Ashley Graham made history in 2016 when she became the first size-16 model to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s highly desired Swimsuit Edition and was championed for being a pioneer for body positivity and inclusion, however, according to the new mother, not everyone was on board with her gracing the coveted cover.
On Thursday, Graham, 32, chatted with Naomi Campbell on the supermodel’s YouTube livestream series, “No Filter with Naomi,” and shared the details about hearing that she was too “large” to be on the legendary cover.
“You know what, Naomi, actually it was right after that [Sports Illustrated] cover that I met you,” Graham recalled of the moment she found out a fellow model made the comment about her. “It was at the CFDAs and we were walking onto a red carpet.
“We had just had a quick conversation because there was another model who was so upset that I had gotten the cover and she said I was very large and that women my size should not be on the cover,” Graham added.
Ashley Graham attends Lifetime's American Beauty Star Season 2 Live Finale at Manhattan Center on March 27, 2019 in New York City. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lifetime)
“Who said that?” Campbell, 60, pressed.
“You can go look it up... she was before your generation,” Graham told the “Making the Cut” judge.
Wide-eyed, Campbell inquired, “She said that in public?!”
“Oh! I know who it is,” she added. “It’s a model before me?”
Graham, who is also the host of her own “Pretty Big Deal” podcast, hinted to Campbell that the remark came from an older model whose name began with the letter “C.”
“You can go look it up,” she said. “You told me, ‘I just want to let you know that I was talking about you and I defended you.’ First of all, I’m meeting Naomi Campbell for the first time and she just defended me. Heart is racing! Thank you!”
Ashley Graham (Getty)
Campbell said: "Well, I’ll defend you again right now because I don’t think that person had the right to say that. It’s your time now.”
While Graham never stated the model's name, she might have been referring to Cheryl Tiegs, according to People magazine.
"I don't like that we're talking about full-figured women because it's glamorizing them because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]," she said at the time.
"That's what Dr. Oz said, and I'm sticking to it. No, I don't think it's healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run."
Tiegs later clarified her comments on Twitter and said she was sorry.
"My sincere apologies to everyone I have hurt," she wrote. "I truly just want everyone to be healthy & happy."