Ashley Graham has always been a strong proponent for body positivity and inclusivity.
But the supermodel was shocked to her core during a vacation to Italy with her husband last summer.
The 31-year-old model, has been married to cinematographer Justin Ervin since 2010. He so happens to be black.
In a new interview for the July issue of Allure, Graham reveals the racist incident that spoilt their holiday.
“I see what my husband has to go through every day,” she shared. “We had gone to Italy, and a man spat on him.” Graham says.
“It’s heartbreaking. It can make you really angry. But it’s like, how are you going to change that anger into a teachable moment?”
“Read books; have conversations. Educate yourself,” she said. “The more you have conversations with people around you that are different than you, [the more] you’re going to learn and you’re going to grow. No one who isn’t black is going to understand a black person’s life, but they don’t have to be ignorant toward [what it’s like].”
Since signing with Wilhelmina Models in 2001, Graham has gone on to have tremendous success in the modeling world. The plus size model has appeared on the cover of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Elle.
The 31-year-old is keen to have children, but is well aware of the fact that she will be raising biracial babies.
“I want to know as much as I can as a white woman who is going to be raising black children,” she said. “We’re going to have to have that conversation of ‘Mommy’s white, Daddy’s black,’ and I want to be prepared.”
In her 2017 book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like, Graham wrote about the negative reactions her own family had when she brought her man home.
“I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was black,” the America’s Next Top Model judge wrote in the memoir. “I naively hoped everyone would be color-blind — which is not what happened. When my grandparents met Justin, my grandmother was cordial but cold. She greeted him and immediately walked away.”
“When it came time for them to leave, my grandparents didn’t even acknowledge him. Instead my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, ‘Tell that guy I said goodbye.'”
“I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock.”
However the Sports Illustrated‘s model added that her grandmother grew to love Ervin after he called to congratulate her on her 60th wedding anniversary.