Ashley Graham gets “very candid” in her new book, “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like,” about the fat-shaming she said she endured at home in her youth.
“I really believe that parents need to know that they are shaping the future of their children,” Graham, 29, said on “Good Morning America." “Words have power. The things that you say to yourself as a parent, even the things that you say maybe just one time to your children; they take it, and they take it into their real world and their life and beyond. And I wanted to get candid because I want to be a better parent than what I had.”
In the book, available today, she recalled her father’s “constant criticism.”
“Constant criticism -- that was my dad through and through,” she began, in part. “My father was a master of the cutting insult. His nickname for me was, ‘Duh,’ because he didn't think I was very smart.
“The worst I ever felt in my entire career was when, a few years into my career, my dad agreed with my new agent, who said I needed to ‘tighten up.’ … I was sobbing because my dad thought I should lose weight,” she wrote.
Graham said she and her mom, on the other hand, are “best friends to this day.”
“My mom was absolutely amazing. Her and I are still best friends to this day,” she explained. “I still think that the next generation should be better and better. That’s why I wanted to share my story.”
Graham also defended her mother in the book, saying she tried to act as "a buffer" between her dad and the children.
"My mom always acted as a buffer between Dad and us girls,” she wrote. “If he was mad at us, she tried her best to take the brunt of it so that we wouldn’t have to. When he did lash out at us, she defended his action as best she could. ‘Your dad does it because he loves you and only wants the best for you.’”
She referenced her mother’s actions as great advice for parents to help with their children’s self-esteem.
“One thing my mother did, and I learned later, was she never looked in the mirror and said, ‘I’m so fat.’ Or ‘I’m so ugly,’ or ‘I need to go on a diet,’” Graham said. “Projecting that onto yourself is only going to make your daughter or son think that of themselves, because they’re a product of you. So just saying, ‘You know what? I look really good today,’ and then just moving on, they’re like, ‘Oh, maybe I need to say that to myself.’”
“A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like" is out now.