Ashley Graham is continuing her mission of spreading body positivity and self-love. The 32-year-old welcomed her first child, son Isaac, with husband Justin Ervin in January.
Six months later, the new parents worked together on a photo shoot for Ashley’s size-inclusive collaboration with Swimsuits For All. The line features bold prints, bright solids, and sexy lace-up details in sizes 4 to 24.
Justin took the photos for the campaign when Ashley was six months postpartum. At a time where many moms are wondering how to reckon with their new bodies, Ashley celebrated hers. There may be new curves and some stretch marks, but it was all well worth it for their bundle of joy.
Ashley could’ve hidden those new features by Photoshopping the finished photos, but she chose not to.
“There’s always a question of what do you want us to retouch, and what do you want us to take out? And I said, ‘Nothing,’ except from a clamp holding up the DIY backdrop,” she told People magazine.
“I want everybody to know genuinely … I want people to see who I am because everybody has a story.”
Ashley is a firm believer that many of the body confidence issues women face are amplified by seeing seemingly perfect bodies in the media.
“A lot of women I speak to have image issues, body issues around confidence,” she noted.
“I want them to understand that we all have things that society has told us to cover up and why do we need to do that? So here I am with mine out and about and proud.”
Ashley wants to pass that feeling of empowerment on to the women who try the swimwear she’s worked hard on. Each style was “thoughtfully constructed with stay-put fabric and no-quit elastic.” The resulting swimsuits hug your curves in all the right places, giving you a sexy silhouette without concerns of a wardrobe malfunction.
“The thing about working with Swimsuits For All is that I’ve always been able to design swimsuits that I want to wear and swimsuits that I’m really comfortable in,” Ashley said.
“Now with a new postpartum body, I thought that things were going to feel different and that they were going to look different, and they do, but it’s a newfound joy in that.”
Ashley and Justin were inspired when they saw a similar backyard-style shoot by photographer Kennedi Carter. They did their best to re-create the aesthetic at their Nebraska family farm.
“It looks so simple and beautiful, but powerful,” Ashley noted.
“I’ve got more weight on me. I’ve stretch marks, and in the beginning I really had to have a lot of conversations with myself and tell myself, ‘Okay, new body, new mindset,'” Ashley said of hyping herself up to shoot.
“But after this photo shoot, I felt so empowered because I was like, ‘Yes. I look good. I feel good. This is my new mom bod.'”
Justin also photographed Ashley for her July Harper’s Bazaar UK cover. Her whole family got in on that shoot, in fact.
“Michael [Ashley’s mother’s boyfriend] was Justin’s PA, lighting man, assistant, the guy who did the Starbucks run. My mom was taking care of Isaac the whole time, carrying him in a front-facing sling, but she was also holding a light reflector.”
The family worked together to make the classic Americana-inspired shoot come to life. They even took a very special picture of Ashley in her grandfather’s truck.
“We took one picture inside my grandfather’s truck. He passed away six years ago and my mom left everything inside the same, from his ChapStick to his license in the visor and the money in the ashtray,” she explained.
“There were five more minutes of sunlight; my mom was on one side with a reflector, Michael was on the other side with another reflector and we got the shot.”
While being home and making all these adjustments with a newborn has been hectic, Ashley has found a way to come to peace with it all.
“The silver lining is having all of these incredible, special moments with Isaac, and the nostalgia of being with my son in the home I grew up in,” she said.
“I’ve had time to focus, and I’m so grateful.”
Ashley hopes that when all of this is said and done, we’ll enter a different place in our society. She hopes we will “have a deeper respect for patience and kindness and gratitude. And I really want to be that role model for my son.”