Ashley Graham has helped change the face of fashion, but as the model said in a candid interview last week, she’s endured more than a few critics and hurtful comments along the way.
The model spilled the tea on one of her detractors during a chat with Naomi Campbell for her YouTube series, “No Filter With Naomi.”
The two talked about trying out for Sports Illustrated and Graham landing her historic cover in 2016 ― which one model in particular wasn’t happy about.
“You know, Naomi. It was right after that cover that I met you. And it was at the CFDAs and we were walking on to a red carpet. And we had just had a quick conversation because there was another model who was so upset that I had gotten the cover,” Graham said. “And she said I was ‘very large’ and that women my size should not be on the cover.”
“Who said that?” Campbell asked, her face aghast, while Graham ― refusing to name names ― said, “You can go look it up. It was before your generation.”
“She said that in public?” Campbell said, still shocked, before saying with a smile, “Oh, I know who it is.”
While Campbell ventured that the name started with a “P,” Graham corrected her and said “It begins with a C,” making the letter with her hand.
“But you had told me ― you said, ‘I just wanted to let you know, I was talking about you and I defended you.’ And I was like, ‘First of all, I’m meeting Naomi Campbell for the first time and she just defended me,’” Graham said, before raising her voice and smiling, “Heart is racing, THANK YOU.”
“Well, and I’ll defend you again right now, because I don’t think that person has a right to say that,” Campbell added. “It’s your time now.”
While neither woman actually named the model in question, many outlets reported that it could be Cheryl Tiegs, who reportedly criticized Graham’s cover at the time in an interview with E! News.
“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],” Tiegs said.
“That’s what Dr. Oz said, and I’m sticking to it,” she continued. “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.”
HuffPost reached out to representatives for Graham and Tiegs for additional comment.
While a representative hasn’t gotten back, Tiegs wrote “An Open Letter To Ashley Graham” for HuffPost’s blog in 2016 after her E! News interview went viral. Tiegs called the attention at the time a “manufactured media feud” and provided the question she was asked by E!, which she says made no mention of Graham’s name, as seen in the video here.
“My answer was based on health concerns because of our nation’s increasing problems with weight linked to diabetes, heart issues and cancer,” Tiegs said in her blog. “At no time was I thinking of a specific person.”
Tiegs told HuffPost by phone Tuesday that her 2016 comments were taken out of context and that she was mostly speaking in general terms, not about Graham specifically.
She says she made the “I don’t think it’s healthy” and “beautiful face” comments after being shown a photo of Graham’s Sports Illustrated cover but that she didn’t know her at the time.
“I don’t know how to clear the air,” Tiegs said. “I adore Ashley Graham.”
This article has been updated with comment from Cheryl Tiegs.