A New Model: Ashley Graham Book Review

Ashley Graham is a supermodel we know today as the plus size model it girl. It’s not weird to call her a supermodel as I don’t really define a person’s personality by their occupation or trade. I saw her as a woman in the media who uses her platform to speak out on whatever she can, who also happened to write a book with Rachel Paley. 

I learned so much from this book about what it means to be a model when you’re not the first idea to pop into people’s heads when they think of the term “model”. And how people incessantly refuse to be kind to others or themselves by treating others as if they were a lesser species! 

When it comes to work and the professional world, it’s one thing to have a certain set of usual rules that people follow. It’s nothing personal when someone says, “Sorry you’re not a great fit. We’re looking for someone who is good at this and this with computers.” That’s the equivalent of “We’re looking for someone who’s a size 2, 4, or 6,” in the modelling industry. It’s absolutely not your fault you can’t reach these requirements. They’re not impossible. But there are select few in the niche that are thriving as there are a select few computer engineers that are excellent at their job. 

There’s not a lot of room for error when building an engine, but to be told, “You’re too this or you’re too that,” is overboard. It’s unnecessary!

When your looks are your job things change as you have to keep up with whatever standard you entered with as your bread and butter, or simply mold into whatever the new look is and what they want you to be. “They” meaning the latest leaders of the industry. 

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I felt very close to her when I read that she enters a store to find that nothing fits her. A literal brick and mortar establishment where she can’t find her size. That’s not her fault. It just means the store isn’t for her and the audience meant for that store is a different size. She is not the brand’s target audience. 

The fact that it’s a challenge to find options for yourself typically means you’re outstanding in whatever position you are and you have to adapt to that. I personally have this issue in most cases in or out of clothes. And it’s the opposite issue. 

I’m petite and it used to be difficult to find clothes that fit me appropriately, without looking baggy or just not my size. Ill-fitting clothes are a killer when your brand and image is your actual job haha. (It’s one of my businesses to make people look good! Online or with personal style and branding.) A lot of clothes in US department stores are filled with S-M sizing or medium – large outfits. This all depends on where you’re shopping of course. And what kind of shopping you’re doing. 

This is probably why most rich people have zero brand label things and just go get truly custom, bespoke items and focus on tailoring. Nothing looks better than flattering garments. 

But for those who don’t have that as an option, it’s a matter of making due with what you have. And that’s a lot of the world. Ill-fitting clothes make you look not very well put together, make me want to avoid you if I don’t know you, or try to find other tailoring options outside of actual sartorialism. Namely, finding a belt, waist-cinching tricks within the inside of your clothes, carrying a huge bag to hide the outfit, etc. 

When I owned a clothing store, the first thing I learnt was a lot of people have ZERO IDEA what their size is. I asked for their measurements and they didn’t know. I asked them to measure themselves, but they would give me weird answers that didn’t fit the regular measurement agenda of how to size and fit. Because people just don’t know what they don’t know.

On top of all of this not being able to find your size drama, there’s the actual nightmare that Ashley Graham had to go through as Ashley Graham. I don’t know who she is personally, but I have heard of her. That’s how far her branding and persona as a celebrity goes. Which is powerful. 

She launched as the first plus sized model on Sports Illustrated when it wasn’t even on her radar. Her agent was so good to get a client she wasn’t even asking for – professional respect to her agent, Mina. 

Yet the woman at the store she was asking for her size in was entirely insolent to her. I don’t understand why. 

If you’re a human being, be kind to other human beings. It’s not only that, you’re a representative of someone else’s brand, business, and entity and you’re not doing a good job of showing their name to be in the best light. All because you don’t have the right mind to simply be professional. Even if you are averse to something, simply be professional. This is a workplace for you. Not a social gathering where you can be your personal self. 

I myself have worked in customer service roles in different positions before, and still technically today do as I own my businesses and have to pitch and deal with clients. I have to be even more on my A game if I’m working for someone else. It goes both ways really, but I’d be ashamed to represent myself first off to treat someone that badly, by dismissing their needs.

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When someone asks if you have a garment in their size, it’s just a matter of checking or letting them know the brand doesn’t carry it in their size. It’s okay. It’s not your fault. They just have to face the facts and you’ve done your job. But do so in a positive manner that would make you feel gentle about the situation. 

Being rough with someone when they’re simply asking a factual question doesn’t make sense. If they were complaining about something and being rude is another story. That all depends on how the person is complaining too. If someone isn’t happy, they’re going to show it and it goes both ways in a store. 

It’s very expensive to be rude to a potential customer. I’m not saying because you lose their business, but because every time they show up, you have to profusely overextend yourself in positive gestures to make up for it. 

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That is too much energy I’m not willing to go through when I rather just try to make people feel comfortable and warmly welcome in the first place. So they always feel warm and welcome every time they visit and that’s how they remember you. Boom. Instant branding lesson by Gia. haha. 

This was all after Ashley Graham was already dubbed supermodel. 

What I learned from this book: We need to be kinder.

Kinder to ourselves. To those around us. It’s an easily infectious emotion that goes very far very fast. 

I’m going to speak for myself especially, because I am always setting new goals for myself that will allegedly unlock doors in my mindset. But I am very hard on myself when it comes to not doing things a certain way and it shows when I’m around other people. I can see the “take it easy on yourself” look on someone’s face when it escapes my mouth.

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Being the 110% hardcore never half-assing things intense person I am is already difficult when I’m thrown into a cold, cruel world that has not much forgiveness. So to be kind and compassionate with everything you do is a great way to set the tone for the rest of this year and the rest of your days on this earth dealing with other people. 

A New Model was the book that opened my eyes the energy I’ve been putting out into the world versus the one in my head that’s so high velocity and intensely productive. I have to find a way to melt those two into one and have both seats at the table. Because I like both of those people around, but just don’t be so extreme all the time. 

Have you read Ashley Graham’s book? What are your thoughts on these matters? What are some books you’d like me to review? I’d love to know more of what you think in the comments below! 

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Gia G. Dixon
Gia G. Dixon

I’m Gia G. Dixon, an etiquette consultant certified under Royal Charter of King Charles III. Here is my guide to elegant style, high quality living, and little things that make your daily life glamorous.

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