photos below will take you to our sister site EssCurve.

Ashley Graham Classically Nude (Click Photos to Enlarge!)