Ashley Graham and Prabal Gurung Sing 'Aladdin' and Talk Top Model Conspiracy Theories

Hanging out with the Lane Bryant dream team.

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Karaoke often requires vodka sodas, 2AM outings, and shrieking friends, but Ashley Graham and Prabal Gurung are pros. They bust out "A Whole New World" from Aladdin at 7PM on a Monday, totally sober and—aside from this reporter—sitting solo at a Moroccan restaurant's corner table.

"Hi, I'm Ashey and this is Prabal!" the model/mogul grins. "Welcome to our cabaret show! Any requests?"

Many, but alas, "Love Is a Battlefield" will have to wait. We're here to discuss Gurung's new line for Lane Bryant, which launches this week, runs in sizes 10—28, and claims Graham as its muse. It's modern, body-con, and very sexy—and when I tell them so, Ashley winks. "Are you… jealous it doesn't come in your size?"

Looks from Lane Bryant x Prabal Gurung
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"Mission accomplished," Gurung smiles, and they high five. "My clothes belong on every body. We carry up to size 22 in my main collection, but often times, stores just won't stock the sizes that high. So this Lane Bryant collection is my…"

Revenge? I ask.

"Solution," he answers.

And with that, our Q&A begins…

There's an argument that "designer clothes" just don't look good on bigger women. It's obviously not true.

Ashley Graham: It's not, but it is true that some styles don't look good on bigger women. And thank goodness Prabal is admitting that and saying, "I'm not making every style in every size." Because that's not how a woman's form works.

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Prabal Gurung: I always envision a woman buying it and I want it to work for her life and her body. Otherwise, what's the point?

Are there certain styles that don't look as good on smaller women?

PG: Absolutely! For instance, the [pencil] skirt that Ashley's wearing, the details at the hip are really great, and on a woman with a [wider] frame, you can see those details, and how the skirt curves over the body. It's a much cleaner shape, to be honest, on Ashley.

Are you sick of talking about this? Like, obviously, sizing should be inclusive at this point.

PG: I won't be sick of talking about it until there's been real change.

AG: Amen.

Are you sick of talking about anything?

AG: Well, people do keep wanting to ask how we met. And the truth is, he invited me to his show last season. He made me a custom gown. I sat front row. I was freaking out, because we as curvy women don't generally get invited to high-end fashion shows. And it's a process when you sit in the front row as a guest of the designer. You have your hair and makeup done. You get your photo taken. And I went backstage afterwards, and I just wanted to say thank you. So that's how we really met. But we tell people we met on Grindr.

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PG: That's how Ashley met her husband, too. Grindr!

Wikipedia says you met your husband in church!

AG: We did! We met at church. I was the elevator lady. Like, I serve at my church and when you volunteer, everyone is given a different task to help keep the service moving. So the day I met my husband, I was in charge of running the elevator at church, and it happened to be Porn Sunday.

PG: Palm Sunday?

AG: No, Porn Sunday.

Porn, like pornography? At church?

AG: Yes, Porn Sunday. It's when we have ex-porn stars who come in and talk about how porn devastated their lives and hurt their lives. Porn can ruin you! If you're addicted to it, if you're involved in it, it can really destroy you.

PG: But can't porn have an empowering positive angle? Isn't it pretty much about owning what you've got?

AG: Eh. Listen, I don't watch a lot of porn, its really not my cup of tea. But I think porn has opened up this door to not just a fantasy, but even an expectation of what people want in bed. And it's not true. And it puts a lot of pressure on women.

Where do you draw the line between women posing for porn, and women posing for something like 'Sports Illustrated,' which is also overtly sexy?

AG: For me, I don't do nip or bush. I won't do it. And that's because I talk to numerous young women in high school and I talk to them about owning who they are, and not giving up their sexuality because they have to. I think it's important for women to honor their vagina. A lot of us give it up quickly just to feel love. For me, being in Sports Illustrated is saying, love yourself. Be proud of who you are. You know, my Lane Bryant ads are non-retouched. You see every lump and bump. Even when I saw it, I was like, "Well, I thought I was sucking in more than that. Oh well." It's real. Porn is artificial on so many levels.

My Lane Bryant ads are non-retouched. You see every lump and bump.

I don't have a porn addiction, but I do have a 'Top Model' addiction.

PG: Me too! And I feel caught, because Ashley signed a really serious NDA, and I know she can't tell me who won. But I still try to get it out of her all the time. I want India to win. She looks so different in every picture. That's why she's such a good model.

India's my favorite, too. But why aren't there any plus-size models on the show? You are literally an American top model, and there's nobody on the show who isn't size two.

AG: That's a great question. And this the first time I'm actually talking about this, but I was just as disappointed as the rest of America that were no curvy models in the cast of Top Model. I came in after the girls were already cast for the full show. There was one girl who was considered curvy, and the casting director cut her. My hope and dream is that we don't just have one, we have a handful next season. I will personally be looking for curvy girls to be put in the next season.

PG: But I can't blame Top Model, because they've had ups and downs. They don't have the authority yet as a show that breaks tons of models into high fashion. So let's let them set the stage first. I'll use myself as an example. I finally have the platform and authority where people are listening to me now, but it's been seven and a half years… Let's let [the show] establish that they can create beautiful, working girls accepted by the industry. And then once their platform is respected, then let them push further.

AG: See, and I feel like we have to have [plus size models] as soon as possible. We're the norm. We're the majority. We represent a 22 billion dollar industry. If a plus-size woman is not represented in fashion or on TV, what the hell are we doing? Please quote me on that.

If a plus-size woman is not represented in fashion or on TV, what the hell are we doing?

And girls, please submit yourselves. You can do it on the Top Model Instagram. I want to see you.

From: Elle
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