Mediaplanet: As a body activist, how do you inspire others to embrace their bodies and their curves?

Ashley Graham: As a body activist, my goal is to help broaden narrow definitions of beauty, and my career has provided me with an amazing platform to be a role model for all women. I believe that we all need to start working on our self-confidence at a young age, so I regularly speak to young girls and work with them to develop their own healthy body image.

MP: How do you feel about the critics who talk about how you and other plus-size models glamorize an unhealthy lifestyle? What’s the biggest misconception about not being healthy if you are “curvy”?

AG: It's simply untrue to say that someone is unhealthy just because they are curvy. Everyone has their own healthy, natural weight and size. I work out regularly with a trainer, stick to a balanced diet and maintain a weight that works for me. I even started my own workout video series called Curvy Fit Club to show women of all shapes and sizes that they can enjoy working out and living a healthy lifestyle. 

A FIERCE PERSPECTIVE: “We've proven that curves aren't just a trend,” says Graham, who dishes on embracing self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle.

MP: How do you keep your shape in order to be in front of the cameras constantly and be content with your body?

AG: I'm a very active person and love trying new and fun workouts. I recently tried AKT inMotion, which is a great mix of dance, cardio and yoga. I'm a former athlete, and I still love to play sports and Rollerblade—anything to get me moving and to keep my curves tight and toned. 

MP: Since your inclusion in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, have you seen any further movement in the acceptance with curvier body types?

AG: Definitely. My swimsuitsforall ad in Sports Illustrated started great conversations about body positivity and the movement that myself and other curvy women have started. Mainstream media is becoming more inclusive and helping to further those discussions, and curvy women and plus-size models are becoming household names. We still have more progress to make, but we've proven that curves are not just a trend.

MP:  What is your piece of advice to help people become more confident with the bodies they are born with?

AG: One of my favorite sayings is "love the skin you are in." Confidence can be achieved if you work toward it regularly. I love practicing affirmations every morning. I look in the mirror and celebrate my body out loud. It's an exercise that really works and helps me embrace and love everything about my body. I also encourage both women and men to create body positive environments where they can express their own views of beauty and truly feel comfortable inside and out.