Weeks after discussing the sexual abuse allegations against photographer Terry Richardson, Ashley Graham has now spoken to ELLE UK about the power of #MeToo and #TimesUp to change the course of history for women.
The 30-year-old model reveals she's inspired by the thousands of brave women taking action to reclaim their bodies from those that that have, for too long, used and abused them.
Speaking of the movement's pioneers, such as Reese Witherspoon, Issa Rae and Rose McGowan, the Nebraska-born star said: 'These women are creating change and making men more sensitive to how they treating and speaking to women. But it's also giving women a sense of power to take ownership and control over their bodies.
'Oprah's speech at the Golden Globes really spoke to me – I cried. It thought it was incredible.'
January 2018 has been a month of politically charged testimonies from women, as well as vociferous attacks on the a system which has enabled abuse of various kinds. The fight for equality, diversity and better representation has mounted to tsunami-like proportions.
Having faced undue criticism about her body from social media trolls, model agents and fashion-industry insiders, the model admits she's glad to see women finally enjoying a shift in power.
'I think we're on a really great track right now. People are standing up and talking about the issues happening in their industries,' she says.
Oprah's speech at the Golden Globes really spoke to me – I cried
Following recent allegations of sexual assault levied against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Mario Testino, Graham says she'd like to see 'not just celebrity women talking about their issues, but women in their own communities'.
'The women who haven't had a voice, the women who have been pushed down and can't stand up...I hope these are the women who have a voice at the end of this year and can actually say #MeToo,' she adds.
Discussing the lack of diversity in the fashion and beauty industry, the model reveals she hopes her new role at Revlon is a beacon of inspiration for her fans, teaching them that one size of beauty doesn't fit all.
'I want to be a role model for all those young girls who want someone to look up to, because I didn't have that when I was younger; women who looked like me, had stretch marks and insecurities.
I hope those are the women who have a voice at the end of this year
'That's what's really most important – that young women and men see someone who looks like them so they can know that they too are beautiful so they don't have the same issues [with seeing diversity] I had growing up.'
Of course, unrealistic beauty standards isn't a new problem, as Graham knows all too well following years of rejection from model bookers due to her size. But, the model isn't alone in facing these kind of unfair critiques.
Just earlier this week, Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams spoke of the difficulty in finding acting roles because of her belief that she's typically 'unsexy'.
For Graham, the time for change is now.
'[Diversity] is something women have wanted for a long time; to see who themselves in campaigns, in magazines and to be seen as normal, not a a token or 'the one'. It's not something that can happen overnight.
'I've been working for 17 years and I've never seen an initiative grow this quickly.
'Having editors, photographers, designers, and companies like Revlon and designers…it's incredible to see how people are jumping on a bandwagon that says 'we embrace every kind of woman, we embrace other kinds of beauty that hasn't been represented'. It's a conversation we need to continue so it's not seen as a trend. Size, race and age aren't trends.'
Modelling alongside Adwoa Aboah, Imaan Hammam and Raquel Zimmermann for Revlon's new campaign, Graham admits she regularly has to pinch herself at having the opportunity to work alongside such inspiring women.
'It's amazing. When I first moved to New York at 18-years-old and only just round out what Vogue was. Pictures of models like Raquel, Daria [Werbowy] and Sasha [Pivovarova] were hung up on my wall hung up and I would try to emulate them.
Size, race and age aren't trends
'Then here I am on set with Raquel. It's a surreal, beautiful moment to be working with women I look up to. Adwoa has such an impact in the young women and girls she's speaking to with her non-profit online platform [Gurls Talk] for women.'
Explaining how the group collectively challenge conventional perceptions of beauty, Ashley notes: 'Living boldly is putting three black girls and a curvy model in a campaign. That is making an impact and saying 'we are diversity, we are here for everyone'.
Her message for women in 2018?
'I want them to know that no matter what, if they stick with their gut, stick to who they are they can have anything they want in life and be strong, powerful women in their industry.
'It's not about getting rich or famous or being the best of the best. It's about being your best, true and authentic self.'