Ashley Graham has one seriously inspiring breakup story.
The supermodel, who’s broken down barriers in the fashion industry with her curves and cover girl looks, recently spoke about body confidence, breakups and self love at Glamour’s International Day of the Girl event.
At the age of 16, the curve model says she fell for a skater boy named Craig. Three months into the relationship, he broke up with her.
“He told me that we had to break up because I wasn’t going to have sex with him,” Graham tells the audience of girls ― who pretty much all shout out in dismay over the revelation.
“But wait for it!” Graham says. “The second reason was because he said I was going to be as fat as his mom.”
Bad call, Craig. Thirteen years later, Graham is not only a role model for women of all sizes, she’s got killer career, too: The 29-year-old’s successes include countless magazine covers (including Vogue and Sports Illustrated), a co-hosting gig on “America’s Next Top Model,” a lingerie collection and a clothing line.
“I think about that [breakup] from time to time, and if I could go back and talk to [myself then], I would say: First of all, Craig is a loser,” she tells the audience. “Second of all, you is fine. And that bulge on your hip ― not only is it OK, but it’s going to change the world some day.”
“Craig made me feel worthless, he made me feel that my body was nothing,” Graham says.
Now, she’s married to Justin Irvin, a man she says loves her for exactly who she is, inside and out. What’s more, she loves herself for exactly who she is.
“You are the key to your own happiness,” she tells the girls. “I thought I could get happiness from dudes like Craig. Honestly, the more attention that I got from men, the more I thought I had value. But it wasn’t always the right kind of attention and it wasn’t always the right kind of man.”
“It took me a long time to figure out where happiness comes from, but honestly, happiness comes from doing what you love,” Graham says, reminding the young audience that they have plenty of time to figure that out.
Watch the clip above for Graham’s inspiring speech.