Ashley Graham Debuts Her First Swimwear Collection
When Ashley Graham appeared in a SwimsuitsForAll ad in the 2015 issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, no one knew that it would later land her on the cover of the magazine. Well, actually, that’s not true. She kind of did. “I didn’t exactly know what that ad was going to do for my career,” she said. “But I did have it on my vision board.”
“I think that was the best risk Sports Illustrated could have taken,” said Graham. “It’s changed the lives of women who have never seen themselves represented in a swimsuit issue. And since then, women of all shapes, sizes, and ages have told me I’m the reason they’re getting in bikinis this summer. Hearing that makes me well up and remember why I’m doing this.”
The ‘this’ she’s now referring to? Her debut SwimsuitsForAll collection—which Glamour had her exclusively road test with some of our favorite bloggers. “I want women of all shapes and sizes to feel like they can buy themselves something special and luxurious. I want it to be empowering. I’m not out to make the token palm tree suits we see everywhere.” Quite the opposite; the collection consists of sexy (ahem: Swarovski body chains included!), on-trend styles in black, red, and purple—all inspired by James Bond movies. “Just because I’m a size 14/16, doesn’t mean that I don’t want to look like my girlfriends who are size 4s.” Feel the same way? Keep reading for Graham’s personal recommendations.
Baywatch fan? This cheeky update on the classic red one-piece has your name written all over it. It’s got lace-up cut-outs on the backside that are “strategically placed to create a heart-shaped roundness and enhance your curves,” says Graham. “I used to avoid cut-outs there because I have cellulite, but who cares?” Sturino agrees: “The most important thing you can do is be confident in your suit. That’s not always easy, but remember that size 0 and size 14 women have the same self-confidence struggles—so let’s just all move on! Find a suit that you absolutely love and rock the shit out of it.”
“This is for the fashion girl!” said Graham. “She’s going to Vegas and doesn’t care what her tan line looks like, because everyone is going to remember this suit.” Compromising on your tan line doesn’t mean you have to compromise on support: “My boobs are not as high as they used to be, so I made sure each one of these suits has a bra built into it. This suit has one with three hooks in the back for tight or loose closure.”
It was Graham’s mission to get a string bikini in her collection after seeing how fast the “almost-string” bikini in her first SFA ad sold out. Plus, “I could never find a string bikini in my cup size or my butt size,” she said. “Companies think that bigger girls won’t buy this style because it’s skimpy. I actually prefer them because they’re adjustable—I have thick thighs and hips and it keeps a suit from digging in to my hips.”
Graham has a number of tips for finding the perfect suit. For starters, she recommends reaching for a neoprene style like this one because it pulls your body in and keeps you secure for activities like beach volleyball. If you opt for neoprene, she also recommends going down a size. In the changing room, she also does a shimmy to the right and the left to ensure the suit is wardrobe malfunction-free (“If a nipple pops out, we’re in trouble!”). Finally, if you’re shopping online, buy a few sizes in each suit and send back the ones that don’t fit.
Watch our exclusive video for even more of Ashley Graham’s tips for finding your perfect swimsuit.