29-year-old Ashley Graham is known for spreading body positivity as a plus-size model in and out of the industry, making her the picture of empowerment and honesty. The supermodel and America’s Next Top Model judge is getting even more real as the cover star of the July issue of Glamour, in which she opened up about her experience with sexual harassment at age 17.
“There was an incident onset of a campaign job when I was 17 years old—I haven’t told this story—and there was a photo assistant who was into me,” Graham said. “He was like, ‘Hey, come here,’ and he led me into a closet, she continued. “And I was like, ‘What?’ I thought he was going to show me something. And he pulled me in, and he pulled his penis out. And he was like, ‘Grab it.’ And I was like, ‘No! That’s disgusting.’ I freaked out. And thank God I was closer to the door, and I just bolted out,” Graham said.
She also mentioned a similar incident in her book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, which happened when she was only 10.
Since the incident, Graham married Justin Ervin in 2010 and told Glamour that she wouldn’t let anyone manipulate her at work again and that “any image that you see out there is one that I wanted to take.” She also learned with time, contrary to her insecure younger self, that none of these incidents were her fault.
Graham also gave some powerful advice to any girl that may be facing similar circumstances saying, “To all those girls out there: No, you didn’t do anything.”